Buddy action flick with weak chemistry

The cast of Bounty Hunters (from far left) Karena Ng, Wallace Chung, Lee Min Ho and Tiffany Tang.
The cast of Bounty Hunters (from far left) Karena Ng, Wallace Chung, Lee Min Ho and Tiffany Tang.PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

REVIEW / ACTION COMEDY

BOUNTY HUNTERS (PG)

106 minutes/Opens tomorrow/1.5/5 stars

The story: Former Interpol agents Lee Shan (Lee Min Ho) and Ayo (Wallace Chung) are now slumming it as bodyguards. A potential job goes seriously awry and they are framed for a hotel bombing. To nail the real mastermind, they join forces with bounty hunter Cat (Tiffany Tang) and her trusty sidekicks, computer whiz Swan (Karena Ng) and butler extraordinaire Babe (Louis Fan).

There are idols who can act. South Korea's Lee Min Ho is not one of them. Witness a scene where he recoils from the sudden appearance of a kitty - meant to be a funny instance of his phobia of cats, but it comes across instead as laughably fake.

Not much else works in this film. Characters jet about from Tokyo to Bangkok to Jeju island chasing after a villain, but it is hard to work up much enthusiasm to watch them when the proceedings veer between being lame and lacklustre.

Lee Shan and Ayo are a classic pair of bros in a buddy action flick except that there is not much chemistry between them and the bonhomie feels forced.

Lee Shan's relationship with Cat also fails - their intended mutual simmering attraction is merely lukewarm instead of red-hot. Even when they are thrown together into the boot of a car - a la Jennifer Lopez and George Clooney in 1998's Out Of Sight - they achieve not sensuousness, but a comic payoff.

Perhaps only singer-turned-actor Wallace Chung shows some potential in the movie, with his game take on a comic role. He is not afraid to be silly or lame and there is a sweet goofiness to his antics.

When the villain is finally revealed, he turns out to be a caricature - shrill, bratty and with more than a screw loose. Actually, the baddies are easy to spot as their dramatic eyeshadow gives them away.

Not much of a hunt after all.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 13, 2016, with the headline 'Buddy action flick with weak chemistry'. Print Edition | Subscribe