Based on actual events, "Saving Mr. Wu" features Andy Lau as an actor abducted by kidnappers posing as cops.
Actor Wu Ruofu, whose own 2004 kidnapping serves as the basis here, plays the rescuer, Cao Gang, deputy of the criminal division. The time-jumping plot crosscuts between the abduction, the police interrogation of the mastermind Zhang Hua (Wang Qinyuan) and arrests of the suspects.
"Saving Mr. Wu" writer-director Ding Sheng significantly improves upon "Police Story: Lockdown," the Jackie Chan vehicle released in the United States in June. One criticism: Ding depends extensively on titles to the point of distraction, spelling out every character and setting every scene. Had he instead simply employed voice-over for all the flashbacks, the results might have been even stronger.
As can be gleaned from snippets of news footage shown during the end credits, Ding has done an outstanding job re-creating the events and conveying the complexity and prudence of the cops' investigative chess moves. Lau pulls off an equally tricky performance, as an actor using his acting chops as a means of survival.
"Saving Mr. Wu"
MPAA rating: None In Mandarin with subtitles.
Running time: 1 hour, 46 minutes.
Playing: AMC Atlantic Times Square 14, Monterey Park; AMC Puente Hills 20, City of Industry.