Hong Kong nihilism. December 22, a street quarrel leads to the death of a gang leader's son. Next day, he seeks revenge on his brother, a rival boss. He calls on Liu, a fixer, to import a ...
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Hong Kong nihilism. December 22, a street quarrel leads to the death of a gang leader's son. Next day, he seeks revenge on his brother, a rival boss. He calls on Liu, a fixer, to import a hit man from the mainland. Lai Fu, a tough and youthful hick, arrives with a day pass. The cops, led by the morose Milo, hear about the killer; they open a full-scale Christmas Eve operation to find the warring brothers and Lai Fu. Lai Fu rescues a hooker, Dan Dan, from a sadist and asks her to help him find his way around Mongkok. By nightfall, Liu has double crossed Lai Fu, the brothers are hiding, the cops are everywhere, and Lai Fu and Dan Dan are on the run. Peace on earth, good will to all?Written by
ONE NITE IN MONGKOK, a Hong Kong cop thriller about an assassin about to carry out his first hit, sounds like the typical all-action thriller, but on watching it turns out to be something much darker, more subtle and mature in its developing themes. It's a highly effective cat and mouse thriller that prioritises character over action and is all the better for it.
Daniel Wu is one of my all-time favourite Chinese stars and this is one of his top roles. His character, a would-be assassin starting out on his first job, sounds unsympathetic at first but he grows on you as the film develops, and as his growing relationship with Cecilia Cheung is handled sympathetically and with realistic emotion. By the end, you're rooting for him and his cause.
The rest of the film is more familiar, but it all works and slots into place nicely. Alex Fong's bull-headed cop is a worthwhile adversary for our star, and the supporting cast of pimps and drug dealers, grasses and gangsters, is a well developed one. Although the film sometimes has shades of BOURNE it develops its own unique style as it progresses, gradually building to an ultimately devastating climax which took my breath away. It's an astonishing way to end a film, and one which has stayed with me days later.
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