April 8, 2019

GOLDEN JOB: Leave Your Scrutiny at the Door

Starring Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, Michael Tse, Kar Lok Chin, Jerry Lamb, eric Tsang, Yamei Zhang, Charmaine Sheh, Serej Onopko. Directed by Kar Lok Chin. (2018/109 min).

Review by Tiger the Terrible😼

Though the unfortunate title sounds like something you might pay for at a brothel, Golden Job is an outlandishly entertaining heist film. However, it does require a bit of effort on the viewer’s part, mainly a willing suspension of disbelief.

Having grown-up together in an orphanage, Lion, Crater, Bill, Dan & Mouse are as close as brothers and fiercely loyal to each other. They are more-or-less raised, loved and mentored by a man they refer to as Dad. Under his tutelage, they eventually become globe-trotting thieves-for-hire. When de-facto leader Lion (Ekin Chang) learns the medicine they stole to treat an African village is expired, they plan another elaborate heist, this time targeting a second batch being moved by a shady foreign agency. However, what they end up with is $400 million in stolen gold, which Bill (Michael Tse) knew about all along, part of his own plan to doublecross his friends and the guys they stole it from.

"Yeah, I did my hair myself. What about it?"
Bill disappears with the gold, Lion goes to jail and the others lay low while Dad and his daughter, Lulu, try to start over in a small town in Japan. Once Lion is released, they decide to go after Bill and the gold. But despite his betrayal, they aren’t looking for revenge. In fact, their motivation is what makes Golden Job kind-of unique among heist films. There’s the usual quota of action, gunplay and bloodletting. The gold heist itself is wonderfully elaborate, though pretty damned far-fetched. But what gets us through the technical and narrative rough spots are the characters. All the protagonists are extremely likable and their dedication to each other is endearing, leading to more-than-a few funny or heartwarming moments. Even Bill, vicious as he becomes, is never completely evil. Throughout the film, he’s openly remorseful over what he’s done to break the trust between the five of them.

However, anyone expecting plausibility should probably keep walking and never look back. The elaborately staged action scenes often play like a video game, especially during a Tokyo car chase and the climactic island siege (yeah, there’s an island siege). The bad guys all have the marksmanship skills of Imperial Stormtroopers and our heroes seem a little too fearless in the face of overwhelming odds.

But Golden Job ain’t a documentary and makes no claims of realism. There’s no lofty agenda or ambition beyond offering a fun ride with a half-dozen amusing characters we can’t help but like. Big, loud, violent and even poignant at times, you won’t believe a minute of it, but with films like this, does that ultimately matter?


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