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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
no means perfect, but removable, and not offering too many grammatical
and spelling errors.
superb trailer, and the typically pointless "Synopsis"
and "Cast and Crew listing" are also joined by the trailer
for Sealed With A Kiss.
refreshingly different, character-driven production from the Milkyway
company once again proves just how good Hong Kong movies can still
Alongside the aforementioned excellence of the leads, is a storyline
of some wit and intelligence - and no little style.
Pick this up today.