Review: Running on Karma (2003)

Directed by: ,
Cast: ,

Not available in Australia on DVD (to our knowledge)

I have to admit to not expecting much out of this one. The few stills from the film looked pretty silly especially with Andy looking <INSERT ACCENT="austrian"> “mighty”. The synopsis is not exactly something that inspires a lot of confidence as well. With a line like that, you have a sneaking suspicion that they’d travel the countryside in a van solving mysteries.

And the opening scene with Andy doing a strip show and going the full monty… hey, where’d everyone go?

For those of you who might actually be turned off by the above statement, let me just say Running on Karma is actually an interesting film. Surprisingly good in fact and probably one of the better ones to come out of Hong Kong this year.

Running on Karma is basically a superhero film with Super-Andy lacking the tights as Big<snicker> and Cecilia Cheung as the rookie cop with a serious karmic debt. The first half of the film they encounter one or two super villians and they see justice done. Quite amusing in light of the fact the movie is about the idea of Karma as a universal justice system. Of course, it is this focus on the idea of Karma that makes the film much more interesting than the black and white plots superheroes often find themselves in.

The events in the film have a natural progression to them and everything just seems fated to happen as they should, whether good or bad. And you can just accept it which seems to be the underlying message of the film without being preachy or insipid (well, actually, Cecilia is a bit insipid but then her character is quite justified in her behaviour.)

Andy is very cool as Superma… I mean Big and I have got to say the special effects are just plain amazing. It’s either that or Andy seriously hit the steroids for this film. In fact, if I hadn’t seen Andy before I’m sure I could be easily convinced that was really him flexing it for the good of the universe.

The most compelling thing about Running on Karma though, is the story and the very accessible way it presents Karma and one other idea out of Buddhist doctrine without forcing it down your throat and making it pretty entertaining at the same time. The problem is it’s really hard for me to go on about it without some serious spoilers. And if there’s nothing else I’ve learned from the film, it’s try not be a bastard.

As such, there’s not much more I can say but to recommend people seeing Running on Karma. It’s fun yet insightful and I’m sure Johnny To and Wai Ka Fai have alleviated quite a bit of karmic debt with this film.

8.5 bits of Karmic debt paid off out of 10.
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