Saturday, 9 December 2017

Alternate Best Supporting Actor 2010: Liu Kai-chi in The Stool Pigeon

Liu Kai-chi did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Jabber in The Stool Pigeon.

The Stool Pigeon is a thriller that follows a police inspector Lee (Nick Cheung) and his criminal driver informant Ghost. Although it is bolstered somewhat by a charismatic lead performance by Nicholas Tse as the driver it is bogged down by some rather awkward plotting.

Liu Kai-chi plays the previous titular stool pigeon before Tse takes up the job, and we first meet him in the film's opening where a sting is bungled. That leads Jabber on the wrong end of several machetes when the gangster he was working for becomes aware of his treachery. Liu kind of goes full on manic desperate fool, that you often see in a Hong Kong crime thriller, and it is perhaps a touch over the top. He becomes less sympathetic and more ridiculous in this early scene which is problematic because it is suppose to set up the guilt inspector Lee suffer. Unfortunately that is made all the more underwhelming by Nick Cheung's bland performance. This is suppose to be an underlying and important plot point however I sort of forgot Liu was even in the film much of the time. He occasionally pops back up as now a deranged homeless man hiding from the criminals and constantly fearful for his life. Again Liu's performance is excessive, and it actually might have been somewhat forgivable if he was a little more subtle in his opening scene. His performance instead goes from an 11 to 11 so the change really doesn't leave any impression. Instead we get more of him reacting in an outrageous fashion to everything. Now he's over the top but not completely terrible at this. There are hints of some genuine emotion in there, but that is often diminished by just how much he oversells every one of his lines as well as all his facial expressions. He leaves nowhere for his character to go, and remains almost a cartoon the entire time. The role itself I do think had potential if there had been a degree of restraint as the idea of his character trying to see his wife again could have been moving. It fails though because of just how big he goes the entire time. There are at least some minor glimpses of a decent performance but for the most part Liu Kai-chi's performance makes Jabber nothing more than a forgettable caricature.

20 comments:

Michael McCarthy said...

I had a feeling this was one I could skip.

RatedRStar said...

Oh shit.

RatedRStar said...

Looks like I didnt have to wait for Daniel Wu to deliver the worst requested performance.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: What did you do. :)

Louis: Where would you rank Ronan and thoughts on Tse.

RatedRStar said...

Louis: Good thing I requested Nicholas Tse for The Beast Stalker, which also stars Nick Cheung and Liu Kai Chi and was directed by the same person also lol so I guess there is that to look forward 2.

Luke Higham said...

RatedRStar: Well, I trust Tse to be good there though it must feel a bit painful for you to choose a severely underwhelming performance to review, not that I'm complaining. I would've liked Farrell though he does leave The Way Back half way through.

Calvin Law said...

Yeah Nick Cheung wasn't very good here.

RatedRStar said...

Luke: Very painful.

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

The updated overall is going to be very interesting.

Anonymous said...

Louis and you guys: Thoughts on Critics Choice best actor nominations.

Also, would Matthias Schoenaerts be a good choice for Stanley in a remake of Stretcar Named Desire set in the 2010s?

Charles Heiston said...

Ouch.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Anonymous: I've only gotten to see Kaluuya and Franco of the nominees. Kaluuya is still one of my favorite performances of the year, so I'm very much rooting for him to go the distance. Franco was hilarious, but I don't think he'll make my Best Actor lineup by the end.

Calvin Law said...

Kaluuya has an outside shot of getting in I feel. Of the ones I've seen, Kaluuya and Franco are great, and Chalamet and Gyllenhaal very good.

Louis: your thoughts on Benedict Wong as an actor? I feel like with more material he could potentially give a great performance.

Luke Higham said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luke Higham said...

Guys, apart from Rockwell, Poulter and Stewart, is there any other supporting performances that could get fives from Louis.

Calvin Law said...

Luke: Harrelson could easily get a 5. As could Grazer. Dano has a very outside shot since Okja is sitting well with him.

I could see Dafoe, Boyega, Lynch, Letts and the Call Me By Your Name fellas getting very strong 4.5's verging on 5.

Calvin Law said...

As for lead, Stanton, Renner, and Gosling are the guaranteed 5's so far.

Calvin Law said...

And Jackman.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: And if all goes well, Mark Hamill for The Last Jedi.

And with Lead, Franco has a great chance and Oldman & Day-Lewis are likely as well.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Tse - 4(The only person who offers the right emotional connection and urgency to the plot. Everything was a little shoddy around him however he keeps an emotional core to the film through his committed performance. Furthermore his charm really does elevate several scenes just because he is there. The film would have been better off it had reduced Cheung's role and just focused in on the driver.)

Not sure at the moment.

Anonymous:

Yes he would be.

Calvin:

Well having only seen four performances of his, and I don't know where or what he was in Moon, I can't say too much. In the Martian and Dr. Strange he provides effectively too different kinds of straight men one of sheer exasperation and one of zero sense of humor. His one dramatic performance of his I've seen is his brief role in Sunshine where he was affecting in short screentime. I'd say from those he definitely seems to have potential, and I'd like to see him in a larger role.