Full Time Enjoyment
Edward Lee | 06/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bang! Bang! Bang!Thanks to the thrill of Hong Kong cinema, action movies still find a home outside of most US production companies, and that fact has rarely been so admirably demonstrated as it is here with FULL TIME KILLER.Tok and O are both hitmen, struggling to be the best at their game. However, rather than leaving their characters flat and two-dimensional at that, the skilled craftsmen are provided interesting and understandable backstories that (thankfully) aren't related to harsh lessons learned in war or going berserk at the violent death of a lifelong friend. The motivations behind these two are possibly entirely real situations, and that makes their characters -- their similarities and their differences -- far more interesting than most flicks exploring the secret life of assassins.However, the story doesn't stop there: the killers are provided with dubious adversaries, facing doublecrosses by their employers who inevitably hope to pit these hardened men against one another. That, and a pair of police detectives intent upon bringing everyone involved to justice make this one inventive flick with heart as well as mind.The film is staged with wonderful set sequences, many of them reminiscent of the films of John Woo, and the action -- once it cranks up a notch -- is choreographed spectacularly. Also, the film borrows heavily from its American counterparts, lifting ideas and influences of some lesser genre hits and incorporating them into the lives of the two leads.Certainly, Hong Kong cinema is not for everyone. Often times, the action can stretch the bounds of believability, making modern cities seem more like one-horse towns in the Old West, guns that never need reloading. Dismissing these inaccuracies is easy, if you have an intelligent script to keep your interest ... and FULL TIME KILLER doesn't disappoint.If anything, one could fault KILLER for developing too much backstory for the hitmen and the girl that inadvertantly binds them together on their quest to become the best. Too many layers of complexity can detract from the visuals, but, if you're watching closely (no pun intended), you'll be able to guess the outcome of this smart thriller with a kind of childish glee.Lock and load."
Nothing wrong with linguistic barriers
Ashe | California | 11/02/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Many reviewers have complained about the variety of asian languages presented in this film. I say, "get over it." Don't be so ethnocentric as to think that every movie should be made in the language that you personally speak. If you only watch a movie, or judge one, by the language it is filmed in than you will definitely limit your choices of movies. Secondly, this movie has its flaws, but it is a great representative of the whole Hong Kong guns a blazing genre. Great story telling, entertainment, and conveyance of what honor can really mean.If you are a fan of John Woo's Hard Boiled for example, you should definitely give this movie a shot. Thirdly, I gave this movie a 5 star rating. I would have probably given it a 4 star rating but I saw some 2 star ratings by other reviewers and wanted to balance things out to where it should really be."
My first asian flick...
Harry | Chicago, Illinois | 11/09/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This was a great movie. It took a little "getting used to" with the subtitles, but after a while the movie just took off. While I am certain that words are important, what these characters tell you in body language and action is just as impressive. And the scenery is to die for. I am so happy I purchased this DVD. The picture is crystal clear, the images are great and filled with clear color, no over saturation. The sound is also great. You get some previews and trailers with the DVD and some special features. A great DVD to add to my collection."
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 05/22/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Well, it had to happen sooner or later: a disappointing Johnnie To film, albeit one co-directed by Ka-Fei Wai. It's not so much that the film is exactly bad, more that it's so average when it could and should have been much better. A riff on Assassins, with reckless hitman Andy Lau trying to eliminate Takashi Sorimachi and take his crown, there are plenty of good ideas and clever plot twists and, while utterly unbelievable, Lau's character never becomes as much of a clown as Antonio Banderas in Richard Donner's film. But there's a clumsiness, not just to the film's construction but also its execution, as if it were made by less experienced hands. One major problem is the multilingual treatment: the Cantonese and Japanese dialog is fine, but huge chunks of the film are played in English, and neither Lau nor Simon Yam are particularly fluent in it, rendering much of their dialog painfully awkward (to be fair, Yam comes off far worse). The end, where everybody gets what they want, feels right, but there's a curious sense of underachieving throughout the film: the constant question isn't "What'll happen next?" but "Why isn't this as good as it should be?" One for the money, I suspect.