THE TROUGH (2018) review

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Nick Cheung’s third film as a director and star, The Trough follows Yu Qiu (Cheung), a cop who’s been undercover so long in the gangs of the fictional Solo City, that his mind is starting to slip: he’s developing a death wish, the limit between the Law and Crime has been blurred out, and between two missions he goes to live as a hermit in the Namibian desert, fighting wild animals. Solo City is a degenerate, crime-riddled sewer, and there’s no shortage of mob bosses for him to take down, under the orders of his handler Jim (He Jiong), a lone man of honor assisted by hacker Jackie (Yu Nan) but surrounded by dirty cops (including Maggie Cheung Ho Yee and Chris Collins). Yu Qiu’s new mission is to unmask and bring down “The Boss”, the hidden mastermind who controls Solo City; and the key to bring him down may be a little girl (Li Yongshan), who was plucked from an orphanage for mysterious reasons, and is now wanted by dirty cops and half the city’s gangsters alike.

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BATTLE OF MEMORIES (2017) review

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Set in the near future and in a fictional country called T Nation (the ‘T’ probably stands for Thailand, where the film was shot), Leste Chen’s Battle of Memories imagines that a technology has been developed that allows people to have select memories removed from their brain (à la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and stored safely in places called Master of Memory Centers. Successful novelist Jiang Feng (Huang Bo) goes to the only center in Asia that can perform this procedure: he is divorcing his wife Zhang Daichen (Xu Jinglei) and wants to get rid of the memories of how they fell in love. But when his wife tells him she won’t sign the divorce papers unless he has these memories restored, he goes back to have the procedure reversed (he will then only have 72 hours to have them deleted again, this time inevitably forever). But Jiang Feng quickly realizes the memories that have been restored in his brain, are someone else’s. Someone who seems to have killed two women, both of whom he seemed to love dearly. Haunted by these foreign memories, Jiang discerns that they are connected to a recent murder case, and he shares his uncommon and still muddled knowledge of the killer’s psyche with the police detective on the case, Shen Hanqiang (Duan Yihong). But if he has the killer’s memories, then does the killer have his?

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THE MISSING (2017) review

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For her seventh film as a director, Xu Jinglei left her comfort zone of romantic comedies and relationship dramas to tackle a ticking clock thriller in which Bai Baihe plays Lin Wei, a detective whose five-year-old daughter Dian Dian has been kidnapped, and who receives a mysterious phone calls from the kidnapper (Stanley Huang), who is about to tell her where her daughter is, when his car is hit by a truck. His name is Yang Nian, and when he wakes up in a hospital room, he has no memory of his past. After being attacked  by a mysterious assassin who murdered the two cops standing guard in front of his room, the obviously highly-trained Yang escapes, with Lin Wei in hot pursuit. Now while he tries to piece back together his past, the amnesiac must escape not only the police, but also assassins sent by a mobster he seems to have been close to in his past, as well as Lin Wei, who though suspended from the case, has decided to keep looking for her daughter. Soon, she must reluctantly team up with Yang.

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