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Film / The Blacksheep Affair

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Vincent Zhao, before his audition on becoming the next Jet Li.

Also known as Another Meltdown.

The Blacksheep Affair is a 1998 action movie starring Vincent Zhao (then being groomed by the studios to become a suitable replacement for Jet Li, since Li is making his move to Hollywood for Lethal Weapon 4), Shu Qi, and directed by Dante Lam.

Yim-Dong (Zhao), a Special Agent and Military Officer from China, is demoted of his duties for acting like a hothead in a hijacking rescue attempt and reassigned to the fictional European nation of Lavernia. Upon his arrival, Yim reunites with his ex-girlfriend and old flame Chan Pun (Shu Qi) and his best friend and former comrade, Hung, but on the way stumbles into a public assassination commited by terrorist mastermind and cult leader Keizo Mishima, who intends to take over Lavernia and wipe out populations of the country in a misguided attempt to prove himself as the ultimate disciple of Christ.

While a success on its release, and making Vincent Zhao a popular celebrity in the late 90s (together with his role as Wong Fei-Hung in the Once Upon a Time in China sequels, where Zhao is The Other Darrin), however Zhao's career would only take a downturn with his next movie, the Star-Derailing Role in the exploitative and tasteless Body Weapon which ends up condemning him into television drama roles and low-budget films until True Legend (2010). note  So much for becoming the next Jet Li! Still, Vincent Zhao delivers asskickings by the plenty and is undeniably charismatic and extremely watchable in the whatever few movie roles he had taken.

This film contains examples of:

  • Amicable Exes: The relationship between Yim and Chan. They could have rekindled their relationship somehow, but Chan gets killed before anything else can develop between them.
  • Baby Carriage: Right after driving out of the airport, Yim had to swerve sharply to dodge a baby carriage and the woman pushing it.
  • Badass Longcoat: Keizo Mishima wears his black trench coat in every scene he’s in.
  • Big Bad: Keizo Mishima, Japanese dictator turned Apocalypse Cult and terrorist.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Uncle Lone turns out to be the terrorists’ informant and helps them in the final hostile takeover of the embassy.
  • Bomb-Throwing Anarchists: Keizo’s organization of terrorists whom are dedicated to "wipe out all non-believers". One scene had his minions triggering bombs in public, blowing up buildings en masse to establish their dominance.
  • Car Bomb: The terrorists attempt to kill Yim and the ambassador with this, but fails.
  • Chained Heat: During the terrorist assault on the van containing Keizo, Yim is unfortunately handcuffed to Keizo, and had to take on terrorists while dragging Keizo behind.
  • Chase Fight: What Yim taking on Keizo after the assassination ends up being, through a subway and a train tunnel.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Between Yim and Chan. But they broke up anyway when Yim decides his duty to the country is more important.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: Keizo Mishima’s first scene had him and his henchmen killing a European ambassador and all the ambassador’s bodyguards, by stabbing them silently or slashing their throats, while a public rally is going on. Nobody except Yim noticed what they are doing, and the scene is too noisy for anybody else to hear the ambassador’s men calling for help before getting killed.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: A rather sinister version with Big Bad Keizo, who believes himself to be a messenger of Christ and is assigned to exterminate all "non-believers". To hammer the point in even further, one scene depicting Keizo in prison had him using his handcuffs to carve a portrait of Jesus on a crucifix on the wall behind him!
  • Deadly Dodging: During the chase between the terrorists and the van Yim and Hung are on, a terrorist tries firing a rocket launcher at the front of the van (whose windshields are smashed), while another enemy vehicle is pursuing them from behind. Thinking quickly, Yim decides to kick open the van’s back doors, allowing the rocket to go through the van’s windows, through the back, and instead blow up the pursuing vehicle.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Well, because she died. But even before their final scene, its established quite well in the movie that Yim would not accept Chan because of his duties and responsibilities and her defection would make him refuse her anyways.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: Die Hard in the Chinese embassy of Lavernia.
  • Drives Like Crazy: Hung commandeering the transport van containing Keizo in the chase scene mid-movie.
  • Duel to the Death: Yim vs. Keizo in the finale.
  • Fake-Out Make-Out: During the Chinese diplomat’s assassination, the assassins (a man and a woman), both wearing long coats, appears to be kissing each other… only to reveal that the woman had machine-guns in her coat, and they are waiting for the perfect time to whip out their weapons and fire away.
  • Fish out of Water: Yim, Chinese military agent in Lavernia.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Keizo fighting off mobsters while in a public bath. Every combatant in this scene is wearing a Modesty Towel, except for that one especially demented mobster who is trying to deliver an anal rape on Keizo.
  • Hanging by the Fingers: The rooftop fight between Yim and the terrorists briefly had this happening to Yim, with a terrorist clinging to Yim’s leg trying to make him fall in a Taking You with Me move. Yim manage to make his opponent fall to his death before climbing back up.
  • Hellish Copter: One sent by the Lavernian military to just shoot up the whole place from a higher level, which intervenes the final battle between Yim and Keizo and riddles Chan with bullets. Yim eventually shoots it down with a discarded machine gun.
  • Hold the Line:
    • The other bodyguards besides Yim did a pretty good job holding off terrorists when their vehicle chase ends up on a bridge, allowing Yim to drag Keizo to the embassy while they valiantly fend off attacking terrorists.
    • While Yim is busy fighting Keizo in the climax, Hung on the other hand holds off Keizo’s mooks. And did a pretty good job taking names too.
  • Hostage Situation: What the final embassy confrontation develops into, with the embassey’s staff, and Yim’s girlfriend Chan, becoming hostages to the terrorists.
  • I Have Your Wife: In addition to dealing with an out-of-control hostage situation in the embassy finale, Yim had to bail out Chan who had been kidnapped by Keizo’s goons.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Everyone in the film. Especially the scene where Hung drops into the embassy in the finale, Mission Impossible-style while firing his machine gun on full-auto, killing several terrorists but somehow missing all the hostages.
  • Janitor Impersonation Infiltration: In the opening airplane hijack scene, Yim and a colleague tries to infiltrate the plane by disguising themselves as maintenance workers.
  • Karmic Death: ** Uncle Lone, the traitor responsible for allowing the terrorists to take over the embassy, tries to intimidate Chan by groping at her face, and attempts to kill Yim by picking up a discarded machine-gun. He ends up getting stabbed repeatedly by Chan who’s ultimately forced to kill him.
  • The Lancer: Hung Wai-Kwok, Yim’s best friend and only contact in Lavernia.
  • Man on Fire: An unfortunate bodyguard becomes set alight during the ambassador’s assassination scene after the car bomb.
  • Match Cut: Yim, watching a little girl frolicking around with her parents while waiting for their train, with the next scene being a Happy Flashback of a matching scene where Chan, his childhood friend, dancing around at a beach.
  • Messianic Archetype: The Big Bad Keizo, who believes himself to be a messenger of God, purposely tries to invoke this upon himself constantly in the film. Like after the public bathhouse fight, where he stood naked in the water while his arms spread apart in a Christ-like pose. Not to mention him having long hair, a beard and moustache…
  • Mêlée à Trois: The final battle is initially between Yim and the bodyguards against Keizo and his terrorist army, but things becomes complicated when the corrupt Lavernian military interferes and decides to shoot up the whole place, including sending a helicopter into battle.
  • "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop: Hung bursts into the embassy in the climax during the Mexican Standoff between Yim and the terrorists using this method, putting on a huge Big Damn Heroes moment as he quickly assists Yim by killing loads of nearby terrorists.
  • Mobstacle Course: Chan trying to navigate her way through the streets of Lavernia while a massive public protest is going on. It doesn’t work, and she had to eventually hide in a nearby building (Apparently empty) and wait until nightfall for the crowd to disperse.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Keizo, a cult leader and terrorist mastermind who believes that he has been sent by god to wipe out all non-believers.
  • Powder Keg Crowd: The civilians of Lavernia. After a montage of bombs being triggered by Keizo’s minions, we cut to a whole wave of Lavernian civilians protesting in the streets, attacking police officers, burning vehicles, and trying to abduct Chan, who is just trying to get away from the chaos.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: One takes place between Keizo and a bunch of European mobsters in a Turkish-style bath, where the mobsters, having a beef with Keizo, tries to put him through Water Torture while one of the mobsters pulls down his towel and try to sodomize Keizo for the fun of it. Keizo instead does a back kick on the mobster’s naked crotch ( OUCH!!! ) and delivers a Curb-Stomp Battle on all his opponents.
  • Put Down Your Gun and Step Away: The Mexican Standoff between Yim, who had Keizo as his hostage, and the terrorists, who had the embassy’s staff as their hostages, quickly turns into this. When the terrorist kills a hostage to intimidate Yim, Yim responds by quickly killing a nearby terrorist before turning his gun back to Keizo, faster than any of them can respond.
  • Railroad Tracks of Doom: Yin vs. Keizo on the subway tracks inevitably had both of them nearly flattened by an incoming train, where they had to push themselves against the walls of the tunnel as an incoming train thunders past – while still punching at each other. The fight quickly culminates into Keizo clinging to the back of the train as it passes, and Yim clinging to Keizo’s leg.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Well, to Lithuania – I mean Lavernia. It turns out to be a Reassignment Backfire since Yim ends up involved in stopping dictator and death cult leader Keizo Mishima.
  • Roofhopping: Yim against a legion of terrorists on the embassy’s rooftop, where he jumps from one roof to another to take on terrorists on adjacent buildings.
  • Ruritania: Lavernia is a rather blatant stand-in for Lithuania.
  • Sniping the Cockpit: Yim takes down an attacking military helicopter in the ending battle by aiming for its pilot, causing it to steer out of control and crash.
  • Starter Villain: The bald hijacker in the opening fight, who survives getting shot by Yim thanks to his Bulletproof Vest and get into a lengthy and brutal fight with Yim, but didn’t serve any purpose in the story besides getting Dong demoted for being a loose cannon and sent to Lavernia by his superiors.
  • Sword Fight: The finale between Yim and Keizo, where both combatants get their hands on sabers and start slashing each other apart. It was however interrupted when a military helicopter blindly fires towards their direction, badly injuring both combatants and forcing them to take cover without their swords.
  • Symbolic Baptism: Keizo often believes himself to be an incarnation of Jesus, and commits sins in the name of Christ. His demise, a fatal kick to the neck from Yim before falling a couple of storey down through a glass window and into an underground pool, seems quite reminiscent of baptism.
  • Take It to the Bridge: The vehicle chase eventually ends on a bridge, where there are terrorists hiding in the surrounding vegetation waiting to rain bullets on Yim, Hung and their crew.