Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau takes on the role of high-profile celebrity Mr. Wu in the Chinese thriller Saving Mr. Wu. Kidnapped by a group of ruthless gangsters posing as cops, Mr. Wu must rely on his wits to save not only himself, but also another fellow hostage. The film is based on the 2004 abduction case of actor Wu Ruofu, who actually makes an appearance in the film as the police captain tasked with rescuing Mr. Wu.
While there is excitement in watching the police and kidnappers play a game of cat and mouse, the most intriguing aspect of the film was the interaction between its two leads: Mr. Wu and Zhang Hua, the psychopathic boss of the gangsters. Writer and director Ding Sheng skillfully uses these two characters and their conversations to explore the kidnappers’ motivations for their horrid actions, which offers an interesting look into the psychology of violence and value of life.
Another highlight of the film was Andy Lau’s phenomenal performance. Because his role required him to be bound by chains for almost the entire film, his bodily movement was heavily restricted, so he had to rely primarily on his facial expressions and voice to convey his character. This challenging situation led Lau to give one the most impressively nuanced performances of his career. Not to be forgotten is also Wang Qianyuan, who plays the role of Zhang Hua. His performance is terrifyingly convincing, and one can only hope he or she never crosses paths with someone like his character in real life.
Saving Mr. Wu is an intense watch, and some of the violent scenes were unsettling, but overall, it was a solid film complete with a great cast and substance.
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Film is available to watch on Netflix.
Title: Saving Mr. Wu (解救吾先生)
Director: Ding Sheng
Writer: Ding Sheng
Cast: Andy Lau, Wang Qianyuan, Ye Liu, Wu Ruofu
Run Time: 106 min