Starring: Wang Qianyuan, Daniel Wu, Jessie Li, Michelle Wai
Based on the murders and robberies committed by Zhang Jun, Caught in Time, is a Hong Kong/Chinese crime thriller that shows the police and Eagle Gang in a game of cat and mouse. On his first day since being transferred, Police Captain Zhong Cheng (Wang Qianquan) is kidnapped by Zhang Sun (Daniel Wu) while trying to stop a robbery. In the struggle in a van Zhong bites into Zhang’s ear and is thrown out, leading them to have a bitter rivalry, as Zhong makes it his sole mission to capture Zhang and his gang.
Caught in Time is one hell of a tense film. The robberies are brutal with the Eagle Gang not holding back, there’s no remorse when they shoot civilians or security at the banks and jewellery stores. It’s almost refreshing to not have a plot point where one of the gang members feels guilty for doing it. The shoot outs with the police are tense and well shot, with a real sense of risk. It all builds up to a fist fight where you feel every punch connect, in a ruthless stand-off.
There’s a really great sequence where the gang is so sure of itself, they go to a local restaurant to order noodles, then commit the crime to make it back before their order is served. They then watch the police try to investigate the crime and even leave enough money behind the counter to pay for the police’s meals. The mind games between Zhong and Zhang are great.
The only real issue with the film is the large amounts of in your face propaganda that’s splattered throughout. All the police are presented as perfect, their biggest flaw is one of them being scolded for not wearing a bullet-proof jacket when rescuing a child from a car being shot at. There are propaganda posters in the film, and as the film is closing with some text on screen explaining the fallout of the real-life events it claims that China’s tough gun laws has made it one of the safest countries in the world since the 1990s, a strange claim.
Despite that Caught in Time is still a fantastic thriller. Every shoot-out is tense and will have you biting your nails at what’s going to happen. Both Wang Qianyian and Daniel Wu are brilliant, and their final fight is brilliantly choreographed. It’s a gripping and entertaining film, that flies by without a single moment dragging.
Signature Entertainment presents Caught in Time on Digital Platforms 7th February
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