Expect The Unexpected 非常突然 (1998) Review

Patrick Yau’s follow-up to The Longest Nite <暗花>, which released only a few months apart sees the director incorporating the familiar Hong Kong cop-drama tropes with Milkyway’s house-style pessimistic undertones in Expect The Unexpected <非常突然>.

The story centres on a team from the “O” department a.k.a. OCTB (Organised Crime and Triad Bureau) led by Ken (Simon Yam) and his fellow colleagues including Sam (Lau Ching-Wan), Ben (Hui Siu-Hung), Macy (Ruby Wong) and Jimmy (Raymond Wong Ho-Yin).

While they are on separate cases investigating a trio of Mainlander robbers (one of them played by Lam Suet) and a gang of ruthless criminals (among them are Lester Chan Chit-Man and Cheung Wing-Cheung), both Ken and Sam sharing the same affection with their key witness, Mandy (Yoyo Mung, in one of her earlier roles).

The genre mishmash between a cop thriller and a soap opera-style of romance, comedy and melodrama is nothing new in a Hong Kong film. But credits should be given to Patrick Yau (with Johnnie To reportedly ghost-directed the movie as well) for blending decent, albeit a patchy mix of lightweight dramedy and romance with unexpectedly violent moments.

But it was the latter that matters the most, with Patrick Yau executed the title of the film both literally and figuratively. Beneath all the soap opera moments, Yau along with his trio of screenwriters — Szeto Kam-Yuen, Yau Nai-Hoi and Taures Chow — clearly wanted to highlight the professional life of being a cop in such a tough division like the “O” department can be unpredictable when comes to the matter of life and death. This means in Expect The Unexpected <非常突然>, anything can happen and it is evidently seen during the downbeat ending — easily the highlight and most talked-about scene in the movie.

Cast-wise, both Simon Yam and Lau Ching-Wan are game enough in their respective cop roles, oozing charisma and dramatic urgency with relative ease. The rest of the cast delivers equally solid supports, notably then-relative newcomer Yoyo Mung as well as Milkyway regulars including Ruby Wong, Hui Siu-Hung and Lam Suet.



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