'Saving Mr. Wu' - Movie Review

The movie opens on Mr. Wu (Andy Lau) and a movie producer leaving a night club. Three men claiming to be police force Mr. Wu into a car and take him away. The movie bounces around in time across the 20 or so hours in which Mr. Wu is held hostage: sometimes we see the police investigation, sometimes their interrogation of the gang leader who they caught part way through the process, sometimes the hostage and captors.

Reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are very positive, although there are only four of them. I found it somewhat pedestrian and too complementary to both the police and the kidnapped man. And I can guess why, in both cases: the movie was made in mainland China with its restrictive government: they act as censors, and probably wouldn't allow any movie that showed anything but glowing competence on the part of a state body like the police. They also filmed Beijing on the non-smoggy days: the government would undoubtedly prefer that, but so would the film-makers. And then there's "Mr. Wu." He's based on a real actor - a real actor who survived a kidnapping attempt, and is on the cast of this movie as a police man. He's afraid but calm in the face of his own death. He's intelligent, quick-thinking, and kind. He's a very model citizen in the most trying circumstances imaginable.


The movie is well constructed, well filmed, and well acted. But it's far too close to its own subject matter to give an honest portrayal of what actually happened, so we get a kidnapping hagiography. It's bizarre and left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.