Just imagine if Vin Diesel were betrayed by a member of his “family” in the Fast and the Furious franchise. That is about what happens to the other four sworn brothers who make up an elite free-lance team of mercenaries with vaguely criminal roots. It also happens to be a reunion of cast-members from the Young and Dangerous HK films series in its prime, but this is an entirely unrelated narrative. A heist will go down really, really wrong in Chin Ka-lok’s The Golden Job, which opens this Friday in New York.
After an assignment for a big pharma company ends in disaster (possibly because the plan is utterly inexplicable), the Fab Five stop sub-contracting for the man and go back to their indie roots, answering only to Cho, their “Papa” in whatever it is they do. Their first operation on their own will be a pro-bono gig, knocking over a truckload newly developed super-medicine, so their leader Lion can deliver it to Dr. Chow, the NGO doctor working in Africa he has been intermittently romancing.
The job went off without a hitch, but when they look in the back of the truck, they find gold bullion instead of medicine. Clearly, leaving the intel and logistics to Bill, the roguish corner-cutting bro, was a mistake. Lion, Calm, Crater, and Mouse all express their disappointment. Inevitably, their confrontation turns into a slam-bang gun fight that seriously wounds Papa Cho. Bill absconds with the gold, which he uses to set himself up as a crime lord in Montenegro. Alas, the rest of his brothers are left holding the bag, but we know there is no way they will leave things that way.
One thing is undeniable, Chin likes to drive fast. Golden Job is not exactly a staggering work of originality, but it aims to please with plenty of energetically staged car chases, shootouts, and multiple old school fight sequences. The action is high octane all the way, with Chin choreographing a number of neat stunts.
As Crater, Jordan Chan broods with ferocious intensity, while Michael Tseng’s Bill chews the scenery with outsider relish. Jerry Lamb’s hacker Mouse is nearly as underwritten as Charmaine Sheh’s Dr. Chow, but who cares? Ekin Chan is still quite charismatic and has mucho action chops as Lion and Calm’s specialty (as played by Chin) is getaway driving, so what more do we need? Plus, Eric Tsang tones down the shtick as Papa Cho. As a bonus, veteran Japanese character actor Yasuaki Kurata gets an unlikely action showcase as Cho’s elderly but still steely Japanese neighbor.