A streetwise young man becomes a bodyguard to score quick cash. He befriends a disillusioned mercenary determined to begin life anew. They find themselves working together to foil an assassination attempt, but their partnership can't last.
Three people - a criminal, a bank officer and a cop - end up in a catastrophic situation in the midst of a global economical crisis and are forced to betray any morals and principles to solve their financial problems.
Louis Koo plays an assassin who wants to go straight after getting out of prison, so he turns down a job from his former employer Simon Yam to kill a politician. Yam carries out the hit himself and manages to frame Koo for the crime.
A cop-turned-bar owner befriends a drunken woman and finds himself pursued by her former lover and the thugs he employs. The chase turns deadly when the bar owner's deadbeat brother and a suitcase full of cash enter the picture.
Ma is kidnapped and tortured. Since then, his girlfriend Amy senses he's no longer the same person, and becomes convinced that something supernatural is corrupting his soul. Policeman Pit is determined to get to the bottom of the case.
Each director was solely responsible for one third of the film (about 30 minute long). They did not discuss their segments with each other, and each director had a different set of writers working on each segment, the most notable being Nai-Hoi Yau, Kin-Yee Au and Tin-Shing Yip, frequent scriptwriters for Johnnie To and his Milkyway Image films. All of the segments relied on the same editor, cinematographer and music for the sake of uniformity. See more »
LOVE IS LIKE A BALLOON
Performed by Xiu Qiong Pan
Composed by Yao Ming
Lyrics by Chen Di Yi
OP: EMI Music Publishing Hong Kong
Sound recording license courtesy of EMI Music Hong Kong See more »
Multiply - Not Divide - by 3
Fear not: the juicy premise of putting three masters of HK violent cinema in one movie delivers one of the most entertaining action movies of 2007.
The film is a palpable thrill-ride, with an air of unmistakable cool and sheer brassiness of style. With scarcely time to slow-down, the silly and initially confusing but heavily entertaining and ultimately straightforward plot runs through a hundred twists and turns on its way to the seat-gripping finale that is the last third of the film.
The three segments directed by Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnny To (apparently in that order, although it was not indicated in the film) are distinct in style and mannerism, but near-seamlessly integrated into a single experience. Not only did they use three directors, they also used multiple script-writers. Do not expect any section-markers here, though: it is not three stories, but one story told in three consecutively more elaborate segments which represent the vision and prowess of one director each - without, however, appearing needlessly patched-together or unfocused. So, to compare this to that other Asian 3-in-1 package, the excellent Three Extremes (with Takashi Miike, Fruit Chan and Park Chan-Wook), is to miss the point. Here we are dealing with a unitary experience, one not divisible by three.
Fans of each director will find much to comment on the stylistic differences between each section. Best known perhaps for his kung-fu productions (at least in the West), the multi-talented Tsui Hark delivers a cool, crafty ambiance in his piece. Ringo Lam, a long-line police action-drama director, likewise carries the torch with a surprisingly mellow and tactful show-of-hands. It is really the last segment of the film, under the steady hand of the miracle-worker Johnny To - the brilliant director of gems such as Election I & II and Exiled - that really puts this work in the category of must-see cinema. It would be impossible to describe just what makes the last act so good without giving something away, but suffice to say the success lies in its mixture of suspense, action and black humour in a dazzling tour-de-force. And yet, To's section makes sense only in the context of the whole; it would not be possible to appreciate the finale without going through the first and second acts. The third act is the charm, but only because the first two acts lead to it and suggest it with force and clarity. By its combination of three geniuses, the impeccable thrill of the film gets multiplied by three, making the end result something greater than the sum of its parts.
The actors are adequate and the chemistry between them works well. This is not an especially 'deep' thinking-man's movie by any stretch - character-development especially is among the real weaknesses of this movie - but for what it's worth, the characters deliver their lines and express their emotional range quite convincingly (with a few notable exceptions). The fraternal chemistry between the main characters saves much of the hapless script. But really, this film is about action, violence, crime, morality and love - the stuff of entertainment. Maybe not serious or tight enough for some, the over-the-top story proves highly entertaining as a backdrop for the stylish visual work emanating from the three great directors.
I'm willing to forgive this movie its obvious shortcomings: its unexplained plot-ends and side-tracks, its focus on action and shine over drama and substance, its use of three writers in the seemingly impossible task of writing a single storyline. Bottomline: It works! Sometimes heckling about details seems petty when what is iffy in ideation is saved in execution. Minor script is turned into a major movie.
Absolute entertainment, with a touch - or two, or three - of genius.
12 of 17 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this