The gunplay here isn't used by To to wax about the wrong or rightfulness of violence, as this is an eastern film, thus its culture is different. Here, picking a side in a gunfight (or a playground) shows brotherhood, honor, and loyalty as a form of a relationship. The action-ballet shows it's still a macho fantasy, but it's like growing up. We all die alone, but exist in the heart of others as do they with us.
nice wuxia-meets-western-meets-neo noir film, with the slow-motions that are so characteristically part of the 2000s in Hong-Kong (see for example WKW's In the Mood for Love, also from the 00s, where the slow-mo is adapted, this time to create a sense of nostalgia-melancholic-romantic feeling). EXILED also possesses a wonderful sense of humor, with great "comic bits" that come from nowhere. (e.g. 1st scene)
Proof positive that the Mexican Standoff doesn't necessarily belong to Mexico, Italy, or the American West. The film begins with a bang, but seems to lose steam about halfway through (probably because the added sentimentality doesn't jive well with the tone established by everything else). The excellent camerawork and commitment to style, though, makes this a keeper.
I'm generally not a gangster film type of guy, which is odd since I'm terribly violent in real life. But 'Exiled' does what Seijun Suzuki did with gangster flicks back in the 60's, taking an ordinary gangster plot and creating intrigue through aesthetics. And the camaraderie of the 'five' was so natural, that very little was needed in terms of backstory to congeal their friendship.
bizarre, uneven and surprisingly personal entry into to's prolific portfolio. opting for a more bombastic style than usual, he renders some of the action nearly illegible. i prefer to's direction when he's pulling less from the language of the spaghetti western, and more from "the godfather." still, there's a truly iconic anthony wong performance, and the friendship at the heart of the story feels 100% organic.