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"The Touch"

MICHELLE YEOH sets off on yet another awe-inspiring acrobatic spree in "The Touch". That apart this tale of treasure hunt has nothing new to offer. And though it boasts of mesmerising stunts, it is not a fast-moving, non-stop thriller. However, the graceful and aesthetic action choreography is a definite highlight.

"The Touch", produced by Michelle Yeoh herself, narrates the story of the Sharira relic stashed away in a remote corner by Buddhist monks hundreds of years ago.

Eric (Ben Chaplin) whom Yin (Michelle Yeoh) knew even as a child, brings an ancient medallion, which can unlock the greatest of secrets, to her. Yin and her brother Tong, who possess incredible gymnastic skills, travel around the globe as part of a circus troupe. She is drawn into the hazardous venture of finding the secret doors that the medallion could open, because of Tong, whose foolhardiness puts him in grave danger. She has to save her brother and so goes in search of him and the relic, with Eric. But there is the diabolic Karl (Richard Roxburgh) who is also after the Sharira. "The world, my friend, is divided into two categories. Those who take and those who give to those who take," he says and chases the potential booty, with Tong as his captive. His exploits and Yin's escapades lead to an action-filled, fiery (literally) climax.

The esoteric references lend a mysterious touch to the adventurous sojourn, and the sandy deserts of Dun Huang so beautifully captured by Peter Hau, the director of photography (he is also the director of the film) enhance the effect. Scenes such as Yin's horse jumping across the frightening crevice, is an action lover's delight. But don't look for plausibility here. Serendipitous situations that lead to some sentiment, a little romance and more action, are aplenty.

Yet the rest of the film does not have the verve that you would normally expect from an action flick of this kind. And as if to make up for the lack of pace, "The Touch" has Michelle's acrobatic skills, trapeze tricks and acrobats — sheer symphony, the visual kind.

MALATHI RANGARAJAN

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