4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

It's a depressing time to be an action-movie geek: Michael Bay's trashy-flash spectacles are now the default mode of Hollywood sturm und drang, and we can no longer reliably look East, young men, for hyper-kinetic foreign alternatives. All the more reason to praise Hong Kong's Johnnie To, a director who continues to churn out stylish shoot-'em-ups with prolific aplomb. Only Michael Mann can match him for urban slickness in the guys-with-guns department; nobody uses spatial relationships between characters to better heighten set pieces.

A French expat and her family are massacred. The woman's father (Halliday), a retired detective with Memento-like memory lapses, hires a trio of assassins (To regulars Wong, Luet Sam and Ka Tung Lam) to help him hunt down the man (Yam) responsible. If this revenge thriller feels overly familiar to fans, it's only because To has tackled such similar narratives with his stock company before. The telling, however, is what matters here, and once the bullets start flying in moonlit forests and an underground doctor's office, the sheer pleasure of watching someone choreograph such impeccable mayhem makes up for the dj vu. You need to be one helluva director to pull off using kids' stickers as a climactic plot point; this auteur makes it look like child's play.



Release details

Cast and crew

Johnnie To
Ka-Fai Wai
Johnny Hallyday
Sylvie Testud
Anthony Chau-Sang Wong
Ka Tung Lam