Zhou Xun as Ming Ming
Zhou Xun as NanaMing Ming is a very stylized movie, but that's not to say it has more style than substance. Unattainable love and infatuation play central themes in Ming Ming's world, one which contains fantasy martial arts elements, set in today's contemporary era. The titular character played by Zhou Xun cuts a willowy figure, dressed in black with her long dark tresses. One night she casts her eye on D (Daniel Wu), a street fighter whom she falls in love and spends a night with.
D, on the other hand, is an elusive lover. With secrets of the past which he seeks to unlock, he's never committed, giving out a promise to whoever can fetch him 5 million dollars, and with whom he'll travel to Harbin with. This sets in motion an entire chain of events, starting with Ming Ming stealing the money and a secret box from Brother Cat (the singer Jeff Chang, who has long been away from the public eye).
On the other hand, Ming Ming's friend Ah Tu (Tony Yang) is also infatuated with her, and chances upon Nana (Zhou Xun in her second role), with whom he brings along in their escape from Brother Cat's thugs, and whom too is also in love with D. Confused? Don't be, as Nana is distinctively different from Ming Ming, from hair and outfit (loud and garish) to mannerisms, not forgetting the languages used.
In fact, the movie can be renamed Nana, as this character had more screen time than Ming Ming, as we explore the unrequited love by so many characters in the movie. Love and its different incantations are put up on display, even parental ones, as the plot slowly unravels to its surprise ending. There are some zen like dialogue and moments in the movie, such as being able to be with a person even for a moment, is better than not being able to at all. And this is especially true for Ah Tu, even though he's with someone who resembles, and not with the actual person. I thought Nana and Ah Tu had the strongest storyline and the best character development, naturally so because of the screen time devoted to them.
Accompanying the superb story are both the music and action. The soundtrack is an eclectic mix and fusion of various influences, from electronica to jazz, and the theme used for chases is particularly catchy. Given that it adopted a fantasy martial arts style, most of the fights, especially Ming Ming's, were given distinct looks. Ming Ming's especially, is one adopted from flicking explosive projectiles at her enemies, while D's style is quick, brutal, and very short ranged. Plot elements from such fantasy movies, like mini quests, and the seeking of treasure, are staples too in the movie.
The filming style used is also a mixed bag, with repetitions, quick cuts and flashbacks the norm. It might require a little time to get used to, typically those used in fights. By the time you get through one or two action sequences, you'll be clamouring for more. Savour those moments, as they actually come few and far between. There are many "poser" moments as well, which gives the movie a certain "sexy" look as characters preen and pose when they deliver their dialogues.
The key languages being used are Mandarin, Cantonese and Shanghainese, I was wondering what language were they using during the conversation between Daniel Wu(吴彦祖) and Kristy Yeung (杨恭如). The result of research has given me a satisfying answer, now I know both of them are Shanghainese besides the fact that Daniel Wu is actually an ABC (American born Chinese). Apart from that, Zhou Xun(周迅) and Tony Yang sounded way too funny in their Cantonese diction. I Can't help laughing when hearing Tony Yang speaks but at least his mandarin is a bit better than Cantonese.
Check out the trailer here, and pay extra attention on the scene where she attacks using her hands, which is more powerful than any other weapons. That is tremendously ridiculous !!! I was like, what on earth... am I watching Matrix right now?!