One Dark Night in Hong Kong, One Hitman, One Woman: Very Int
Tsuyoshi | Kyoto, Japan | 07/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mongkok is the downtown in Hong Kong, always crowded, and according to the film, most densely-populated area in the world. `One Nite in Mongkok' starts and ends in this busy downtown street, where a bespectacled country bumpkin Lai Fu (Daniel Wu) arrives from the mainland China to assassinate the boss of one of the feuding gang groups after the mob-related killings.
The film is part about the cat-and-mouse chase, following the movements of this novice hitman, a prostitute Dan (cast-against-type Cecilia Cheung) who gets acquainted with him, and the police squad whose mission is to capture the guy. The story develops rather slowly with familiar elements like bumbling middlemen, drug-addicted informer, etc., but when the tension starts to rise during the episodes (many of which are very violent), it rises very high. Wait patiently for the last sequences, which are so intense that you might find it unbearable.
Director Tung-Shing Yee, using a hand-held camera throughout the film, did a fantastic job in re-creating the bustling areas of Mongkok, where every kind of people can be found like in New York City. Though the idea of amateur hitman with a gun (who can somehow handle it pretty well) is not exactly plausible, and the interaction between Lai Fu and Dan is nothing new, director Tung-Shing Yee's realist approach works marvelously especially at night, when the camera seamlessly moves around in the shady-looking nightlife places of the town. There are also slyly suggested social commentary about the relations between Hong-Kong and the mainland China, or the haves and the have-nots.
Casting of Daniel Wu and Cecilia Cheung as the characters from the Mandarin-speaking area is a surprising decision. Besides the languages they usually use (Wu Cantonese, Cheung Cantonese and English), the characters they play are far from the accepted images among us, buy they pull off better than we expected. In addition to their good acting, we have Alex Fong as Inspector Miao who is also effective, with ever-reliable Sam Lee and Suit Lam.
`One Nite in Mongkok' is a Hong-Kong noir with terrific cinematography and sparse but intense actions. Like `Infernal Affair' the film proves that Hong-Kong film industry is still healthy with talented cast and crew who can give you a good film, both artistic and entertaining."
In New China
Michael Kerjman | 10/01/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Do not expect sex or intimate scenes in Mongkok, which is already the most populated area in the world. Mafia does it business by hiring killers and prostitutes from mainland China where value of money still differs from one in Hong Kong, and a local police force tries keeping things quite, while annihilating a drug trade by deploying not-so-legal actions itself sometimes. In addition, it is educative for providing a translation of "Hong Kong".
Handsome actors, beautiful women and Hong Kong views make murdering and fighting more consumable.