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A Hero Never Dies (1998)

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This is one for the true believers. If you long for the heroic archetypes of late 80s and early 90s Hong Kong cinema, here they are. The makers of Expect the Unexpected (director Johnnie To and producer Wai Ka-Fai) leave gritty crime realism aside for a moment and deliver up a glorious homage to the two-gun-blazing big-heart-pumping Hong Kong gunplay genre.

Jack (Leon Lai) is the big brother in Mr Yam’s gang. Martin (Lau Ching Wan) is the big brother … (read more)

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Expect the Unexpected (1998)

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This is one of the bleak new wave of post-Handover HK crime films which include Full Alert, Beast Cops and A True Mob Story. Like those films, the characters here are very Hong Kong, but in a Hong Kong the place sense rather than a Hong Kong the movie myth sense. The opening is dynamite. Three inept Mainland robbers botch a jewel store holdup. One of them flees into a nearby apartment building, inadvertently leading the police to … (read more)

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Running Out Of Time (1999)

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Johnnie To is the coolest director in the known universe, bar none. He has a gift for making great movies, and this is one of his strongest. It doesn’t hurt that he’s assembled a solid cast, including Andy Lau, owner of the sharpest cheekbones in the business, and Lau Ching Wan, one of the best actors in Hong Kong. There are even credible female characters too, in the form of the lovely Yoyo Mung, and the redoubtable Ruby Wong.

But … (read more)

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