There's something to said for this tightly-woven Hong Kong action thriller because RUNNING OUT OF TIME tries very hard to combine the traditional buddy picture with one pinch of "The Sting" and a hint of "Tootsie" thrown in for unexpected laughs.
What makes TIME tick is the slickness of the characters: Wah only has a few weeks to live, suffering from a form of incurable cancer, and he finds himself paired with police negotiator Sang in his final act toward redemption. Redemption, however, already has its price tag on it, as Wah's condition quickly deteriorates, and he must rely on an unlikely friendship with Sang to help make end-meet-end before meeting his Maker.
These two actors make the picture work, despite some clunky dialogue (especially clunky in the English-dubbed version, so be warned). Their chemistry onscreen elevates TIME to higher levels of interest for the viewer as you don't know who to root for here: the cop being hustled by the shylock, or the shylock living out his last few days trying to mend life's wrongs.
Regardless of whom you root for, RUNNING OUT OF TIME is a great achievement -- a welcome twist to the cop/crook formula -- that gives you some wonderfully unexpected laughs as the story unfolds.