A mysterious and highly skilled hitwoman in Hong Kong is paid to assassinate top-level crime bosses. After striking up a relationship with a noodle vendor, she decides to travel to South ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Chien-Lien Wu ...
Shu Li Han
...
Long Shek
Jae-seok Han
Shirley Wong
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Chi Ping Chang
Dion Cheung
Kam-bon Cheung
Jung-il Choi
Sang Woo Han ...
Yichin
Ying Hau
Han Chou Ho
Hee-tae Jeong
Ki-Ju Kim
Yeon-joo Kim
Benny Li Shuan Yan ...
Mr. Fung
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Storyline

A mysterious and highly skilled hitwoman in Hong Kong is paid to assassinate top-level crime bosses. After striking up a relationship with a noodle vendor, she decides to travel to South Korea to complete one last job. Unfortunately, the dead man's bodyguard is out for revenge. Written by Trey Evans

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Action | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence and some nudity | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

21 September 1996 (South Korea)  »

Also Known As:

A sangue freddo  »

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1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Surprisingly good action film with heart
2 September 2004 | by (Planet Earth) – See all my reviews

To paraphrase the great Sam Fuller, if an action film does not grab its audience in the first few minutes, forget it. Director Patrick Leung and screenwriter Roy Szeto certainly subscribe to that school of thought in "Sip si 32 doe," a surprisingly good action film that has some heart, too.

Of course, the plot, like in many a Hong Kong actioner, is a bit of a stretch. A Cambodian assassin with an unusually chilly body temperature doesn't remember her past, wants to break free of her manipulative aunt and find herself a normal life.

But "Sip si 32 doe" works because it's purely an action film and proves it in style. When it comes to choreographing action sequences, Hong Kong filmmakers are in a class of their own and their styles certainly have influenced Hollywood action films. It's a shame when these filmmakers are wooed by Hollywood, as John Woo, Ringo Lam and Tsui Hark were, the studios promptly rein them in and they wind up making clunkers. Either that, or these filmmakers seem to lose their edge. I'd like to believe it's the former.

Leung fills "Sip si 32 doe" with visceral moments. There's a chase through a busy street that would never have been filmed with such ruthlessness in Hollywood. The denouement is a thing of beauty. Most American action films could be this entertainingly good if only producers and directors had some imagination and guts.

Leung, a John Woo protégé, starts his film off nicely and then promptly sets the tone for his heroine as we see her go after her first mark. She's cold, calculated and, yet, charming, too. While Leung and Szeto show us details of her modus operandi - they way she quickly changes bullets to improvise or how she cautiously prepares to sleep every night, for instance - they also care deeply about this woman to let us into her life.

As chillingly lethal as the assassin is, Wu Chien-lien brings a sweet innocence to the role. This child-woman's got heart and we wind up caring about her. Her hits are carried out with heartless precision - there's an especially unsettling moment during one hit - but there's still something extremely likable about this woman. There's a wonderful scene of unadulterated joy as she photographs herself. It's Wu Chien-lieu's tremendous charm that makes us completely forget what her character does for a living.

Leung and Szeto try to offset their heroine's darker side by giving her a chance at normalcy with a noodle shop owner, Long Shek (Lau Cheng Wan). This makes for some cheesy moments in the film - Hong Kong actioners have never quite mastered the art of mixing real romance with the gunplay. The problem is that Long Shek isn't a finely defined character. He's there for just one reason and his character's not explored deeply. When Leung and Szeto try to inject some depth into Long Shek at the end, it seems thoroughly out of place. And Han Sang-Woo overplays his role as the vengeful Yichin. He's a handsome chap, but his character's way too wound up to be taken seriously.

But its flaws notwithstanding, "Sip si 32 doe," under the skilled direction of Leung, is a grand addition to the genre and proof that Hong Kong action films can have substance. It's also a heckuva lot more fun than the similarly themed "La Femme Nikita" (1990) or its American knockoff "Point of No Return" (1993).


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