Cat and Mouse 2003 Review: The film kicks off with a humiliating scene

Zhan Zhao is a deputy to the wise Judge Bao. When Zhan heads back home for a vacation. He uncovers a plot to assassinate Bao so that a rebel group can overthrow the Emperor.

The literal translation of the title of this flick is “Mouse falls in love with Cat” and the opposing Andy vs pouty Cecilia poster gave the impression in my gullible little mind that it would deliver a romantic story struggling against the odds or conquering the impossible… something along those lines. Perhaps some action thrown in for good measure or something amusing for 1.5 hours? I didn’t think I had very high expectations.

I haven’t heard much about the ins and outs of this movie (phim hanh dong hai) other than the press trumpeting the pairing of Cecilia Cheung and Andy Lau. This didn’t exactly pique my interest for the film because considering the ‘vast’ pool of HK leading lady talents they perpetually choose from (namely: Sammi, Miriam and Cecilia). It is hardly a surprising outcome.

So when the inimitable Anthony Wong (Beast Cops, Stormriders, Just One Look) appeared I was rightly thrilled. (Incidentally, Wong has been nominated 3 times in the Best Supporting Actor category in this year’s HK film awards.)

Set in the Song dynasty, Anthony Wong plays famed judge Bao Ching Tin. In the emperor’s good books for his famed ability to solve crimes and hand out a fair judgement. Assisted impressively by his loyal right hand man Zhan Zhao (Andy Lau or Luu Duc Hoa) the infamous swordsman. They make a formidable and intimidating duo.

However, you won’t see any of their crime solving prowess here, no sirree! Cat & Mouse (Ngu Mieu) kicks off with a humiliating scene where Zhan is having trouble even drawing his sword from its scabbard before the start of his working day. Said sword is sulking and refuses to budge, Zhan cojoles, he demands and he begs.

All is not well in Judge Bao’s court it seems Bao and his team were so good at their work that crime rate in the last 2 years is at an all time low, zero in fact! The only time Zhao wields his trusty sword into action is to cut up rhino skin for an old granny. An insult to his sword and to his skills.

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