Image from Hidden Man 2018

Premeditated revenge drives the plot of Director Jiang Wen’s action comedy Hidden Man [2018], acting as the Chinese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 91st Academy Awards. This is the third installment in his action-packed film trilogy and based on the novel Xia Yin by author Zhang Beihai. Hidden Man chronicles the elaborate scheme that Li Tianran (Eddie Peng) has concocted to exact deadly revenge on the people who were responsible for the death of his family 15 years ago. Little does he know, the perpetrators are just as prepared for him, as he is for them.

Light on Your Feet: The martial arts stunt work and choreographed hand-to-hand combat featured in the film is impressive while providing surprising thrills to the audience. The slow-burning moments of dialogue and shifting character perspectives counteract the high-intensity sequences of sheer chaos. While in the same vein of gratuitous violence as a Tarantino film, Hidden Man relishes in the cultural significance of its fight scenes and makes for a pulse-racing experience watching the opposing main characters brawl to settle a score over a decade old.

Down for the Count: In addition to the impressive stunt work, Hidden Man offers a picturesque view of 1930s Bejiing, China abandoning the age of imperialism and embracing new American ideals. Li also gets a new confidant in the form of a seamstress named Lan Lan (Meng Li). While he may be in a covert spy operation, the bond that he forges with her plays a pivotal role in the story and later reveals a twist that adds a new dimension to this already-multifaceted narrative.

Hidden Man is crafted with a steady dramatic pace and garnished with intense action sequences that culminate to the ultimate final showdown.

Hidden Man is featured on Borrowing Tape's Best Films of 2018 list.