Running Out of Time
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Good bits? Intelligent script and plotting, cracking supporting cast, and some real emotional depth in the relationships as well as the general playful atmosphere to the rivals' interactions.
Less good bits: it is showing its age, and the translation / subtitles are clearly wonky in places.
Even so, thoroughly entertaining and recommended for fans of intelligent thrillers.
People who are familiar with the director Johnny To will know what to expect when watching this; a fast, fun, touching and stylish movie. If you're expecting an action movie then look elsewhere Running Out Of Time is more of a cat and mouse thriller. Part of the reason why Running Out Of Time was so successful in Hong Kong was the script; it's very clever with well developed characters and all sorts of twists. Given the subject matters involved this could have been a really dark and depressing movie however it is surprisingly light hearted mood throughout. Many characters are obviously there for comic relief and there were a few places where I laughed out loud.
The film contains the usual stylish flair from Johnny To and a very impressive soundtrack/score throughout the whole movie. The actors also put on good performances, especially Lau Ching Wan and Andy Lau. As I said this is not an action movie and one of the films major flaws was about half way through with a car shoot-out scene. This was probably one of the worst and unbelievable shoot-outs I've ever seen.
Now for the DVD! Let's just say I'm a little more than disappointed with it. The picture and sound is fine, the subtitles on the other hand were appalling. It's filled with errors that are so obvious (makes me wonder if they actually checked them before releasing it). The extras are passable but I'm taking a wild guess here and saying that Tai Seng was able to meet with the two French script writers. You get a commentary by the two writers, an interview with the two writers and a documentary talking to Hong Kong directors about the two writers. It's kind of interesting but I would have liked a 'making of' or interview/commentary with the actors or director.
Overall Running Out Of Time is one of many brilliantly stylish and fun movies made by Johnny To and his production company. With a clever script, dazzling performances and some fine comedic moments this is a must for any Hong Kong film fan. The subtitles on this DVD did ruin it for me though and it would probably be worth trying to get your hands on a copy from Hong Kong rather than buying this version.
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Therefore, to take revenge for his father, he decides to rob an insurance company. The hostage negotiator is portrayed by Inspector Ho Sheung-sang (Ching-Wan Lau). The film is a cat-and-mouse type of action/thriller, where the dying Cheung and the Inspector play a sort of game of chess with wits. Ho Sheung-sang is hot on the trail of Cheung, all the while Cheung leaves the Inspector certain types of up clues which the Inspector must follow in order to catch him. This film has been called a departure from the genre of violent triad films, and I agree. It is much more of an intelligent crime drama film than one usually sees in HK cinema. [However, these films are getting much better all the time, and are even better than American action films]
Whatever your opinions are of this film, however, it is a very clever film: With (Andy Lau) as a criminal bent on revenge of certain members of a triad, and his clever use of the Inspector in pursuit. However, he must first convince the Inspector to become a part of his crusade against these criminals. And I liked the way the film showed how Cheung must manuever the Inspector into this plan of his. This is a very clever and tautly directed film from director Johnny To. Which brings me back to the begining of my review. Compared to many of the action films here in America, this one is brilliant. It's a fun film, enjoy it, and moreover, it is well worth your time spent viewing it. I own it.
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.