This review has been ‘repurposed’ from my other site, theOneliner.com
Now, the concept behind Triangle is interesting, if nothing else. Three of the top Hong Kong directors essentially decide to divvy a film into three parts, and working almost in isolation from each other play pass the baton to each other. Sounds, well, it sounds like a disaster in the making, to be frank, so it’s something of a triumph to find out that the film isn’t a total disaster, although there’s a few partial disasters knocking around in there.
Veteran director Tsui Hark takes the first stretch, handling the establishing of the story and character. Perhaps an odd choice, as he’s really more noted for his action scenes rather than sensitive handling of character development and it kinda shows. There’s more than a whiff of Hark throwing absolutely everything at the wall here, perhaps in a bid to give those who follow him an opportunity to pick the bits that they think stick best. As it stands, there’s too many characters, too many plot strands and too little exposition, presenting a fairly baffling first third that I imagine many people will simply not bother to get through.
This is a pity, as it does get rather more comprehensible and, dare I say it, a lot better as soon as Ringo Lam takes the reins, paring down the story of the three friends’ decision to pull off an audacious heist of a valuable antiquity and the immediate aftermath, including the local crime lords sticking their oar in. It’s left to relative newcomer Johnny To to round things off and tie everything together in a bodybag, with limited degrees of success.
It’s a helluva long way from perfect. It never entirely recovers from an opening third that’s pulled every which way from Sunday, and perhaps surprisingly there’s very little shift in tone between the different director’s segments. Indeed, the only real clue that there’s been a handover at all is that there’s a sudden shift in the story’s focus. The final few reels suffer from a fairly heavy dose of silly coincidence and standoffs that border on farcical, and while the combination of the lot manages to avoid being completely unwatchable it’s ultimately entirely forgettable, and indeed I pretty much already have forgotten it entirely.
It’s well below the quality of film I’d expect to see from any one of these directors, and while it’s an interesting concept for a film, like your average concept car it’s also not one that’s really fit for production. If you aren’t already a fan, to some degree, of these directors already then this simply isn’t worth your time, and to be honest even if you do like these chaps’ output this doesn’t raise itself to anything more than a curiosity piece. Maybe they’re right about those broth cooks after all.