Fulltime Killer


Over the years, Hong Kong director Johnnie To Kei-Fung has shown equal skill in wildly divergent genres, from period farces (Justice, My Foot) and comic book-esque actioners (The Heroic Trio), to yuppie romantic comedies (Needing You). But no one in Hong Kong’s post-Woo era directs a shoot ’em up with as much enthusiasm and style as To, as evidenced by this deliriously fun 2001 release. Hong Kong singing and acting superstar Andy Lau oozes charisma as flamboyant assassin Tok. Raised on a steady diet of Hong Kong action flicks, Tok vies with his Japanese counterpart O (Takashi Sorimachi) for the title of top killer. Switching between four languages and referencing everything from Wong Kar-Wai to Seijun Suzuki in one kinetic setpiece after another, the film rarely comes up for air. Yet the charms of its leads and the strength of the script never let you down like a Michael Bay explosion-fest.


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