Hollywood needs to learn from Hong Kong. I thought I was sick and tired of violent action movies, since that's all that Hollywood produces these days. It turns out that I'm just sick and tired of how Hollywood makes movies. This is a fresh, engaging bulletfest that's mostly free of cliches and doesn't follow the standard formula.
Johnnie To's characters live in an alternate universe where random shootings with submachine guns are commonplace and public spaces become mortuary grounds. But his films, like this one, contain an elegaic beauty amidst the mayhem, with cameras caressing faces in gentle closeup and wandering via dolly up and down the boulevards of brutality. Not a great film for those desiring acting or plot but always interesting.
The first To film to do nothing for me. The hyperactivity of the camera becomes appropriate only in retrospect, and by then Wai's script has made so many forced reversals that even the ending (out of context, one of To's most chilling) that it makes no impact. There are still delights here (esp. some of the constantly reversing cat-and-mouse chases between killers) but overall I left feeling empty for the 1st time.
A film like a literal Firework that can be seen as a celebration of the sensory capabilities of cinema. A celebrating of the numerous possibilities that arise when the surface becomes texture, the image becomes the structure of the story and the expectations become the lie. A truly rapid mixture of vulgar and controlled formalism. A film as dirty as beautiful.
Trez gimmicky and mediocre writing. Comes out like a wannabe action flick that is confused as it is corny. Not inventive nor pushing any boundaries. Perhaps mister To and mister Wai are teasing us and are trying to tell us not to take it seriously, if that's the case then good job.