No Limit 無極限之危情速遞
Contemporary action romance
2011, colour, 2.35:1, 91 mins
Directed by Fu Huayang (傅華陽)
By Derek Elley
Wed, 21 March 2012, 09:15 AM (HKT)
Messy mixture of action and young romance, partly redeemed by its two young leads. Asian and genre events.
Shanghai, the present day. One morning in Jiexin Square, mountain bike enthusiast Wu Jixian (Hans Zhang), who works for an express delivery service, bumps into Xiao An (Zheng Shuang) when she's photographing her skateboarding friend Tornado (Cao Shuai). Jixian steals a kiss from her and Xiao An determines to get even. Inadvertently, however, both become caught up in the struggle for a box containing a live parrot that a pharmacology specialist, Professor Jia Zhenjie (Wang Hui), has brought back from Southeast Asia and which could help develop a breakthrough toxin. Xiao An steals the box when Jixin is delivering it to the professor's home, and Jixin later recovers it when he "rescues" her from an embarrassing birthday party thrown by her wealthy father. Xiao An is kidnapped by Nengrang (Shi Yanneng), a martial-arts disciple of The Master (Fu Huayang) who's gone rogue and wants to sell the parrot to some Japanese. The Master, from whom Professor Jia stole the parrot, sends his four female martial-arts pupils after Nengrang; among them is Nina (Patricia Hu), whom Nengrang had tricked into helping him.
No Limit 無極限之危情速遞 (2011) makes an interesting case study in trying to be a bit of everything and ending up being not much of anything. Part light youth movie, part X-treme sports film, part meet-cute romance (released on Chinese Valentine's Day) and part martial-arts quickie, the result is like a Hong Kong B movie made 20 years ago but updated to modern-day Shanghai. Commercials producer and TV director FU Huayang 傅華陽, who made China's first musical youth movie, the silly but fun Kung Fu Hip Hop 精舞門 (2008) with FAN Bingbing 范冰冰 and Jordan CHAN 陳小春, doesn't seem to know what to focus on here, and comes up with a throwaway film (again using a mixture of Mainland and Hong Kong names behind the camera) that keeps veering from enjoyably trashy via genuinely charming to cartoonishly awful.
Some of the best fight material (visible in flashbacks to an undeveloped backstory) seems to have been squeezed out in the final cut, and the two real martial artists in the cast — SHI Yanneng 釋延能 (Shaolin 新少林寺 (2011)) and MMA female champion TANG Jin 唐金 — aren't properly exploited beyond a couple of brief, building-wrecking fights. The mountain-bike and skateboarding elements are no more than okay, and model-cum-web personality Patricia HU 胡夢媛 (formerly known as Frieda Hu 胡允兒) is unconvincing as one of a team of killer babes.
The best material is in the meet-cute scenes between bright young stars Hans ZHANG 張翰 (Hearty Paws 2 마음이 ２ (2010)) and ZHENG Shuang 鄭爽, who made their names together in the TV drama series Meteor Shower (一起來看流星雨, 2009) and Meteor Shower II (一起又看流星雨, 2010), and whose pairing is the main point of the enterprise. An amazing total of eight people worked on the nothing script. Hopefully, more can be expected from Fu's forthcoming release The Five 五星上將, a jungle-set female action movie starring YU Nan 余男.
ContactSales: Delight Films, Beijing (email@example.com)
Theatrical release: China, 12 Aug 2011.
Presented by Antaeus Film (CN), Hillywood Film & TV Development (CN). Produced by Antaeus Film (CN), Shanghai Shenbing Tianjiang Film (CN). Executive producers: Zhang Baoquan, Ye Shengli. Producer: Alan Lu.
Script: Fu Huayang, Sharon Hui, Yeung Sin-ling, Lina Chow, Wu Youyin, Chiu Sen-ming, Li Ping, Zhao Yu. Photography: Jimmy Kwok, Xiao Weihong. Editing: Azrael Chung. Music: Blackey. Art direction: Raymond Kwok. Costumes: Sandy Chen. Action: Joe Ma Yuk-sing. Martial arts: Fan Zhanhong. Executive director: Xu Yin.
Cast: Hans Zhang (Wu Jixian), Zheng Shuang (Xiao An/Ann), Shi Yanneng (Nengrang), Patricia Hu (Nana, Third Sister), Fu Huayang (The Master), Hong Bin (delivery company head), Cao Shuai (Tornado), Jessie Zhou (Fourth Sister), Julia Jiang (First Sister), Tang Jin (Second Sister), Eva Lau (Kiki), Franky Zhang (Thunder & Lightning), Yan Xiayan (delivery boy), Yan Chen (Wheels), Song Chenyi (Iron Skin), Yang Chunqing (Hard Knock), Fu Mulan (bird girl), Zhou Qiong (Rose, Jixian's fat work colleague), Wang Hui (Professor Jia Zhenjie).