Wild Search: Hong Kong’s Answer to the Witness(Allegedly)

Year:1989
Directed by Ringo Lam
Produced by Ringo Lam
Written by Nam Yin
Starring Chow Yun-fat, Cherie Chung, Roy Cheung, Tommy Wong, Elaine Jin, Paul Chun and Ku Feng

 

A cop must defend the life of a young girl whose mother is a suspect killed in a shootout and the young girl’s aunt. Mew-Mew, the cop, and the aunt Cher find themselves slowly attracted to each other but personal issues and the triad stand in the way of their happiness.

Wild Search is a bit of a forgotten film starring Chow Yun-fat. In many ways that make sense, Wild Search isn’t the type of film we would think to associate with him. At least here in the West. For one, Chow Yun-fat’s character Mew-Mew(the character’s real name is Lau Chung-pong) isn’t the gun toting ”superman” from his heroic bloodshed films with superhuman laser point accuracy. If you’re looking for that kind of over the top action, you won’t find it in Wild Search. Wild Search is a different type of film; it’s a human drama front and center. While that may make Wild Search a slower story, it does allow Wild Search to tell a very emotional story. Wild Search’s action is kept in more realistic proportions without the over the top antics of the shootouts of the ”heroic bloodshed” sub-genre. People fight in ways; you would expect them to do in real life without any of the  absurd and excessive bravado. The heroes and the villains alike stick to the principle. When they’re hurt, the damage is permanent, so it affects them throughout the story. Much of Chow’s fanbase in the west is in awe of his charisma, so they expect him to be a super ”badass” at all times. But this would be a disservice to his acting abilities. In fact, Mr. Chow made his popularity with the Chinese audiences by acting in melodramas. The drama is basically about Mew-Mew and his love interest Cher becoming surrogate parents to Ka-Ka while Mew-Mew and Cher slowly fall in love; Ka-Ka is Cher’s niece who loses the only parent that cares about her. Romance in Wild Search mirrors the action of this film; it’s kept within realistic boundaries. It doesn’t exceed the limits of realism to tell an overblown love story, the romance flows slowly and naturally, but most of all it is kept in a subtle manner. It does help that both actors have great chemistry, something helped by the fact that both actors were love interests for each other in other films as well. The best example for this being the award-winning film An Autumn’s Tale. Wild Search may move at a slower pace, but that slower pace almost endears the film to closer to a ”slice of life”. Even, the lead villain isn’t finished in an epic standoff out but rather let’s just say rather in a more unflattering way. The personal problems of the heroes trouble them as much as any external threat. The climax of Wild Search lacks the body count to be a great spectacle but is none the less a riveting one.

Wild Search is a human drama that portrays the human side of being a cop well. It isn’t marred by the crazy conventions of ”heroic bloodshed” like many cop dramas at the time makes it story a little less than believable.

PS: In some versions, ”Mew Mew” may be called ”Mau Mau”.

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