Nov 10, 2009|
Loves: Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie To
Hates: Johnnie To, Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark
Three directors working on a film is rare, but three directors working on a single narrative? That’s as common as three critics writing the same film review.
They don’t announce the transition from one director’s segment to the next, but each style is evident to any fan of local cinema – Tsui Hark’s rapid-fire editing and cinema verite handheld work, Ringo Lam’s slow burn suspense and potboiler noir, and Johnnie To’s bizarre blend of baroque set pieces and molasses-black humor. The first third is a masterpiece in style and cinematic tension, as three lowlife friends plan the heist of a lifetime, breaking into the Legco building to retrieve a hidden chest of ancient treasure. Pavan Shamdasani
Suddenly, it dawned on me just how artless an art film this really was. It wasn’t really a film, but a bunch of big shots with too much money and time on their hands having a laugh at the audience’s expense. As for the actors, they floundered around like characters in one of those self-referential modernist plays where the playwright/director’s supposed to be dead. Louis Koo is hopeless when unable to prance around like his usual pretty boy self (he’s a taxi driver here), desperately cribbing his hand gestures and body language from Johnny Depp in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” John Robertson
The last segment of the film was one of the most deliciously delirious pieces of Hong Kong action cinema I’ve ever seen. Gordon Lam enters as a deranged and dangerous car mechanic who rivals Billy Bob Thornton’s character in “U-Turn.” The final climactic showdown involves a madcap trade-off of money, drugs, guns and women’s underwear that will leave your head spinning until you’re out of the cinema. At the risk of a little spoiler here, it’s also satisfying to see a good old-fashioned film where everybody gets what they goddamn deserve. Justice is blind. Justice Lai