Z Storm Blu-ray Review
I remember when I first watched WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER, the girl I was seeing at the time owned a copy of the movie, but had no other comedies in her DVD collection. So I automatically assumed it was some dumb romantic movie that I’d have to roll my eyes through. About five to 10 minutes in, I began to suspect something and kept laughing nervously, not knowing I was watching a comedy. I had gone in with a certain level of expectations and they were being flipped on their head. On the cover of Z STORM’s blu-ray box, it implies that it’s a financial thriller. Halfway through Z STORM, I had that same suspect feeling like I did during WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER. But this time, I kept waiting for a punchline that never came.
It took me a while to realize Z STORM is bad and boring. Silly me, I kept waiting for a dead pan delivery by one of the character like Leslie Nielsen in AIRPLANE! did so many times. I kept waiting for a silly sight gag that pops up randomly or some form of surreal humor to pop up. Z STORM is sadly not a comedy, but it’s also far from being a thriller. It could have definitely benefitted from being a Hong Kong version of THE OTHER GUYS.
Z STORM begins with Wong Man Bin (Gordon Lam) busting a financial office for some economic misdeeds. But it becomes clear that he himself is being investigated by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) because Man Bin is a crooked crop. This is just the tip of a major financial iceberg. He, along with others, could be participating in a massive Bernie Madoff style Ponzi scheme that has screwed over millions upon millions of folks. That’s an abridged version of the beginning of the movie which darts back and forth between exposition that has already happened and the current investigation by ICAC.
At times it’s hard to follow, but that’s because at times it’s unclear who and what are conspiring in this massive scheme. There are some lingering questions about Man Bin’s wife who is the person who turned him over to the proper authorities. Along with authorities, ruffians and a conniving attorney all enter the picture and complicate matters. In a good thriller, these would be individual, flavorful sprinkles on the well-rounded cupcake, but instead this is like a dash of salt and a dash of pepper in a bowl of cereal.
What Z STORM seemingly does on purpose, is confuse singular shots on two men discussing exposition for tension. It also believes that men destroying offices is a sufficient form of action sequences. It’s filmed in such a way that you would think at any moment, a classic over-the-top Zucker brothers scene will take place. It borders so much on self-parody, that I wondered if maybe some part of them did make a parody.
Setting aside my hopes for comedy, I can see how clunky Z STORM truly is. There’s so many odd instances of suspenseful music after seemingly uninteresting revelations, it feels like a bad public access show looking to raise the heart rate of its viewers from dead calm to calm. The obligatory gunfight at the end feels shoehorned in and comes out of nowhere. Z STORM’s one positive is that it’s a mere 90 minutes, but 90 minutes I could have better spent re-watching NAKED GUN. Or better yet reconnecting with an old flame and watching WET HOT AMERICAN SUMMER.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2:39:1) This blu-ray boasts a wonderful presentation, allowing everything to come through crisply and clearly.
Audio: (Cantonese DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) I mentioned the soundtrack before in a mocking fashion, but I wouldn’t be able to mock it without it being presented in such a seamless manner. The audio mixing on this blu-ray is well done.
Making Of (5:12): A by the books feature that goes behind the scenes. A bit too short to go over any real details, but also to dry to go over what interesting details there could be.
Interviews: This features three interviews of varying length with actors Louis Koo, Gordon Lam, and Michael Wong. They talk about their characters as well as the story. The entire interviews are just one long single shot of the interview without cutting in footage of the movie or changing angles. Visually, it’s droll, making the information they’re giving us, uninteresting.