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The Viral Factor [Blu-ray]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 5, 2013
After failing a mission to protect a copy of the smallpox virus, Jon Man is left with two weeks to live. Through his mother, Jon finds out of his long lost brother, Yeung, and sets out to find him- only to discover his brother is a career criminal. Eventually, Jon is pulled back into a fight to save his brother and niece, and a fight against biological terrorists. The Viral Factor is the definition of an action-packed thrill ride.

The story is very thrilling from beginning to end, and even emotional at times. Its intense close-quarter-combat, suspenseful foot pursuits, edge-of-your-seat car chases, and explosive shootouts are all spectacular and consistent; it rarely takes a breather throughout its 2 hour runtime. The film also uses a distant sibling relationship to create an emotional experience, most notable during its finale. Speaking of the ending, it was a great bittersweet ending. Occasionally, the film did suffer from poor storytelling; it introduces many characters and locations rapidly, especially during the beginning, and it jumps from location to location too often to keep track. I was able to grasp the concept and the story, though. The acting was great- Andy On stood out as a despicable villain. The music was great, although it occasionally felt out of place. Also, for those wondering, the film uses many languages, although I felt the bulk of it was in English.

Overall, The Viral Factor will not disappoint blockbuster action fans. As of 3/23/13, this film is available on Netflix Streaming, a purchase is recommended for action fans, a rental otherwise.

The Viral Factor has strong violence and blood.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 5, 2013
Following the success of two well-made crime dramas "The Beast Stalker" and "The Stool Pigeon" (both starring Nicholas Tse), director Dante Lam has come back with "The Viral Factor" ("Jik zin"), a more action-oriented movie about two estranged brothers, Man Yeung (Nicholas Tse), a criminal hired by a terrorist group trying to use a mutated smallpox virus as a biological weapon, and Jon (Jay Chou), an International Security Affairs agent who is severely injured in his latest mission to stop them.

In action movies you may ignore a melodramatic story and incredible coincidences and enjoy action set-pieces, but stupid characters are something different. Action sequences themselves (that take place in Jordan, and for the most part, Malaysia) are decent with a fair amount of explosions and gunshots, but slick as it is, none of them is really thrilling, with super-efficient terrorists shooting hopelessly incompetent cops and guards.

I know I should not take the film too seriously, but watching the same person (who should have hired better security guards) kidnapped three times is hardly exciting. Also, if you want to run away from some henchmen, taking a train is not a very good idea.

As I said, the film's stunts are not bad. I also enjoyed the beautifully shot locations, and Nicholas Tse delivers solid performances as always, but all in all "The Viral Factor," overlong and uneven, is a disappointment.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2012
Dante Lam (Sniper, Beast Stalker) helms another commercial action vehicle starring Jay Chou (The Green Hornet) as Jon, a UN escort soldier who was supposed to be accompanying a scientist who'd turned himself in, to Norway, but his team is ambushed and he is shot in the head and left for dead. With doctors' unable to remove the bullet, he decides to spend whatever time he has left with his ill mother until he learns he has a brother, Man Yeung (Nicholas Tse), who is living a life of crime in Malaysia. When Jon heads to Malaysia to bring his brother back to see his mother, both he and Man get caught up with the man who betrayed Jon and his team.

At first, it may seem difficult to follow the plot, but it's not, in fact part of it is not all that different to the plot of 'Mission Impossible 2'. It's also full of holes and, I think, relies way too much on coincidences to be good or coherent. But underneath all the martial arts, flying bullets, explosions and conversations about smallpox, there's actually quite a touching family story running throughout about making mistakes and forgiveness and redemption.

Dante Lam tries to compensate the poor plot with the action and here he does splendidly; hand-to-hand, shooting, car chases, explosions, it is high-octane stuff and Lam handles them competently. Out heroes, Jon and Man, are battered and shot so many times you wonder how the hell they keep getting back up for more.

While Jay Chou handles his role of Jon well, Nicholas Tse brings an intensity to Man, unfortunately he likes to overdo it during the heavy drama, crying scenes that it's almost unintentionally funny.

I think if you're looking for a straight-up action flick, then you can't go wrong with `The Viral Factor' because it does tick all the right boxes. Suitable for a night in of mindless gun fights, fist fights and things going Boom!, can't beat that.
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on February 3, 2014
Love action packed Asian movies. This was a good one with a good plot. I would recommend if like action.
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on July 21, 2013
I'm a big fan of Jay Chou & Nicholas Tse. Putting them together in this movie as enemylike brothers was a great idea.
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on April 3, 2013
The movie is great. It has a lot of action and the marital arts is very good. The actors are great in here you will love this movie. Buy it.
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on March 20, 2013
Loved Jay! The story is believable and the action is okay. Just waited till the end to see what really is going on. Worth the time to watch a good movie!
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on February 5, 2013
Almost a James bond and buddy movie commbined with looking for lost family members with action and vioence nice tranfer and speedy shipping ecellent price to boot!
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For those of you uniformed, Dante Lam is an ACTION film director. That's right. You read it. ACTION. All caps. He stages some of the slickest, most vivid shootouts and car chases in all of current filmdom. You walk into a bar and pull a gun? You have Dante Lam photograph it. You're racing down the streets at breakneck speed with sparks flying off your tail? You have Dante Lam film that puppy. You're lunging and diving and hurling your body through an empty warehouse all the while being chased by gangsters, hoodlums, crooked cops, or even Nazis? You hire Dante Lam, you give him a good budget, and you put on your running shoes.

Are we clear?

IDC Agent Jon (played by Jay Chou) is one man on a team of top agents escorting a criminal biological weapons scientist to a distant land. However, an unexpected double-cross leaves Jon's sexy agent/girlfriend dead and Jon with a bullet lodged in his brain. The prognosis? That ain't good. Within months, the bullet will leave him completely paralyzed. What does he do?

(Well, here's where I have some problems with the script ...)

Instead of letting his impending paralysis fuel a gun-blazing mission for vengeance, Jon instead visits his mother, learns he has a long-lost brother, and decides to reconcile the family before his eventual catatonic state.

Say what?

And from there, things don't get much better in THE VIRAL FACTOR. Like I said, what should've been a blood-ridden, bullet-flying exploration of one man's quest for vengeance instead becomes a story largely fueled by circumstance: as fate would have it, Jon's brother Yeung (Nicholas Tse) is a crook-with-a-heart-of-gold who just happens to have ties to the very same men who killed Jon's gal-pal and put the bullet in his brain. Throw in a cute doctor (Lin Peng), a giggly niece, and a gimpy father, and VIRAL turns more `wimpy' by the moment.

In case you missed it, THE VIRAL FACTOR disappointed me, and that's mostly because I personally believe that, based on his record, Lam can't handle moments of human drama. In fact, I'd argue that the pacing of the film was slowed down tremendously by these moments trying to explore a complex past of people who needed to stay focused on the present. Instead of plucking on our heartstrings, the script should've been torturing our guts, much the same way the audience was on the edge of its seat throughout the opening salvo gunplay and car crashes. This is slick violence - cinema violence - done the way only Lam does best: with a veneer of blood and a coat of gloss. Thick gloss. Thick and meaty gloss. I'm telling you that in Lam's capable hands even the grit and grime has gloss.

To the man's credit, he moves the film along as best as possible, though it's hard to miss the awkwardness in some scenes. At two hours plus, VIRAL is thirty minutes too long, and that probably could've been reached if there weren't so many slow-motion sequences dragging even the action to some screeching halts. Good grief, Dante, use some restraint! And, next time, get a better script doctor while you're at it!

THE VIRAL FACTOR is produced by Emperor Motion Pictures, and its DVD distribution (stateside) is being handled through Well Go USA. How does it look? Well, you foolish fiend! Haven't you been listening? This is Dante Lam we're talking about, and I'll tell you for the record that Dante Lam has forgotten more about crafting an action film than Michael Bay will ever know. It looks and sounds awesome, though there was some awfully muddled dialogue in the film's quieter moments. The Blu-ray has a `making of' featurette and some brief cast & crew interviews.

RECOMMENDED only for fans of Dante Lam's films and/or Asian action cinema. At two-and-one-half stars, THE VIRAL FACTOR isn't the best film in Lam's arsenal. At best, it's a curious misfire - one replete with way too much slow-mo and too few bullets for its own good - that could've been a bigger sensation with more meat on the bones. As it is, the story unfolds all a bit too conveniently for its own good, wasting some solid action pieces around some paper-thin logic and listless moments of drama.

In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the good folks at Well Go USA provided me with a DVD screener of THE VIRAL FACTOR for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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on May 3, 2012
An agent is severely wounded on a mission and returns home to spend his final days with his mother. She asks him to help her fulfill a life-long secret, bring his unknown brother home to see her. He winds up involved with a vicious and bloody criminal group of which his brother is a part. When his brother is betrayed by the group and his daughter kidnapped by them the two brothers unite to resolve things in a brutal series of events. This movie is suspenseful, action-filled and touching.
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