was originally planned as one section of director Wong Kar-Wai's best-known film, Chungking Express
, but eventually it grew into its own distinct and delirious shape. In many ways, it may be the better film, a dark, frantic fun-house ride through Hong Kong's night-time world. Part of the film is a love story between two people who have barely met: a young, ultra-hip hit man (Leon Lai) and the dreamy operative (Michele Reis) who plans his jobs. Much of the movie is given over to a very strange subplot about a manic mute (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who goes on bizarre nocturnal prowls through a closed food market--like almost everything else in Wong's films, this is antic, stylish and oddly touching, all at the same time. It must be said that, also like Wong's other work, Fallen Angels
is fragmented and oblique to the point of occasional incomprehensibility, but then suddenly something wild or wonderful happens, such as the moment when the killer leaves the scene of a spectacular shooting and is promptly waylaid by a cheerful old school chum on a public bus. These coups--whether lyrical, violent or simply "how on earth did they get that shot?"--are tossed off by Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle with all the cool of the hired killer, as though the movie were a cigarette dangling from a pair of oh-so-casual lips. This is exactly why so many otherwise calm critics fell all over themselves in hailing Wong Kar-Wai as one of the most exciting filmmakers of his generation. --Robert Horton, Amazon.com
Australia released, PAL/Region 0 DVD: LANGUAGES: Chinese ( Dolby Digital 2.0 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN, SPECIAL FEATURES: Featurette, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: Wong Kar-wai's Fallen Angels is a sequel of sorts to the director's 1994 U.S. breakthrough Chungking Express. Expanding on the latter's style, themes, and mood, Fallen Angels is set in the surreal milieu of urban, nighttime Hong Kong. As with the filmmaker's other features, plot takes a back seat to mood. The wisp of a narrative intercuts two story lines. The first follows a hitman (Leon Lai) who finds that the assassin's life has slowly lost its allure. Complicating his life is his beautiful contact (Michele Reis, a former Miss Hong Kong winner) who pines after him with fetishistic ardor, although the two have never met in their nearly three-year partnership. In another part of the city, He (Takeshi Kaneshiro), a mute, boyish ex-convict, makes a living by sneaking into and running businesses after hours. Still living with his father who runs the Chungking Mansions hotel, the restless Ho falls for Cherry (Charlie Yeung), a woman getting over her breakup with the offscreen Johnny. The movie follows these episodic romances almost half-heartedly as with Wong's other films, and digressionary moments attract much of the camera's distracted gaze. This visually stylish and unabashedly effusive work is considered by some critics to be the quintessential Wong film.
...Fallen Angels ( Duo luo tian shi )