Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Running Out Of Time Review 1999 Hong Kong 暗戰

Stunning action thriller from hit Hong Kong director Johnnie To with the star team up on Andy Lau and Sean Lau(Lau Ching-wan).

Andy Lau plays Cheung, a master criminal who learns that he is suffering from a terminal illness and only has 72 hours to live. Determined to use this time to revenge himself on the police and his gang rivals, the criminal genius initiates a dangerous game of cat and mouse with the authorities. Only tough police negotiator Inspector Ho (Lau Ching-wan) can see through his plans, but during a confrontation between the two men, Cheung reveals his deadly trick...

The strong point of Running Out Of Time is how clever and intricate the script is. The story unravels at a steady pace without giving too much away, this keeps you intrigued as you start to discover what Cheung's plan actually is. Along with some twists and turns this film keeps you on your toes.

If you are familiar with To's body of work you will know what to expect. A sleek stylish intelligent film, with some great action scenes in between. Not necessarily what many would call an all out action film, but enough to keep the masses happy.

The cast all deliver great performances. Andy Lau shines in his role that seems like it was made for him, he went on to win best actor at the Hong Kong Film awards for this role. Lau Ching-wan is great as the co-star, delivering an intelligent but humorous role without getting too hammy. Elsewhere, Waisee Lee plays a decent role as a bald villain. And Shiu Hung Hui delivers the comic relief as Chief Inspector Wong, this part could have easily went over the top to slapstick territory but he managed to keep it grounded while still hilarious. A real highlight is a side-splitting gag between Shiu Hung Hui and Lau Ching-wan regarding a mix up with cancer pain medication.

Oddly, one of the weakest elements of the film are some of the action scenes. This will come as a surprise to most To fans. There is a shoot out half way through the film which falls flat, it is a little dull to watch and comes across rather silly, it doesn't live up to the exciting stylish shoot outs we are used to with Johnnie To films.

Small problems aside, Running Out of Time is a very fun Hong Kong film which will satisfy To fans but will also be a great introduction point to his filmography for new comers.


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