Shanghai

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Shanghai, 1941. Posing as a journalist, American spy Paul Soames (John Cusack) arrives at the international settlement to investigate the murder of his best friend and fellow agent, Connor (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). To get to the core of the matter, Paul befriends Anthony Lan-Ting (Chow Yun-fat), a local triad boss who is on good terms with the Japanese occupiers, and his wife Anna (Gong Li), who secretly works for the Chinese resistance and who becomes an irresistible love interest for our beaten protagonist.

Directed by Swedish director Mikael Håfström (Derailed, 1408), this conventional yet entertaining romantic thriller puts us at the centre of a rain-soaked pulp universe – littered with decadence, an incessant voiceover by Cusack, and a Chow Yun-fat who’s still all trench coat, fedora hat, and guns blazing. As Paul struggles to evade the eyes of Japanese security captain Tanaka (Ken Watanabe) and track down Connor’s missing, opium-addicted girlfriend (Rinko Kikuchi), he may well be on the cusp of discovering – and possibly averting – Japan’s plans to launch an attack on a certain Pearl Harbor. Will he succeed, though? Please don’t make me spoil it for you.

Edmund Lee

Dir Mikael Håfström, Category IIB, 105 mins, Opens August 26

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