Fulltime Killer

The plot, from a novel by Edmond Pang, is the stuff of a thousand movies. Careerist assassin Tok (Lau) wants to be No 1 Hitman, which puts the elusive O (Sorimachi), the current title holder, in his sights. Tok's killer smile and panache goes up against O's cool, meticulous professionalism. They get involved with the same beautiful woman (Kelly Lin), while floating in and out of each other's crosshairs as Interpol agent Lee (Yam) chases them across most of the Far East. Derivative? You betcha. To stress the point, film fanatic Tok namechecks other movies like he's Martin Scorsese, providing wisecracking commentary to the sharpshooter shenanigans of Leon, Point Break and 'that film with Alain Delon'. The co-directors provide further I-Spy opportunities by way of Sonatine and Branded to Kill, while the slo-mo showdown feels less like a nod to John Woo than a bid to beat him at his own game. It's a measure of the directors' talent that they can put intertextuality centre stage and still deliver a film with pizzazz, freshness and devil may care humour all of its own.

Release details

Duration: 100 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Johnny To, Wai Ka Fai
Screenwriter: Wai Ka Fai, Joey O'Bryan
Cast: Andy Lau
Takashi Sorimachi
Simon Yam
Kelly Lin
Cherrie Ying
Lam Suet
Teddy Lin
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