The Touch (2002)

The Touch (2002) DVD Cover


2 Stars out of 5 Stars

Directed by:

Peter Pau


Michelle Yeoh ... Yin
Ben Chaplin ... Eric
Richard Roxburgh ... Carl
Brandon Chang ... Tong
Dane Cook ... Bob
Margaret Wang ... Lily


Laurent Courtiaud Julien Carbon J. D. Zeik

Action Choreographer:

Philip Kwok


From Poker Industries.



Video Signal:


Michelle Yeoh and Peter Pau have clearly set out to make a "Hollywood film." Unfortunately, they have succeeded. Though beautifully shot, as expected as Mr. Pau acts as his own Director of Photography, it is the same bland pap available at the multiplex on any weekend.

Carl (Richard Roxburgh) is a villain intent on owning the Sharira (some sort of holy residue left after the cremation) of the monk Xuang Zang. Possession or ingestion or something will apparently raise Carl up to super villain status. The first step is to find the Sharira and for that he needs the Heart of Dun Huang which he has Eric (Ben Chaplin) steal for him. The Heart was concealed in a secret compartment of the box Eric brought to Carl so Eric did not knows its contents until delivery. On finding it is the Heart, Eric promptly steals it back and gives it to his ex-girlfriend Yin. Yin is a circus performer from a long line of acrobats. They have a scroll that details how they helped the monks conceal Xuang Zang's Sharira way back when. Carl evidently knows about the ancient acrobats and when Yin's little brother Tong takes off with his girl friend, the Heart and the scroll, Carl follows as do Eric and Yin.

There are no surprises in this movie. It's OK if a film follows a formula if it does it well. The Touch adds nothing. Courtiaud and Carbon also wrote Running Out of Time which is funny and tense and has characters yet when one of the goodies in The Touch is killed, it has as little impact as when Carl's minions are offed and the dead character's friends seem to give it much the same thought. This could have been a great tear jerky moment but if the characters aren't emotionally invested why should we be?

OK, it is a Michelle Yeoh movie, what about action? The film opens with Yin and Tong's act which should display the acrobatics they will later require to fetch the Sharira. The act seems to consist of floating around on wire harnesses in black light engaging in stylized combat with a couple token flips thrown in. Unless they can bring their wires, it won't help in the climactic action piece. There is a nice unwired fight sequence when Carl's goons come to fetch back Eric, Yin and the Heart. They are only successful in retrieving Eric and the fight continues as Yin goes to get Eric back. Philip Kwok's choreography makes Chaplin believably tough. I believe, this is where her magic scarf is introduced. The filmy magic scarves appear weighted on the ends so they can be thrown and wrap themselves around items such as limbs and rocks. They are also strong enough to support the weight of at two men. The finale action sequence has Yin and Tong swinging around on their magic scarves over burning oil while beset by flaming arrows and thugs who, better prepared, do have wires. It is eye candy but unconvincing.

Carl's dopey cousin Bob (Dane Cook) briefly provides a much needed dose of humor. Richard Roxburgh was convincingly evil and had the best lines. Ben Chaplin and Michelle Yeoh just didn't click.

Truthfully, the film isn't as bad as I'm making it sound but there is nothing outstandingly good about it, either. The cinematography is nice in a touristy way but not worth the expense of the film. There's no need to touch your wallet for The Touch; wait for it to show up some Saturday night on the Sci-Fi Channel.


Thumbnail of Yin (Michelle Yeoh Choo Kheng) and her magic scarf in The Touch (2002).

Yin (Michelle Yeoh Choo Kheng) and her magic scarf (~28K)

Thumbnail of Carl (Richard Roxburgh) and Eric (Ben Chaplin) The Touch (2002).

Carl (Richard Roxburgh) and Eric (Ben Chaplin) (~19K)

Thumbnail of Yin (Michelle Yeoh Choo Kheng) swinging around in The Touch (2002).

Yin (Michelle Yeoh Choo Kheng) swinging around (~41)

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