When I saw The Incredible Hulk yesterday at a matinee screening, I was entertained. (My feelings were very similar to what Scott Weinberg wrote in his review, so no sense repeating them here.) But, truthfully, the CGI-to-death battle scenes made me long for hard-core, physical action sequences involving real people, an itch that was easily scratched by watching Invisible Target, which came out on DVD earlier this week.

Directed by veteran action maestro Benny Chan, Invisible Target is a very basic Hong Kong "cops and criminals" tale with a couple of deeper psychological layers thrown in for good measure. As I wrote in my review when I saw it at Fantastic Fest last fall, "Invisible Target may not be strikingly original in either its plot or action choreography, but there's definitely something entirely positive to be said for a film that intends to be nothing more than a delivery system for adrenaline and keeps its promise in a very satisfying fashion."


Watching it again on DVD, I was struck by how well the action scenes flow. Yes, you can detect the unnatural assistance of wires (digitally removed in post-production, of course), but director Chan insisted on the actors doing their own stunts to the extent it was possible.

The two-disk edition includes a plethora of interviews, an audio commentary by several of the actors, a "making of" feature, deleted and extended scenes, and even footage from the gala premiere. I've just started wading through the extras, but the two I've watched so far have been excellent.

In a 22-minute interview, Benny Chan acknowledges the pressure to come up with "original" action and then admits that, basically, everything has already been done. (Keep in mind that he's speaking from the perspective of the Hong Kong film industry, which has churned out -- and forgotten -- more great, hard-core action movies than Hollywood could ever dream about.) He says the only way to make the fights and stunts unique is to place them within the best possible dramatic context, so that they come about as a natural consequence of the story.

Chan talks about each of the lead actors and how he worked with them. Nicholas Tse had trained hard in recent years in a variety of disciplines to become a more authentic action star; Shawn Yue had no training but was willing to learn; Wu Jing was accustomed to working in period pieces and so his moves and style had to be adjusted for the modern-day setting.

In his own lengthy interview, Jaycee Chan, the son of Jackie Chan, says he didn't want to do any action in the movie, and only agreed to do the film at all because of his respect for Benny Chan as his "Uncle." (Benny Chan and Jackie Chan are not related, but have worked together numerous times.) The younger Chan has been forging his own identity as a dramatic actor and musician, and wanted to avoid obvious comparisons with his father. He provides good production stories, including one about a scene in which he and Nicholas Tse actually were set on fire!

I'm anticipating multiple replays on the film itself, so I can easily recommend the Dragon Dynasty two-disk DVD edition to fans of classic Hong Kong action.

CATEGORIES Action, DVDs, Cinematical