Johnny To, whose cool, precise gangster thriller The Mission is one of the best Hong Kong films since the Chinese takeover, brings a stylish flair to Running Out of Time, an absurdly plotted but compelling cat-and-mouse cr... more »ime drama that became a box-office smash in Hong Kong. Criminal genius Wah (pop star Andy Lau) is given only a few weeks to live by his doctor, so he embarks on an elaborate heist and strings along hostage negotiator and unconventional supercop Sang (Lau Ching Wan) as part of the fun. "I just want to play a game with you for 72 hours," Wah confesses. "Great," responds Sang's blustery boss, "it's lunatic against lunatic." The elaborate scheme has something to do with a bald badass mobster (an almost unrecognizable Waise Lee, of John Woo's Bullet in the Head and A Better Tomorrow), a priceless gem, and a debt of honor. There's a hint of Woo's warrior bonding as cop and crook develop a respectful adversarial friendship in their running battle of wits: "If you can get me to the police station, you win." It all hinges on some far-fetched twists and the Hong Kong cops are little more than buffoons for most of the film, but To's steely seriousness, sleek style, and runaway pacing keep the film flying through most of the improbabilities. --Sean Axmaker« less
"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."
Great movie, but BEWARE, AUDIO IS IN MONO
asian cinema lover | 09/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"the movie is great....not quite infernal affairs, but it's still good. however, i just bought the "special edition" (nothing really special about it) and it does have a cantonese, mandarian, and english track. along with the commentary track that's listed in amazon. however the audio is NOT in 5.1. each audio track is presented in glorious MONO!! The video transfer is not clean and the mono track isn't even clear. Try to stay clear of this DVD, i am sure there is a dvd of this movie out there that is better. This is the "special edition" released by tai seng. bar code on the back of the dvd is 01643 85624"
Playful HK Thriller
Debbie Tam | Omaha, NE | 05/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dying thief Andy Lau plays a cat-and-mouse game with both crisis cop Lau Ching-Wan and a crime boss (a bald Waise Lee). While not as sharp as "The Longest Night" or perfect as "The Mission," Johnnie To has directed another fine film.Even though Andy Lau's character is dying, the movie's spirit is playful, for the most part. Lau Ching-Wan is his usual sturdy self, a cop who is brighter than his superiors and doesn't have patience for idiots. He and Lau are well matched. The film only suffers in comparison with To's other recent efforts. Recommended."
Very good...one of Andy's best....
david | representing for the champions, LAKERS! | 08/12/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Johnny To , Lau Ching Wan, and Andy Lau did an excellent job.Inspector Ho( Lau Ching Wan) is a police negotiator who's playing cat-and-mouse with the thief Cheung( Andy Lau). Cheung robs a hong kong high rise, but the reason why is unclear.
As Ho begins to investigate, the audience gets to know lil better too, but not too much. Cheung is doing this because his dying day is near, and he's using the time he got left to avenge for his father....Sure, there are some plot holes, but how many HK movies can you point out with no plot holes??? especially genre like this?
however, Andy did an awesome job at playing the role of Cheung.
The style, pacing, actiong, and direction is simply great. Andy won best actor for 19th annual Hong Kong film awards."
J. Nicholson | Scotland | 03/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"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"