Year of release: 2000
Wow! An Aaron Kwok movie where I didn't want to punch him in the face! I don't really know why. He still comes off as a pompous ass, and his acting range is still pretty limited -- he tries to look smart by putting on a pair of really big "nerdy" glasses. However, unlike many of Kwok's movies, there is a very solid supporting cast and they are given the chance to shine, even while working under the shadow of Kwok's ego.
In 2000 A.D., our boy Aaron plays some kind of dot-com yuppie who is sucked into an international terrorism plot that may or may not have involved his brother (Ray Lui) and his fiancee (Phyillis Quek). Aided by his best friend (Daniel Wu), his girlfriend (Gigi Choi) and a mysterious Malaysian agent (Lai Hing Cheung), Aaron must together who is on which side before the leader of the terrorists (Andrew Lin) and his henchman (Ken Lo) kill him and finish a program which can destroy the world's computer systems.
The plot isn't exactly mind-blowing, but 2000 A.D. moves along at a fast clip, so you don't notice the shortcomings too much. Though the script is frankly pretty bad at times -- the beginning scene takes place at a military base and is a perplexing mish-mash of English, Cantonese and Mandarin, and there are a few clunkers delivered throughout the film. Perhaps not coincidentally, the lines in English are the worst, but maybe it's because they have selected the usual horrible gweilo actors to deliver them.
On the other side of the coin, there are a few impressive performances that manage to balance out some of the crap. Andrew Lin and Ken Lo make for a pair of formidable villains, Daniel Wu shows why he is one of the more promising young actors in Hong Kong, and Francis Ng simply kicks ass. He takes a small role of a cop -- just a generic character -- and really makes it own. I wouldn't say it's Oscar-worthy, but it's damn good. Ng always has this way of portraying intensity without going over the top, and 2000 A.D. is one of his best performances to date.
As for the action, 2000 A.D. definitely delivers the goods. The first couple of action bits display the bad CGI a lot of new Hong Kong action movies suffer from, but things get better from then on, as Gordan Chan switches to more of an "old school" style in the vein of his movie Big Bullet. In particular, there is a manic shootout in a parking garage that stands out as one of the best action sequences to come out of Hong Kong in recent years.
Overall, 2000 A.D. isn't anything mind-blowing. If you're not a huge action fan or like to nit-pick movies, then most likely you'll want to skip this one. But if you like fast and furious Hong Kong action, then you could do a lot worse than 2000 A.D., especially compared to many other recent so-called "action" films, from both HK and Hollywood.