Yes, Yess, Yesss ... finally, the Johnnie To we all love
This is my favourite Johnnie To movie in the last 10 years or so. This
time he's the Brian De Palma of Hong Kong in a
taut and very enjoyable hospital action thriller where a gangster with
a bullet wound causes big trouble to the hospital.
It starts slowly, almost as a hospital soap television drama, and most
of the film takes place in just one surgery ward
at the Victoria Hospital, Hong Kong. We get to know the chief surgeon
Dr. Tong and the patients ... and the police.
The police? Yes, one of the hospitalized patients is Shun, a robber
shot in the head by the Hong Kong police, and with
a bullet still in his head. The police are flocking the place and waiting
.... waiting .... patiently waiting for the rest of the
robber gang turning up trying to free their buddy and boss and the tension
is slowly building up to the Explosion.
The Final showdown, the grand finale, and boy does that one look good.
Brian De Palma must nod happily to this long
slow mo sequence done the way á la 1978 The Fury, and also a
homage to the Grand master Sam Peckinpah naturally
Chinese favourite actress/director Vicky Zhao
is great as an overworked and dead tired neuro surgeon in this film,
i must confess that i've always loved this woman, she's just so likeable.
I guess i fell in love with her after seing her in
the Stephen Chow super mega smash hit comedy Shaolin Soccer and this
is best role i've seen her in. I really like her
middle-aged and on the verge of a burn-out surgeon starting to fail
with her surgeries. She's just so tired that she seems
to be sleepwalking through the chaotic events unfolding at her ward
- look at her face in the pic above, aaah, i could
watch that face for hours - i love you Vicky Zhao.
And then we have Lam Tsuet in this film also, naturally as this is a
Johnnie To film. Lam Tsuet or Suet, something of a
Mr. Hong Kong Film and how many films has he been in now? Hundreds .....
a thousand? Anyway, i love him too and he
always gives character and charisma to any role he plays. It's a shame
he's called Fatty also in this movie, but it may be a
joke and making fun of the Golden Era Hong Kong films where a heavy
guy always was called fatty or something like that
The Police is waiting patiently for
the attack, almost as in a western film when the Gunman is about to
Shun, the robber (Chung Hon Leung) is rolled into the
surgery ward with a bullet implanted in his skull. If not operated on,
in a riskful tricky surgery, he can die anytime from a brain aneurysm,
bleeding. His gang members are free and the Hong
Kong police under the lead of inspector Ken Chan (Louis Koo) awaits
a massive attempt to free him. And they wait
patiently for the attack even though they don't know
just how this attack will be done, the shape of it.
The cockily smiling and self-assured gang boss Shun likes to discuss
philosophy and science with the hostile policemen
and surgeon Dr. Tong Qian (Vicky Zhao) is torn between the interest
of her patients well-being and the Hong Kong Police
of questioning the criminal about his gangs whereabouts. And, constable
Fatty (Lam Suet) is chasing around by himself
looking for someone whistling Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's serenade for
strings, Eine kleine nachtmusik.
Yes, this is Johnnie To's best Western to date. Great stuff
from Master To and i love the start of the end credits with
the uncoherent mumbling/singing from the old man patient still heard.
Just another inspired detail to this enjoyable film
Anamorphic widescreen, cantonese audio DTS-ES 6.1 or
DD 5.1 (mandarin audio 5.1) with english subs, No Extras.
Vicky Zhao is dubbed to cantonese in this film (i thought she could
talk passable cantonese by now)