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Reviews & Ratings for
Time and Tide More at IMDbPro »Shun liu ni liu (original title)

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23 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

Unusually witty and superbly crafted actioner

Author: moribana from Los Angeles
9 May 2001

Having read some reviews that called this film "out of control" and "messily plotted", I was expecting some John Woo style craziness with giant plot holes and inconsistencies, which was nonetheless fun-to-watch.

Well it was fun-to-watch, but for different reasons. Time and Tide actually has a very well crafted story full of great characters and sharp dialogue. It is not at all mindless action. The mood of much of the film is quite droll, very noirish. And the action scenes thrill with creativity and intelligence rather than mayhem and body count.

It is filmed in a wild avant-garde style. Indeed the story is TOLD in a very novel visual style that requires great attention to detail to pick up. Its as if Tsui Hark considered how every scene would be typically and familiarily shot, then conveys what happens in a totally unexpected way. Hong Kong filmakers are great experimenters with perspective. Often, for example, you will only get a hint of what happened and the film moves off in an unexpected direction, only to return and more fully tell you what happened earlier. No block building here, one must jump in and and go with the flow.

The film makes no pretentions to day to day realities, and there are some ludicrous scenes paying homage to imagination run riot, but I think these add to the fun, especially since they are delivered with typical Tsui Hark absurd charm.

I originally gave this film a 9/10, and the more I consider it, the more I like it. In fact I'm going for a second viewing tonight. It's shaping up to be one of my favorite Hong Kong actioners.

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18 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Thoughtful and Great action - one of Hark's best

Author: genrebusters from United States
9 August 2005

Watching Time and Tide is akin to being in a taxicab with a driver, who knows what his final destination is but has no idea how to get there, drives around really fast and somehow makes it to the end--this is not to be said as an insult, but a testament to his skill. Hark works with energy and a sense of recklessness and brevity. He only shows what needs to be shown for the smallest amount of time needed to register with the viewer so that even the dramatic scenes have a kinetic energy.

I would try to give a quick synopsis of the narrative, but I lack both the PH.D in Ludicrous and the necessary drugs to do so without confusion. I have only watched the film a dozen times or so and yet there are still moments where I am puzzled as to the what's and why's of the narrative. There are double crosses, triple crosses, Hispanic speaking Chinese gangs, two pregnant woman, 2 would-be assassin/bodyguards/dead-beat dads to be, a theme of brotherhood and fatherhood and the most elaborate action set piece ever devised. While the plot may be overly convoluted, the themes are strong and add an emotional realism often lacking in action films.

The words "realism" and "Tsui Hark" are not often spoken together, but in Time and Tide he creates a realistic tapestry within to work his hard-boiled action fantasy. An emotional connection between the audience and the characters on screen is what separates the lasting impressions from the fleeting memories of a good movie. Hark gives the two male leads in Time and Tide a purpose for what they are doing; the purpose may be far-fetched, but there is a rhyme for the reason, which elevates the action to an emotional level.

The theme of brotherhood spanning two sides of the law is not an uncommon one for Hong Kong cinema. However, Hark decided to also examine the new trends of young parenthood and children born out of wedlock. This issue was at the time a sort of taboo subject in Hong Kong, especially in an action oriented genre film. But what it does here is give the characters an anchor that grounds them firmly in reality. Viewers can relate to a young father who would do anything for his future children. The worry, excitement, anticipation, and fears of the main characters come into play and really do dictate how the two male leads react to the given situations.

In Tyler's case, he wants to do the right thing and support his child and Ah Jo even if only financially. He works hard to earn extra cash and sneaks to Ah Jo's house to slide the money under her door—he does this because she wants nothing more to do with him but he still feels responsible. What he doesn't know is that nine times out of ten her dog gets to the money before she arrives home and rips it to shreds. Tyler continues to do everything he can to be there for Ah Jo even taking a dangerous job to earn money for their future.

So Hark has established that both the main characters, although not model citizens, are decent human beings who want redemption from their pasts and strive for a brighter future for themselves, their children and loved ones. With this said though, do the ends justify the means? For all their good intentions to make things right, a lot of people end up getting hurt. However, this is a typical kind of spiritual redemption for Honk Kong action heroes—redemption through blood and bullets, and heroic bloodshed.

Before the action starts rolling, Hark gives his characters an anchor with which to ground themselves in reality. The sole purpose of this is so that the audience can relate on an emotional level to the characters and their plights. But, what Hark does when the water starts boiling is firmly rip the anchor away and send the two heroes through a gauntlet of flying bullets, fists, chases and the most dangerous baby delivery ever put on screen.

Imagine this: Many large apartment buildings, dozens of stories tall, all connected with a sort of center court yard and doors and hallways intertwined like an urban maze. Now imagine our heroes being chased through this labyrinth by ruthless Triad hit men stopping at nothing to see them dead. Jack and Tyler sprint though out the complex of destruction, dodging bullets and fists, repelling down the side of the buildings, jumping from awning to awning, stopping only to trade fisticuffs with rival thugs or to pick up a much needed clip of ammunition.

Hark's heroes are not interchangeable, they do not occupy a scene only to be a human punching bag ready to be whisked away at a moments notice by a wire harness. No, Hark's heroes, although put in fantastic situations, occupy a realm of emotional realism. He gives them a sense of humor, passions, personalities and most of the time an enormous amount of skill to kick ass. It is this very fact that separates a Tsui Hark film from the multitude of other well-directed action films. Time and Tide occupies a unique place in the action-cinema genre: not only does it elevate the action and aesthetic value of the genre, but it also adds an emotional depth often lacking from like-minded films.

Time and Tide works on two levels, as a dramatic film and as an action film, both benefiting from each other. The action becomes more intense because the audience cares for the film's characters, and at the same time the drama is more emotional because the audience wants the characters to succeed in their redemption. Time and Tide is not only one of Tsui Hark's best films, it is also one of the best examples of the entire action genre and should not be missed by anyone.

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12 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

"Time And Tide" Caught My Attention, And Never Let Go.

Author: Jordan-M from Sunny, Southern California
18 December 2002

The first time I saw this was on Cable TV at 2 AM. I stayed up because I had never heard of the movie before, and the summary said that Nic Tse (one of my favorite young HK actors) was the lead role. Plus, it's directed by Tsui Hark - who has done excellent work with The Legend Of Zu and other such movies. So, I felt inclined to watch. I had almost fallen asleep, but as soon as the opening credits kicked in, I was wide awake.

The following are some statements that ran through my head while watching...

"Hey, the main character isn't invincible!" "Alleyway full of grenades?! This won't be pretty." "Wow, shopping mall action! Escalators are more fun than I thought!" "Oh my GOD... Are they having a gunfight on the side of a building?" "Refrigerators: Sensible AND Safe!" "I need to go to a Cantonpop show!"

There were plenty more, you can trust me on that. Needless to say, I went out the next day and bought the DVD. I have watched Time and Tide over 10 times now, and it still hasn't gotten dull. I guess this movie just ended up being that entertaining. It gets my highest recommendation - so go out and see it. Go on, do yourself a favor and see what HK cinema is really capable of!

"Time And Tide" Caught My Attention, And Never Let Go. It Still HAS My Attention, I Think.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Guy Ritchie should be taking notes

Author: jagfx from Montreal, Quebec
25 August 2001

The effect of music videos over the past two decades on the film industry has been phenomenal. Directors such as Spike Jonze ("Being John Malcovich") & Tarsem ("The Cell") started their careers in the music video game. Soundtracks and their accompanying videos are as much part of the advertising of a movie as the trailers themselves. Most importantly, techniques used in popular music videos are often mimicked in feature films. Economy has played a large part too, and now with the popularity and relative low-cost of digital cameras and effects almost anyone can create a visually alluring piece of eye-candy.

David Fincher upped the ante of digital effects with "Fight Club". A original storyline with an even more original script, it initially received a lukewarm response before becoming a cult favourite. Mr. Fincher is an example of a director using a new medium with a combination of precise care and wonderful abandon.

And then there is Guy Ritchie. A mostly talentless hack who in "Snatch" proved that fancy camera effects and funny accents will wear themselves out if there is nothing to support it.

"Time & Tide" by Tsui Hark is both a homage to the films that helped popularize a new visual style and it raises the bar a few more (large) notches. It is by turns brilliant, relentless, and breathtaking.

"Time & Tide" follows the interweaving lives of a pregnant lesbian cop, two mercenary friends and their underworld dealings, and a pregnant surrogate woman drawn into their world. Thematically it delves into issues ranging from mafia-like loyalty to Peckinpah-esuqe themes of man entering manhood through violence. But what is most impressive in "Time & Tide" is the delicate balance of tension and release. Something that flashy directors like Guy Ritchie should be paying attention too. The last two action sequences are phenomenal and take up a good half of the movie, but with Mr. Hark's careful direction you hardly notice. The first sequence is simply unequaled, taking place in three apartment towers in the tenements of Hong Kong. The second in a train station and stadium downtown. It is in these sequences that requires characters to hold back their flaring emotions in order to survive that Mr. Hark clearly flexes his directorial muscles. In a sequence which involves a young man trapped in an apartment slowly filling with gas, its conclusion is one of the most clever bits of action in recent memory.

"Time & Tide" is the real deal. An action film that delivers from beginning to end and doesn't blow its load halfway through. It is also truly cares about its characters and valiantly tries to delve into large issues. However, it never takes itself too seriously and for any action fan this is a must.

Highly recommended. Do not pass this up.

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Great action movie

Author: AwesomeWolf from Australia
5 November 2004

Version: Cantonese, with English subtitles (by SBS).

'Time and Tide' is easily one of the best action movies I've ever seen. Nic Tse plays a regular guy trying to make money for his child, and is way out of his element as a bartender when he joins a protection service. Tse is the hero of the story, but it is Wu Bai who rules most of the action.

Despite other comments about the movie's plot, I thought it was pretty good. Simply put, we have an everyday guy just trying to help someone out, and befriends a bad guy, the action hero, who is working for similar reasons.

However, the action is where its at, and 'Time and Tide' delivers. There are some great, kinetic action scenes, including one inside/on a building, which I think is one of the best action scenes ever made.

9/10 - Great action movie, but may not appeal to fans of the genre. The awesome genre.

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

A welcome return for Tsui to the HK action genre!!

Author: kergillian ( from Montreal, Canada
23 June 2001

The new film from the man who pretty much launched the careers of Jet Li, John Woo *and* Chow Yun-Fat (pretty damn impressive resumé) and Tsui Hark returns with a vengeance. A *very* interesting and intricate film, with masterful performances by Nicholas Tse and Wu Bai.

The one major issue with this film: a very tight plot, but horrible transition. The film was all over the place, and any lax viewer will get easily lost. The explanations are few, and one really has to pay attention to grab necessary details - a difficult endeavour considering the rapid shots and fast pace.

The cinematography is really brilliant, though. Some of the shots were magnificent, and very creative, especially the scene at the apartment complex.

Here's one quick question to ask, though: who the heck was that old chinese sniper apparently working with the Angels?? Just curious, as he keeps popping up with no apparent introduction or purpose...

Anyhow, this film had me talking for days about how good it was, it's definitely worth watching. A must see for any HK action fan. If it wasn't for the sloppy transition and need for a bit of clarity, it could easily have been a perfect ten. 8/10.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

One incredibly crafted Hong Kong action movie.

Author: greendestnysword ( from Snellville, Georgia
28 November 2001

This movie is amazing, plain and simple. The most amazing action film I've ever seen, forget The Matrix, Time and Tide is absolutely stunning! Nicholas Tse is definitely some one to keep your eye on, you'll be seeing him again. If you haven't seen this movie, I strongly suggest you do. And, the tagline says it all, this isn't a Kung Fu movie, this is a 100% Pure action film. The story is great, and the action scenes will keep you pressed against the back of your chair. Amazing.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

A confusing Hong Kong action movie that works.

Author: Wilson W
12 August 2001

Most people will say I'm crazy but I actually liked this movie. I think Tsui Hark is a very clever action director. I seen his American efforts with Van Damme, even though I hated both movies i did like some of the action sequences. Like in Knock Off I really liked the last shootout and in Double Team, when Van Damme's character escaped from that island.

As for this movie Tsui Hark is really given the chance to shine and this time with better actors. I thought Nicholas Tse and Wu Bai did a great job with they're roles as did Candy Lo. I was expecting more screen time with Cathy Liu's character. The acting is pretty good for a Hong Kong action movie. In other words it seem more naturalistic than compared to many other Hong Kong movies where a lot of the time the actors overact. I really liked how the movie was shot. There was this one shot where Wu bai's character jumps from the window of a apartment building and the camera follows him as he decends. It just makes me wonder how they did that.

Now for the flaws, there are a lot of characters that just show up. The plot gets confusing at times and what could of really made this movie better was a better script. I wished they could of build of the Tse and Liu's story a lot more. It was a good attention grabber in the beginning but then it gets ignored at the end and maybe more of Tse's narration of the movie. Despites all these flaws this movie was still good because of the stylish action scenes. So basically look for the action scenes and good performances by Tse, Wu Bai, Lo, and Liu. It's a good popcorn flick to just enjoy.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

All this and brains too

Author: chase666
28 May 2001

The only thing about this movie I didn't understand was why people found it incoherent (not a single mainstream reviewer got it). It's not linear, paint-by-numbers Hollywood exposition - but there IS a definite plot and if you pay attention there's actually some very nice subtle storytelling. Surrounded of course by some very kinetic, "let's see you rip this off" action scenes. Tsui Hark is out ahead of the curve again.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Good film, some flaws...

Author: Paul M from Los Angeles, CA
4 April 2003

Tsui Hark is one of my alltime favorite directors and he handles this story with such style and effectiveness it rates right up there with The Killer as one my favorite action movies. The action sequences have to be seen to be believed with some of the most origional concepts I have ever seen employed recently.

I have never seen Nicholas Tse before in a movie, but he's a great actor and handles the top role quite well. It was great to see Anthony Wong have a supporting role. His role as Johnny Wong in Hard Boiled ranks him as one of the best villians in HK cinema.

It's interesting to note how some action concepts have come full circle. Hark used wirework with great effect and it influenced the Wachowski's when they did the Matrix. Hark borrows a page from the Wachowski's and uses bullet-time in this movie (special effects weren't that bad eitheir!)

Great dubbing too, the voice acting was top notch.

Now the flaws...their seems to be a story working here but darned if I could follow it. It seems that this story was edited so heavily that it left some glaring plot holes in order to speed up the narrative. Only the most concentrated of viewers will be able to pick this up the first time. Some parts were in Spanish w/o subtitles! In one sequence we don't know what is being said and seems to be Jack's reason for going it alone. More attention needed to be given to the subtitles for non-native speakers.

All in all, great film with some minor things getting in the way. 8/10

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