When three close friends escape from Hong Kong to war-time Saigon to start a criminal's life, they all go through a harrowing experience which totally shatters their lives and their friendship forever.
Tony Chiu-Wai Leung,
Mobsters are smuggling guns into Hong Kong. The police orchestrate a raid at a teahouse where an ace detective loses his partner. Meanwhile, the two main gun smugglers are having a war over territory, and a young new gun is enlisted to wipe out informants and overcome barriers to growth. The detective, acting from inside sources, gets closer to the ring leaders and eventually must work with the inside man directly. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
When someone mentions, "action movie", the first thing that gets in their minds is guns, fighting, blood, and so on. The people who they instantly think are the likes of Schwarzenegger, Stallone, Willis, even the hammy Seagal, Snipes and Van Damme! Not until recently, I found myself confused about which action movie is the greatest. For me, the ultimate action hero is Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I cannot seem to find a perfect action movie.
Until I began checking up films of John Woo, and stumbled upon this baby...
Only a handful of action movies can compare to this, but most fail to be better. This movie IS the epitome of an action movie, it has never-ending thrill-a-minute stylish action sequences that just make your jaw drop in amazement. It has a body count that can be compared to most epic movies, and it has an excellent atmosphere to further enhance the story. The action sequences are a combination of outrageous, unreal and cool at the same time.
The story is weak, but not very. It provides the basis for the action to unfold. And boy, when it does, you'll have a blast! I mean, they took the premise of a basic cops and robbers tale and highly jazzed it up somehow to deliver this truly authentic and unique piece of movie making. This is not just a movie which action fans alone should see, this movie deserves to be sought and recognized by other highly-ranked film critics.
The director, John Woo, ups the ante on this one. After glorifying the gangsters in his "Better Tomorrow" movies and "The Killer" (which almost is as good as Hard Boiled), he decides to glorify the cops, and he does that, but with bigger elements. He doesn't show realism and humanism in this film, because he wanted to emphasize and slightly exaggerate on how big the elements can go. The criminals would kill lots of innocent people to complete their nefarious deeds, and the violence is hyper-stylized to the point where it becomes necessary to subdue the criminals using that technique. He combines unique Chinese Opera dancing techniques and dramatic shootouts to create stylistically significant and exhilarating gunfights for the eyes and ears to behold. The pace is hyper kinetic as Woo relentlessly dishes out whatever tricks he has up his sleeve, much to our delight.
Chow Yun-Fat's status as an action hero is immortalized here in his performance as super cop Tequila, who dodges bullets and shoot crooks while cooing a baby to sleep and covering his eyes from the ensuing violence. This scene also signifies the violence in Hong Kong back in the days, but highly stylized to create a superb action experience. Tony Leung is also splendid as the disillusioned undercover cop, who seeks to regain his humanity and reputation. The rest of the cast gave good performances, with kudos to Anthony Wong as the sadistic villain who will do anything to get what he wants (fully exampled during the film's climax), and Cheng Jue-Luh as one of the most badassed villains ever, Mad Dog.
The atmosphere of the movie further improves its credibility. John Woo's interests are shown through Tequila's passion of jazz and the beautiful and dark cinematography of Hong Kong, which, when combined together, gives an effect that signifies two different worlds, that is, the life of a cop and the life of a criminal. Also, the music score by Michael Gibbs is great, with a perfect melodramatic jazz score during dramatic scenes, and to pumping synthesizers, gritty and haunting scores during the majority of the action sequences. All of these add up to the amazing elements of the movie to make it even better.
Overall, I cannot think of any other action movie than this. This is THE action movie for film-goers, critics, and action junkies alike. This perfectly shot ballet of blood and bullets is an example of how great and reliable Asian movies can be, when we are finally tired of cliché elements from Hollywood. Mr. Woo, Your Midas Touch has its full effect here. This movie is one of the greatest action movies ever made. And I will stand by that decision for as long as I live.
A must see.
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