The Viral Factor

Year: 2012
Production Co: Beijing Universe Starlight Culture Media
Director: Dante Lam
Writer: Dante Lam/Candy Leung/Wai Lun Ng
Cast: Jay Chou, Nicholas Tse, Peng Lin

If I remember correctly I was interested in this movie because I thought there might be some zombie connection thanks to the title (and it wouldn't surprise me if the western distributor retitled it to trick people into thinking that), but the virus is only the Macguffin that drives an action thriller. Not that it's a disappointment – the action and thrills are kinetic, bloody and very satisfying.

It's the story of two brothers, one a cop and one a criminal, who don't know the other exists until a big case unites them. When Jon (Jay Chou) and his international police force squad are escorting a criminal virologist mixed up in a biological weapon drama, one of their number turns out to be a traitor, ending up with most of the squad getting killed.

Jon is left with a bullet in his head that doctors tell him will paralyse and kill him within weeks. When his mother tells him about the brother he never knew, raised by their gambling-addicted father in Malaysia, Jon goes off to find Yeung (Nicholas Tse), but when Yeung kidnaps the pretty scientist Jon has befriended to help him with the case, Jon realises his brother is actually a gangster with a financial stake in the whole mess.

They decide to team up and the violence and blood splash a trail across Malaysia as the kill count and action quotient go through the roof.

It feels like a long movie and the script doesn't really know where to end, but just when you think you've seen the explosive climax, there's an even bigger, bloodier and louder conflagration coming. The fights, gunplay and chases are gratifyingly R rated and while it's not perfect, it's a great big budget action flick.

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