The Touch (2002)
Main cast: Michelle Yeoh (Yan Fei), Brendon Chan (Yue Tong), Ben Chaplin, and Richard Roxburgh
Director: Peter Pau


While I'm glad that Michelle Yeoh, a fellow Malaysian, is doing her thing and doing it well, her The Touch is a flashy but substance-free action adventure movie, just think Lara Croft doing somersaults and split kicks.

And there's something about a Chinese-produced movie passing Chinese people as exhibition/circus performers that makes me feel vaguely uneasy. It seems like shameless exploitation. From a Hollywood studio, I can take it as another silly stereotyping of Chinese people. But from Peter Pau and Michelle Yeoh? I don't like it all.

Michelle Yeoh plays Yan Fei, a super circus acrobat who has to find some silly mysterious relic before the villain gets it first. Cue the autopilot action thingies as Yan Fei leaps over crumbling cliffs, delivers flying kicks left and right, and pretends to be in love with Ben Chaplin, the obligatory good ang moh (White guy in local Chinese dialect), while Richard Roxburgh is embarrassing as the evil ang moh. Yeoh and Chaplin have no chemistry whatsoever, but then again, Chaplin has never displayed any convincing chemistry with anybody in all the movies I've seen him in. He just stands there and stares in that bulgy-eyed way of his, and he speaks his lines as if he's a more constipated Nigel from Relic Hunter.

Throw in lots of "Asian" mumbo-jumbo about Fate, Destiny, and Honor, and The Touch is exciting, cheesy, and cringe-inducing all at once. Michelle Yeoh can kick ass like nobody's business, but I wish she will do something meatier in the future. This one is too easy and unworthy of her.

Rating: 68


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