Running Out Of Time
MEI AH
 
Starring:
Directed By:
Johnnie To
Year:
1999
Run Time:
89 mins
Producer: Mei Ah
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Languages:
CANTONESE 2.0, Mandarin 2.0, Cantonese 5.1, Mandarin 5.1
Subtitles:
English, Cantonese (S&T), Thai
W/S Subtitles:
Yes
Ratio:
1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic
Region:
NTSC 0
Genre:
Drama / Action - Cat. IIa
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MOVIE
9/10

Suffering from a terminal illness, Andy Lau's master criminal decides to execute one last job before his time is up.
However, rather than just content with stealing the diamonds of a local gangster, Lau also embarks on a game of cat and mouse with Inspector Ho (Lau Ching-Wan) - an expert police negotiator.
As events unfurl, Inspector Ho realizes he's not dealing with a mere thief, but a man whose very existence brings meaning to his own tired life.

Exceptional performances, a superb supporting cast and Johnnie To's innovative direction create a film with admirable depth and heart.
This is Andy Lau's best role in a long time, and Lau Ching-Wan's customary charismatic presence continually light up the screen in this truly excellent production.

Whilst the film does contain action scenes, Johnnie To's film is far more reliant on its characters and their interaction, than their ability to unload rounds into one another.
This is exemplified when witnessing Andy Lau and Lau Ching-Wan's battle of wills - from their first meeting to their last - and raises this high above many recent offerings.

Yoyo Mong, as a rather too willing hostage, also brings texture to the piece, with her first meeting with Lau's character on a crowded bus being particularly memorable.
As Lau tries to evade police searching the vehicle, his opportunity arises in the shape of Mong.
Borrowing her ear-phones and laying her head on his shoulder, as the haunting soundtrack plays, Johnnie To leaves you wondering whether you're watching a hostage situation or a bizarre romantic interlude.
Suffice to say, it raises the hairs on the back of your neck with its tense yet dreamy direction, and sets the tone for the film beautifully.

PICTURE
7/10

A typical Mei-Ah release - mild artifacting, weak black levels and very good detail.
Colour is a little muted at times, but this remains a very watcheable presentation.

SOUND
7/10

Sadly, both the Dolby 5.1 remix and the Dolby Stereo soundtracks, feature an often irritating level of distortion. Of the two, the Stereo track is the better, with a little less distortion at high volumes and a more natural sound placement.
Dialogue, music and effects are all affected by this to some degree, although it's generally bearable.

Special mention must go to the film's score, which not only adds a further layer of quality to the production, but also a great deal of drama to each scene.

SUBTITLES
7/10

By no means perfect, but removable, and not offering too many grammatical and spelling errors.

EXTRAS
3/10

The superb trailer, and the typically pointless "Synopsis" and "Cast and Crew listing" are also joined by the trailer for Sealed With A Kiss.

CONCLUSION
8/10

This refreshingly different, character-driven production from the Milkyway company once again proves just how good Hong Kong movies can still be.
Alongside the aforementioned excellence of the leads, is a storyline of some wit and intelligence - and no little style.
Pick this up today.

MOVIE 9/10
PICTURE
7/10
SOUND
7/10
SUBTITLES
7/10
EXTRAS
3/10
MENUS
3/10
PACKAGING
5/10
OVERALL 8/10