While a gang war is developing in Macau between two heads of Triads, corrupt cop Sam (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai) takes on a gunman in a restaurant where bald Tony (Lau Ching-Wan) is eating. After Sam goes to another mobster’s restaurant where an informant is tortured, he finds a headless corpse in his apartment. Then a nightclub owner is murdered, and Sam moves fast to find the killer in an effort to prevent the gang war from escalating. However, he gets a full dose of action after he pins the crime on Tony. —wikipedia
Following his directorial debut with the 1980 period martial arts fantasy The Enigmatic Case, To’s career came to something of an apex in the late 1980s thanks to such memorable action films as The Big Heat and tender, personal dramas like All About Ah-Long (the latter of which landed star Chow Yun-Fat a Best Actor award at the 1990 Hong Kong Film Awards). After taking the helm for such memorable action films as The Heroic Trio and directing Stephen Chow in such films as Justice, My Foot and Mad Monk in the early ‘90s, To moved into producing with the creation of independent film company Milky Way Films, a company which yielded such popular Hong Kong action efforts as Nai-hoi Yau’s The Longest Nite and Expect the Unexpected. Though To’s production company was indeed a success, his career behind the camera was in need of some rejuvenation, an issue which he readily addressed with the release of his highly praised 1999 crime drama The Mission.
Utilizing convention as a springboard… read more
Incredibly schizophrenic film, bounces regularly from awful gags and bland shot selection to some of the best work in the Milkyway canon. Essential viewing for any fan of Johnnie To. You can not only sharpen your eye and play a fun game of what sequences are To's but bear witness to what is likely the formal birth of the To we know and love. In short, Longest Nite is the birth of a revolutionary.
It doesn't work as a cohesive whole and is occasionally confusing tonally, but this contains some of To's most astonishing expressive flourishes (the climax is the Hong Kong action version of the climax of Lady From Shanghai). This is merely a guess, but it feels as though To, free of being officially attached to the film, took more chances outside of his stylistic identity that would influence his later films.