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An almost perfect Hong Kong movie May 8, 2006
1 out of 1 found this review helpful
Running Out of Time is probably as close to a perfect film as you're ever likely to see out of Hong Kong. All the elements click: a terrific script (by French writers Julien Carbon and Laurent Courtiaud) that even manages to subvert the odd clich?, reliably imaginative direction by Johnnie To, and excellent central performances by Andy Lau and Lau Ching Wan, the latter displaying his great comic timing to wonderful effect without ever crossing the line into parody (especially in his exasperated reactions to his superior's abysmal negotiating skills). The supporting cast is fine too, with Yo Yo Mung making a strong impression in a tiny role, and even the often histrionic Waise Lee (looking remarkably, and very aptly, like a bald Andy Lau) reining it in to good effect. It's best not to know too much about the plot going in beyond the basic set-up - with only a few weeks to live, Lau engages in a criminal game with Wan's cop with no easily apparent motive - and just sit back and enjoy the ride: it's certainly worth the fare. It also has one of the most perfect love stories in recent movies, and played in a mere three scenes (the second bus ride is one of the most magical moments of filmmaking I've seen in ages). There's also a fine score by Raymond Wong as well. The most fun playing cat and mouse at the movies in years.
Dying Criminal Decides to Go Out in a Crime Spree May 29, 2005
3 out of 5 found this review helpful
1999 Unrated Hong Kong crime thriller. Caution: profanity. Also known as "Aau chin." First in, I believe, 2 movie series. (second one is called "Aau Chin 2," or "Running Out of Time 2").
DVD Features: The DVD contains just the movie (which can be heard in Cantonese, Mandarin or English with or without subtitles), some commentary hidden under the "set-up" feature (which is also the language feature), and some trailers (three trailers for this movie (2 Hong Kong, 1 USA), a trailer for Dragon Inn (remake of classic Kung Fu movie) and one for Armageddon (supernatural thriller, not the Hollywood movie)).
Credits: Staring Andy Lau (Cheung; "Infernal Affairs"), Lau Ching Wan (Inpector Ho Sheung-Sang; also known as Sean Lau; "The Attractive One"), Shiu Hung Hui (Chief Inspector Wong; "Hidden Heroes"), and Yoyo Mung (Leung Yuen Ting; "My Crazy Mother"). Directed by Johnny To ("Election"). Written by Yau Nai Hoi, Laurent Courtiaud & Julien Carbon.
Plot: A criminal mastermind is told that he only has two to four weeks to live (last stages of cancer). This criminal, Cheung, decides to go out in style and goes on a crime spree. He battles the police and a specific police officer (Inspector Ho Sheung-Sang) who is very good at his job.
Review: Interesting music, somewhat scratchy film (might just be the DVD), dubbing is a little off, but only if you pay close attention (though it can be quite bad). Intriguing film, we learn in the very first few moments that the criminal has nothing to lose because he is dying which adds a different layer to the normal police-criminal dynamic.
There's a neat scene where Inspector Sheung-Sang figures out that Cheung will leave the scene in a taxi, and becomes the taxi driver. Cheung gets in the back and the Inspector drives off, toward the nearest police station. The unarmed cop notes that the criminal won't shoot him because then the car will crash. What does Cheung do? He starts firing out the window of the taxi until the cop stops and Cheung flees. I'm not sure how realistic that scenario is, but it is an interesting method (later the roles are reversed, with the cop with a gun in the back and the criminal driving, the method used this time is also good). While the criminal plays with the police, the police fight each other (political in-fighting).
While this "cat and mouse" game is going on, a third criminal group is working the city. This group's connection to the main players is hard, at first, to figure out (but it is directly tied to Cheung's actions).
The movie is somewhat tense, but it is also somewhat harder to care about the action, as the film audience already knows that the main bad guy is dying anyway. Once again, it is harder to determine acting ability when watching a dubbed movie, though the acting seemed to be high quality. The music is good and helps add to the tension. The plot is interesting (what would you do if you were a criminal mastermind and know you are dying?) and solid. There even is some humor. Overall, I would give the movie 4.32 stars.
Excellently Written March 9, 2005
2 out of 2 found this review helpful
Andy Lau is 'Wah Cheung' is afraid of nothing. He's not afraid to be arrested nor play his dangerous cat and mouse game with Inspector Ho Sheung-Sang [Sean Lau]
Reason being Cheung is given only 4 weeks to live, but before he dies he vows revenge for his father Peter Cheung.
Cheung robs a diamond trading company arousing the attention of Sang from there it is a cat and mouse chase game but who will the winner be?
Cheung is a master of disguise one moment he can be a young handsome man, the next an elderly gentleman, then somebody else.
How will sand be able to pin down and arrest Cheung? But then again what will the inevitable be when Sang finally realises the serious illness of Cheung?
This story unlike any other cat and mouse themed story has 3 sides to it, the thriller, the action and the touching emotional side.
Andy Lau is once again fantastic along Sean Lau. The two of them worked so well together to make this a truly enjoyable movie.
The music in itself will touch the audience as it lets you feel what the characters are going through within the movie.
Go out and rent or buy this film. It is well worth the money and you will have a great experience whilst watching it
Keep RUNNING December 30, 2003
4 out of 4 found this review helpful
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.
Okay, could've been better..... September 14, 2002
1 out of 4 found this review helpful
Running Out of Time
Running out of Time, is a Hong Kong action movie staring Cheung (Andy Lau) and Inspector Ho (Lau Chin Wan).
Cheung is a handsome young burglar with Terminal cancer and three days to live. Ho is a bored police officer determined to apprehend him.
Cheung, in an effort to make his last days on earth worthwhile, is determined to avenge his father's death, by stealing a large, improbably blue diamond, and framing his enemy for the deed. During the course of events, he has run-ins with police officer Ho and a beautiful woman he meets on the bus.
Regretfully most of the action consisted of scenes where the bad guys chase Ho, and scenes of Cheung crawling through air ducts, (its amazing how many person-sized air ducts there are in high security buildings), or scenes with Cheung messing with security cameras.
This movie failed for me because I kept expecting to explore Cheung's character more deeply. (If he was dying of cancer, why did he wait so long to seek revenge? Why was he so determined to frame the bad guys? What was his motivation for baiting Ho?)
So many of these questions were unanswered, and for this reason, I was left feeling unsatisfied with this movie.