Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actor: Simon Yam
Director: Johnnie To;Ringo Lam;Hark Tsui
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House
Three legends of Hong Kong cinema Tsui Hark, Ringo Lam and Johnnie — To join forces to deliver this ingenious and thrilling crime caper, with each director lending his own distinct take on one part of the story. — Three drin... more »
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Three is the Magic Number
Shawn McKenna | Modesto, CA USA | 02/05/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The idea behind this film was to get three of the best Hong Kong action/crime directors today working together. The result was each did one segment (around 30 minutes each) in chronological order with Tsui first, Lam second and To finishing it off. This would be done differently than a film like Four Rooms (1995) where each segment was basically a separate story. In this movie each director would continue after the other to move the story and characters along from what happened previously. Like many conceptual films this movie sometimes seems a bit forced, sometimes clunky, some plot angles hang, disappear and seem a bit confusing, but I still found the movie quite interesting and entertaining.
Triangle (the Chinese title is The Iron Triangle) starts off with Tsui Hark creating the foundation for the plot. It is both good and bad that Hark creates tons of plot angles for the movie to go. It gives the Ringo and later To plenty of room to move with, but also will leave either a bit too much to be either ignored and some angles barely gone over that a tighter script would have just ignored. In fact it took me a few tries to get past the beginning.
Simon Yam (PTU, Election) is Lee Bo Sam a former race driver who is friends with Fai (Louis Koo: Throwdown) and antique shop owner Mok Chung-yuan (Sun Hong Lei: Seven Swords). Fai is trying to get him to acquiesce to a driving job for a jewelry heist. If he does not Fai will receive harm from some local triad members. All three need money though. In the middle of the meeting between Fai and Lee a strange man gives those three a small gold piece and states where they can find the rest of this treasure. His motives for doing this are a mystery to the bunch. Meanwhile Lee's wife Lin (Kelly Lin: Sparrow) is having an affair with policeman Wen (Gordon Lam), states that her husband is trying to have her killed off and wants Lam to get rid of Sam first.
When Ringo Lam takes over in the first film he has directed since leaving the production of Wake of Death (2004), he ups the psychological attitude of the film and enriches the characterization. The most effective change is how the love-triangle relationship between Lam, Lin and Sam no longer appears to be the stereotypical triangle in the beginning and takes on a new bizarre dimension. Ringo Lam does a homage to Reservoir Dogs which was based on his film City on Fire so you see a homage to an homage) by using a record player, a handcuffed cop and a few other scenarios in this middle segment of the film.
The last segment belongs to Johnnie To and from the beginning where we see Lam Suet (Lam is in a lot of Johnnie To movies) we know who is directing this. Suet plays a drug addicted epileptic who causes flats in both automobiles and bikes and offers to fix them. The area where he is in has no cellular reception and a conveniently located eatery where they can wait while their vehicle is being fixed. However, Wen is there as well as the triad members who are there to purchase firearms. This is another use of the triangle in this film. To offers his normal use of "Team Spirit" themes and Mexican standoff action in this conflict triangle to make the last half hour quite interesting.
While this film never fully jells together, some plot changes are just a bit bizarre like Lin's character change (or really non-use) in the third segment, I still ended up really liking this film. There are quite enough brilliant moments that make this movie a recommendation for fans of not only Hong Kong cinema and Johnnie To, but movie fanatics as well. You just have to get past the first 15 minutes.
I have the Magnolia pictures R1 release that has two extra features: a "Making of" and a Behind the Scenes. The "Making of" is solely focused on Johnnie To's segment and ultimately not that interesting. It is mostly standing around, saying a few lines and more waiting. Behind the Scenes actually has the most information with interviews from several of the cast and crew. The region 3 release of this by Mega Star has deleted scenes, TV spots and trailers in addition to what the R1 has. I was most disappointed that the R1 does not have the deleted scenes, but it is still a worthwhile release.