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(Review originally written at 16 January 2008)

I wish more action movies would be like this! I didn't expect to love this movie as much as I did. The more the movie progressed, the simply better it got.

The movie was made before John Woo's coming to Hollywood but this movie already gained him some cult status in the States. It's a typical Woo movie, which shows once more that he is a real master in making action movies. His action directing in this movie is really flawless.

The movie is basically non-stop action, with a lot of gun fights, explosion and fights. But it's not just a mindless action-flick, it also pays lots of attention to its story and development and interesting character building. The emotions within this movie are also really truly powerful, especially toward the ending.

The characters are really strong within this movie. Yun-Fat Chow plays a great and intriguing 'good' hit-man, who is being chased by cop Danny Lee. The whole game and chase and the eventual teaming up between those two is done great. They are like each other and also fall for the same woman (at least that was the original concept) but are on the different side of the law. They have a certain respect for each other, which makes it all the more meaningful and interesting to follow. You also really start to care about those characters. The movie is also filled with plenty of other interesting and backstabbing characters, cops, gangsters and fellow hit-men. It's not hard to see why John Woo in his early days was often called the Asian Martin Scorsese.

But it's of course mostly the action that makes this movie such an amazing one to watch. There is plenty of Woo-ism present, so expect lots of slow-motion and stylish action, including Mexican stand-offs, running, car chases, boat chases, flying doves. Yes, this movie has got it truly all. There are a couple of sequences toward the end that really stand out and are among the best the genre has to offer. Yeah, it's a real testosterone driven guy flick, with also typical important guy themes such as loyalty, bravery and friendship in it, with added to that a whole load of bullets and killings. The body count of this movie is 120, all being committed by about 3 guys, that should really say something about this movie.

It's a movie with a great style. The movie is Asian, so the editing and such might seem off to you if you're not accustomed to it but it's all part of the Asian film-making style.

The violence and graphic is quite explicit. Definitely different from his Hollywood movies, where he obviously has to hold back with the blood. The blood is literally flying around in this movie and people get shot through the head at close range. Even small children can't escape the violence.

Truly an incredible movie within its genre!

10/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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