Killers from Beijing
If they had shortened this film to an hour running
time, this would have been a fairly solid low budget action film. Instead
though director Bowie Lau (Electrical Girl) pads the film with lengthy
scenes of the actors chewing up the set with melodramatic monologues and
long, moody silences. No doubt the actors probably enjoyed these opportunities
to show their acting ability, but towards the end there is so much talking
– along with one of the longest death scenes in a film this or any year
– that you want to just shout out to them to shut up and shoot somebody.
Four friends (Patrick Tam, Chin Kar-lok, Michael
Tong and Tuen Wai-lun) are let go from the Chinese army for being a bit
rough during training exercises. When Brother Chick (Ma Tak Chung) comes
from Hong Kong with a proposition that they kill a rival triad leader,
they hesitate before reluctantly accepting. They really want no part of
a criminal life, but the promise of a big payoff is one they can’t refuse.
And a trip to Hong Kong of course!
In Hong Kong they become typical tourists looking
to buy good food, cheap vcds and a relaxing hostess bar. It is rather enjoyable
watching the scenes of them walking through the streets of Hong Kong because
these four actors are recognized by nearly every one they pass by and so
everyone in the scene is turning their head and intently watching them.
Just four anonymous guys in Hong Kong! Brother Chick introduces them to
his boss – Tseung – who is a complete sleaze and not very bright either.
Not only did he openly seduce Brother Chick’s wife (“We’re brothers, what
does it matter. She is only a woman”), but he tells the foursome that they
are only “dogs I buy” and throws money at them. Probably not the wisest
thing to do to four professional killers.
The killing is easy. Walk up the stairs, guns
at your side, shoot everyone in slow motion. Like a walk in the park. Don’t
even raise a sweat. The setting is a negotiating dinner between Tseung
and the man they have been paid to kill. They take out their target with
a shot to the head – but Tseung is just standing there – much too tempting
– like a turkey that doesn’t realize that it is Christmas day- much to
his surprise they kill him too. The killing is easy – getting back to the
Mainland is a different matter. With the cops waiting for them back at
their hideout, they begin to realize that maybe someone has sold them out
– and soon the chances of getting back home look very remote. Appearing
also is Annie Man as Tam’s girlfriend, William Ho as the Village Head and
Samuel Leung as Worm.
The film has potential – the chemistry between
the four friends is good and some of the action is entertaining, but it
drags badly at times – it is nearly 45 minutes before the first action
scene – and becomes increasingly absurd and unbelievable towards the end.
The less than intelligent behavior of the crew becomes a bit irritating
as well – with everyone trying to kill them and a boat waiting for them,
they stop to buy vcds! Of course, I might be tempted to do the same.
My rating for this film: 5.0
Distributed by Universe
The transfer is fairly bland - dark scenes
are quite murky but still overall acceptable for a film like this.
Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks
There is a trailer for this film and ones for
Deathnet.com, Return to Dark and The Story of Prostitutes.
The subtitles are Chinese or English.