Mu Lianfeng ( Peter Ho) is a hunter in a small Chinese village. He is camped out in a tree on a boar hunt when a American fighter crashes directly overhead. Mu rescues the American pilot and brings him back to their village. This is the opening sequence of David Wu's Sino- Japanese war film Cold Steel. Wu a long time John Woo collaborator who cut his teeth as an editor knows how to keep the action
The Yank teaches Liangfeng how to shoot before he heals up from his wounds and heads back to his unit.
A Chinese platoon comes to the local tea house and are rough with the clientele and the owner Liu Yan ( Jai Song). Mu a friend of the owner takes exception and takes on the unit. Mu is defeated and taken to the platoon leader for punishment. Along the way The soldiers are pinned down by a Japanese sniper Liangfeng using his hunting skills takes out the sniper.
When Mu is brought before the platoon leader he is given the choice of death or joining the army.
Mu joins the sniper group for an undercover mission to take out a group of Japanese Generals behind enemy lines. Mu fails to follow orders and the mission does not go completely as planned.
Still Mui returns to his village as a hero and is now on the watch list for his opposite number Commander of the Japanese forces. All the while Lianfengs feelings continue to develop for Lin Yan leading to the inevitable choice between duty and his feelings. His platoon leader exalts that duty is the only option Liangfeng must complete his mission.
The group's next plan is to hit a Japanese Base at the same time the Japanese are planning to go to Mu's village in search of the new Chinese Sniper hero. The sniper group makes it into the base and escape kidnapping a nurse who turns out to be fiancé of the Japanese commander.
The final showdown occurs in Liangfengs village where Liangfeng is blinded at one point and the action and explosions are cranked up to eleven.
Drawing elements from his favourite directors and films Wu brings the action from the opening reel to the last scene including scenes that pay tribute to the Bourne Ultimatum and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The film stumbles in the dialogue, character development and drama departments However if an action film fits your fancy then Cold Steel fits the bill.
*** out of 4
Cold Steel | David Wu | China | 2011| 94 Minutes.
Reel Asian Film Festival 2012.