Action Movie Fanatix Review: The Touch

Unlock The Legend

Starring: Michelle Yeoh, Brandon Chang, Ben Chaplin, Richard Roxburgh, Dane Cook

Director: Peter Pau

2002  |  84 Minutes  |  PG-13

“Noise.  Police.  China.  No.” – Karl

The Touch is something of a martial arts-action-adventure-comedy.  An odd combination that tells me that the director probably didn’t have a firm grasp on what all he wanted to do with the film.

Circus acrobat Yin Fei’s (Michelle Yeoh) father had been obsessed with finding the Sharira, an ancient Buddhist artifact which can be used for good or for great evil.  Yin’s former boyfriend, Eric (Ben Chaplin), shows up one day having stolen a pendant from Karl (Richard Roxburgh) which is the key to finding the Sharira.  Yin’s family had secretly been trained in a specific acrobatic technique which would allow them to get to the Sharira.  Karl kidnaps Tong (Brandon Chang), Yin’s brother, to obtain the pendant and find the Sharira.  Yin Fei and Eric have to race across a desert to save her brother and to keep the Sharira out of Karl’s hands.

There really isn’t enough adventuring to call this a true Indiana Jones style adventure movie.  There is some great scenery throughout China and all but only a couple short scenes in temples and deserts.

Michelle Yeoh is a natural with the martial arts but she is only allowed maybe two decent fights.  They are far too short and are accompanied by some horrible slapping and whooshing sound effects.  Overall a pretty pathetic attempt to incorporate martial arts into this half hearted attempt at an action-adventure.

The action and adventure aren’t the only things lacking from this action-adventure.  The characters and story are bland as can be.  I never felt for one moment that Karl was going to destroy the world as we know it.  He might kill a couple people to get richer but that really isn’t enough for this type of movie.  Yin and Eric have a boring relationship that I couldn’t care less about.  And really I never cared whether they found the magic pile of glowing green kryptonite turds that they call a Sharira.

We are told that this artifact has some great consequences should it wind up in the wrong hands.  So does the movie give us a glimpse of just how bad it could be if Karl were to get his grubby hands on the Sharira?  Nope.  Not a thing.  No flash forward.  No flash back to past greedy bastards who have gotten their grubby hands on it.  Nothing.

The final scene should have been a pretty fantastic spectacle.  It was hindered by poor effect and even poorer direction.  It should have been a great action blowoff featuring some awesome martial arts and acrobatics in a fiery cave/temple thingy.  Instead we get a bunch of crappy CGI, poorly shot fights and an extremely anti-climactic ending.

The Touch had a little potential at the start but squandered it quickly.  It failed on all fronts.  The action, adventure, martial arts and comedy all under achieved.  There just isn’t much left to actually watch The Touch for.