Length: 135 minutes
Director: Chen Sicheng
Cast: Wang Baoqiang, Liu Haoran, Tony Jaa, Satoshi Tsumabuki
Release date: 13 February 2021 (Singapore)
4 out of 5 stars
Detective Chinatown 3, like The Rescue, was meant to be released during 2020’s Chinese New Year period – before the COVID-19 viral outbreak forced the film’s release to be delayed by one year.
The third instalment of the Chinese comedy-mystery franchise sees Liu Haoran and Wang Baoqiang reprising their roles as Qin Feng the detective prodigy and Tang Ren, Qin’s uncle. This time, the events are set in the capital of the Land of the Rising Sun — Tokyo, where they have to uncover the mystery of a locked room murder.
To make things more interesting, the latest instalment also features other detectives on Crimaster – the international detective list on which Qin ranks second – after the anonymous and mysterious Q who will finally be revealed. Appearing on the silver screen together with the two lead actors are Satoshi Tsumabuki, reprising his role as Hiroshi Noda, the Japanese detective who ranks third in Crimaster, and Tony Jaa as Jack Jaa, a Thai detective who is a skilled fighter.
With Tony Jaa, it is needless to say that you can expect a good fist fight show. While Ip Man can fight ten at once, so can Jack Jaa. From taking down enemies inside the relatively narrow car of an underground train, to fighting against never-ending kenshi or swordsmen, Tony Jaa does not disappoint with his forceful punches, albeit enhanced by sound effects. To top it off, you will also get to see the humorous side of Tony, with comical scenes like him cosplaying the kawaii Chibi Maruko-chan.
As the setting is in Japan, Detective Chinatown 3 has invited a number of well-known (at least in Japan) Japanese actors and actresses to be part of the cast, making for a star-studded cast. The more prominent ones include Masami Nagasawa as Anna Kobayashi, secretary of the victim; Tomokazu Miura as Masaru Watanabe, boss of the yakuza named Black Dragon Gang; Honami Suzuki as Yoshiko Kawamura, acquaintance of Noda; Tadanobu Asano as Naoki Tanaka, a police officer; and Shota Sometani as Akira Murata, a wanted rapist-murderer.
In addition, the movie did not forget to showcase the colourful streets of Tokyo, the iconic Shibuya crossing, the tourist hotspot Tokyo Tower, the vibrant cosplay culture and summer festival, Rainbow Bridge at Tokyo Bay, and even Tokyo’s massive underground discharge channel — also the world’s largest underground flood water diversion facility.
Apart from the main plot of solving the locked room mystery, there is a sub-plot culminating in the revelation of the identity of Crimaster’s top-ranking detective Q. The ending comes as a surprise, which you have to watch to find out. It would not be fun otherwise.
All in all, Detective Chinatown 3 is bound to send laughters down the aisle, while keeping viewers in suspense this Lunar New Year. If there is going to be another sequel, things should be getting more intense with the revelation of Q.
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