Double Vision (Shuang tong, 2002)

Japanese Sony Columbia Pictures

November 2013, 113 min uncut DVD edition

Hong Kong Columbia Pictures

Hong Kong Columbia Pictures 2002 unrated 113 min uncut DVD edition


Text below written 2015-12-04

Due to the japanese re-issue in the autumn 2013 of the DVD of this great and sadly VERY underrated Crime Mystery,
it was time for me to rewatch this film after some 10 years. Did it pass the test of time, had it withstood the erosive
attacks from a new generation of CGI packed horror films? Did the temple shock scene still pack a punch ?

I watched this DVD edition in november 2015. Today, DVD and even Blu-ray editions of films are on it's way OUT
owing to the popular VOD streaming, into the junkyards of time. The "old" shops are disappearing like obsolete sad
ancient dinosaurs and are missed only by the oldtimers. So, for all us who still loves to see dvd/blu-ray cases in our
bookshelves (sorted alfabethically after title or genre/country wise) and to be able to hold these beauties in our hands
you have to act when one of your favourite films suddenly appear in a surprise new edition. As in this case when this
forgotten crime mystery grounded on Taoism was re-released in Japan on DVD (but sadly not on a Blu-ray) with a
reasonable price and in the Long uncut version. You just had to buy it.
And the answer to my question above was a big YES, the film was as good now as 10-13 years ago, even though the
then much-talked about Temple scene because of the evolved CGI usage may not look as good today as then.
For some reason this forgotten Taiwanese gem has fallen under the radar, but the director Chen Kuo Fu is doing very
well today. He took a step over the water and he's an important producer in mainland China today.

Beware of BIG Fat Spoilers Below
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Victim No. 2 in the CGI Fire

Double Vision is a unique Crime Occult Mystery Horror and according to some reviewer something of a Taiwanese
Seven. The Unique and suggestive moods are built up partly due to the usage of elements from the Taoistic mysticism
as a clue to the murder mystery. A Hint: Double pupils sees half humans who suffers the 5 torments of hell on their
journey to eternal life.
The Atmosphere of the film is splendidly Dark, grey moody from a rainy Taiwan and with a burned out cop investigating
without any real hope of solving The Case of the Strange Deaths. The Taipei Police seems to accept the improbable
solution - that some sort of Demonish workings are behind it all.
The Cinematography from Arthur Wong is Great, the soundtrack too and the acting is Topnotch - Uber Great. Tall Tony
or the other Tony Leung, Tony Leung Ka-Fai he's brilliant (he's always brilliant) as the slightly bummed up and antisocial
crime investigator with family problems. He has been punished by his corrupt bosses and transferred from the crime unit to
the less prestigious Foreigner issues unit. The Wife of Tony's cop is played very nicely by Rene Liu.

A Vision from the Taoism Hell

The Story:

After the occurance of a couple of very strange murders the Taipei Police are clueless of what to do solving the cases.
The Public are scared and annoyed and in an attempt to stem the anger the Police call for help from USA and the FBI
and a serial killer investigator expert arrives in the form of David Morse. It's really an empty gesture as the Taipei Police
top brass already has given up and seriously believe that the crimes are unsolvable and of a demonish nature.
They treat the tall american in a condescending or plainly open racist way. In this film Chen Kuo Fu depicts the Taiwan
police as being corrupt and useless. Well, as Tony is the only one able to speak english he's given the task to assist the
american FBI man, and maybe to further degrade him as the investigation are considered a hopeless mission.
Do you think the grumpy Tony and the tall Morse will become buddies and also make a break through in the murder case
- Does bamboo bears take a dump in the bamboo woods? Yes, they do. The Answer is Yes.

Just like Tony Leung Ka Fai also David Morse is always GOOD in all his film roles, and so also here. He plays the FBI
man with great aplomb and has a great chemistry with Tony. Not very common in asian films that a western actor actually
works well in the story and delivers a great performance. Often second grade actors are used and stink up the screen.
The Temple shock scene can be seen in all it's gory glory here, but the CGI used are primitive by todays standards and
maybe it would've been better if they had used old analogue make up prosthetic effects instead. When released in the west
once it was a shortened international version without the extreme gore.
So if i have to pick something Bad: Maybe there's some plot holes and the CGI used look a bit dated today.
If i remember correctly, some viewers didn't like the ending BUT i'm buying it, i'm allowing Chen Kuo Fu some slack as i
really had a good time during the great ride that this film was. And .... The Girl.
Maybe i'm the only one in the whole world here - but i just love The Magic Girl (Hannah Lin Han) a tragic sad figure and
a "bad guy" you can feel compassion for.

David Morse och Tony Leung Ka Fai solving crimes

In 2002 i wrote that Double Vision was one of the best films of the year, and that opinion stands today even though the
CGI used feels dated. The Film has a suggestive unusual story, it's dark and visually atmospheric and very well acted.
A Taiwanese Murder Mystery with special vibes from the Taoism twist that can be watched many times.
David Morse (i love you man) finally a western actor that really works fine in an asian film. Avoid the shortened version
of this film that was released in the west and go for the uncut asian versions.
This japanese DVD version was in anamorphic widescreen, with mandarin and english 5.1 sound and with english subs.
Morse and Tony communicate in english in this film (and Tony Leung Ka-Fai in slightly broken such).
Extra: Just the Trailer and i remember seing it in it's day and WOW that was some cool trailer and the anticipations
were huge, and the film did live up to it's hype for sure