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Formosa Betrayed

  • Film
  • 2 out of 5 stars
MARRIED TO THE MOB Van Der Beek tries to blend in with the angry crowd.
MARRIED TO THE MOB Van Der Beek tries to blend in with the angry crowd.

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Neither China nor the United States recognizes Formosa (better known as Taiwan) as a sovereign nation, a knotty issue that gets hammered over our heads in this otherwise unpretentious political thriller. After a Taiwanese-American professor and democracy advocate is murdered in early-’80s Chicago, earnest FBI agent Jake Kelly (Van Der Beek) is assigned to follow the killers to Taipei. He’s only allowed to observe and report on the local investigation; overstepping his jurisdiction anyway—hey, he’s an idealistic hero!—Kelly becomes entangled in a conspiracy that links the baddies to Taiwanese law enforcers, and the Chinese government. Come to think of it, even his American attach (Crewson) seems a bit duplicitous.

Allegedly inspired by true events and coconceived by actor Will Tiao (unconvincing in a way-too-meaty role), director Adam Kane’s modestly budgeted production adheres to a common-sense approach that emphasizes exposition over explosions. But all the heartfelt references to the 228 Massacre and the White Terror don’t make this any more thrilling than a Wikipedia entry. The dialogue is blandly speechified and the film’s pro-Taiwan agenda seems to have taken precedence over our enjoyment: No, please, cut away to another photo of Nixon shaking Mao’s hand.—Aaron Hillis

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