"Where the hell is Lau Ching Wan and his itchy heart?"
- Mighty Peking Man
Director: Johnny To
Producer: Johnny To
Writer: Szeto Kam Yuen, Yip Tin Shing, Milkway Creative Team
Cast: Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Nick Cheung, Josie Ho, Roy Cheung, Lam Suet, Simon Yam, Richie Jen
Running Time: 109 min.
Plot: The time is 1998. The setting is Macau. Every living soul jumps at every chance to make quick money before the Portuguese colony ushers in a new era under the Chinese rule. For the jaded hit men, they wonder where this journey will end.
Availability: This title is available at HKflix.com
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S REVIEW: Somewhere along the line, I developed a bad attitude toward Johnny To's work. I think Fulltime Killer might have been his last movie that put a smile on my face. Since then, he's been jumping everywhere but the right place.
First of all, his comedies and romantic flicks don't interest me, so I simply refuse to watch them. As far as his other recent films (PTU, Breaking News, Throwdown), they barely entertained and were a job to sit through, if anything. And then we have those Election films. Before I even decided to watch one, a sequel came out, so I just canned the whole idea of watching any of them (Besides, I don't want to see Triads talk to each other, I want to see them kill each other god damnit!).
This bring us to Johnny To's Exiled, starring Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Nick Cheung, Simon Yam, Roy Cheung and Lam Suet.
In a word: Supberb! Exiled is a poetic action/adventure film that almost has no point whatsoever, but that's the essence of the film's beauty. It's violent, fun, unexpected things happen, has a lot of heart and a great fucking soundtrack.
Exiled is so good that it's easily comparable to any of the popular Milkway films I masturbated to during the late 90's: Too Many Way To Be Number One, The Longest Nite, The Mission, The Odd One Dies, Except the Unexpected, Beyond Hypothermia and Where A Good Man Goes; and yes, I know he only produced most of these, but still, his craft and style is all over them.
The film's look and feel is very Spaghetti Western-ish; very similar to A Hero Never Dies (one of my favorite flicks of all time). The cinematography is lovely. Performances are stellar (even Roy Cheung, who I never like, is pretty cool, no matter how dumb his hair looks!). The well-staged, over-the-top action sequences re-new the words 'bullet ballet.' And it just feels so damn good to watch. This, my friends, is what Hong Kong cinema is all about!
If you're like me, and Johnny To's recent films have been turning you away, give Exiled a shot. I can almost guarantee it will not disappoint you.
If Johnny To keeps this up, I might actually watch another one of his films.
My only complaint? Where the hell is Lau Ching Wan and his itchy heart?
MIGHTY PEKING MAN'S RATING: 8.5/10