It’s black and white–this movie is dumb.


When it comes to reviewing popular franchises from foreign markets, I always feel a bit awkward, like I’m late to a party or on the outside looking in on an inside joke. Apparently Black and White is a thing and this feature, titled The Dawn of Assault is the kickoff to an established brand.

But, champ that I am, I shall sojourn forward. Because that’s just the kind of person I am. Also, I’m the kind of person who’s always on the lookout for action gems from overseas and this one seemed to have promise. At least judging by the cover, which shows two guys running around with guns and attache cases with explosions in the background.

What I wasn’t expecting was a zany buddy comedy plastered with overwrought CGI — and that’s what I got.

The story: Detective Wu (Mark Chao) is a loose cannon cop with a chip on his should and an unrelenting urge to commit as much property damage as possible during even the most routine police action. This doesn’t sit well with his superiors, so he’s grounded from action duty.

But trouble finds him almost immediately when he crosses paths with Xu Dafu (Bo Huang), a hapless wannabe of the criminal underworld. He’s landed himself in hot water with the Triads and his attempts to resuscitate his ailing career puts him square in the middle of an incomprehensible plot. Then stuff starts blowing up.

And they blow up and blow up and blow up so more. Credit where it’s due — if there’s a Michael Bay equivalent in Asian filmmaking, this is it. Black and White opts against grounded combat for its action centerpieces and puts forth armored car chases, helicopter attacks and a finale on board a tail-spinning jetliner.

Amidst the rubble is your typical “odd couple” relationship, with Xu playing the role as the buffoon and Wu the straight man.

Nothing new here. Wu is often exasperated with his partner but happens to be effective enough at cracking skulls; Xu, as far as I can tell, gesticulates madly and whines. (Though, this is where my ignorance comes in; Bo Huang might be a living comedy legend, so there you go.)

Just not my cup of tea. Goofy computer-generated bombast, and humor and characters that didn’t work for me.

Nifty Blu-ray from Shout! Factory: 2.35:1/1080p, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround (Mandarin), and a making-of featurette.

THE VERDICT
There is no gray area in my guilty verdict.

Tech Specs
Black and White: Dawn of Assault (Blu-ray) 2012, Shout! Factory, 142 minutes, NR (2012)
VIDEO: 2.35:1, 1080p     AUDIO:  DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English, Mandarin)
SUBTITLES: English      EXTRAS: Featurette  ACCOMPLICES: IMDB

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