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Tartan Asia Extreme DVD rental/retail
Despite its rather extensive, one-note commentary on the media, this 2004 Hong Kong-set thriller from director Johnnie Fulltime Killer To doesn’t forget its main purpose – to thrill.
When resourceful, ruthless heist planner Yuen (Richie Jen) and his gang are foiled on their way to a job by Inspector Cheung’s (Nick Cheung) team, the authorities’ failure to catch the gang is rather embarrassingly caught on film. Enter media-savvy Superintendent Rebecca Fong to orchestrate the subsequent hostage situation like a scripted TV show.
Although the film’s thoughts on the media – that it can work for and against you, and can’t be controlled – are rudimentary, To’s lengthy single-camera shoot-out set pieces are just incredible. In particular, his punctuation of many scenes with lengthy, loving footage of city life around the action romanticises all levels of Hong Kong society in the same way Michael Mann creates visual love letters to LA. Extras include behind the scenes featurette and original trailer. (David Pollock)