Prior to release of this low-budget quickie, Danny Pang's SEVEN 2 ONE receives some unwanted buzz which are all in negative light -- the producers has claimed that Herman Yau's similarly-themed SPLIT SECOND MURDERS ripped off their movie's ending (which coincidentally also starred the same six young cast for both movies). Another controversy comes from the movie's poster itself, which is a direct rip-off from the 2008 Hollywood thriller VANTAGE POINT. However, none of these negative publicity is really matters since this low-budget quickie is actually a surprisingly good thriller that is both slick and entertaining.
The title is of course, refers to its seven separate stories and how they eventually come together into a single event: a convenience store robbery. Told in the RASHOMON-like style, the movie quickly kicks into high gear to the robbery scene, where a masked thief demands to empty the cash from the cashier, Chrissie (Chrissie Chau) before getting into a fight with a loan shark, William (William Chan). As the cashier and two female customers, Carolyn and Wylie (Carolyn Chan and Wylie Chiu) looks on, the loan shark is stabbed from the back and the thief escapes. Then outside the store, a cop named James (James Ho) arrives in a van with a perpetrator, Gary (Gary Ho) at the nick of time, as well as other unidentified characters rounding up the particular event. The movie clocks back in time before the event of the robbery as each flashbacks tell a story. In the beginning of the story, Yung Yung (Stephanie Cheng) is dating William, her first proper romance with a guy after a lengthy experience being a lesbian. But her former fiery lover, Wylie is very upset with the break-up and demands to meet William face-to-face for clarification. The second story centers on Ling (Elanne Kwong), a beer promoter who is fed up with her useless boyfriend Pak Ho (Pak Ho Chau) for his compulsive addiction towards football gamble. Pak Ho's gambling debts has grown extensively from time to time, which leaves Ling no choice but to decide of becoming a prostitute in order to pay off his debts. However, Pak Ho doesn't want to rely entirely on her goodwill and decides to rob a convenience store to prove to her that he can solve problem on his own, except for all the wrong reason. Other stories are included the one involving Katy (Katy Kung) and Chrissie who work together in a convenience store. They have grown tired with their pathetic dead-end job, and they are especially angry when the perverted store owner, Leo (Leo Chim) has harassed them sexually. So the ladies plan to fake a robbery as an act of revenge by their boyfriends, Zheng Xi (Izz Tsu) and Xiao Fei (Siu Fay).
No doubt that this kind of multiple stories always interesting to watch for, with Danny Pang and Pang Pak-Sing's screenplay sparks some novelties at the subsequent flow of the plot, though it's also natural that the story tends to get convoluted and requires a suspension of disbelief to enjoy this kind of genre. Not to forget as well, is a surprisingly effective performances from the young cast that made up more than just their pretty looks. On the plus side, Danny Pang's direction is both efficient, quirky and dramatic enough that keeps us glued to the screen while anticipating what happens next.
That is of course, until the ending almost ruined the entire promising experience came earlier on. Once the credits roll, the movie provides an alternate "what if" scenario, showing the viewers how things might have turned out nicely if the characters has thought something rational to solve their problems. Instead of a surprise delight of sorts to inject some morality values, the particular scenario feels forced and wholly unnecessary. It's also notable that this is the same gimmick used in SPLIT SECOND MURDERS.
But most of all, this movie remains a turning point for the young casts here who breathe exceptional life into their mostly unlikable characters (lesbian, pervert, loan shark, gambler, etc.) that they are no doubt a next generation of promising talent to watch out for in the future.