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Thomas Weissman, who wrote a supposedly major text on Asian cinema (which unfortunately probably blocked publication of better texts for some time) pee-ed off a lot of fans of Hong Kong cinema. One of the reasons is that he knows dam' well the difference between a good movie and a good "genre" film, but, instead of developing this difference critically, he prefers to smudge it, and thus frequently leaves readers with misconceptions.
Weissman's review of this film promised a real avant-garde transgression of time and space, of pulp and serious narrative. I'm afraid that's not what's happening here.
For one thing, we get no closer to any of this characters than we do in any other Hong Kong genre film. That's important; to make real transgressions of time, space, genre, etc., we need to see what's going on from a particular point of view. (If one doesn't care for "The Singing Detective" - and I don't - then refer to "Slaughterhouse Five".) Since this is really an "action-comedy". it can't do that. Instead, it scrambles its plot around from several different points of view; but the heart of the narrative remains action, not 'perspective'.
Well, is it a good action comedy? yeah, I enjoyed it, I'll probably watch it again. IS it the super-duper-transgressive New-wave make or break film that Weissman and a few others have touted it as? Nope. For that see Wong Kar Wai's "Ashes of Time".
But not every film has to be really really serious or 'great'. This is a fun film, with some weird displacements of time and space, just to make it interesting. Enjoy it as such.
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