It seems being a housekeeper in HK comes with a few hazards. If you’re like Chin (Kelly Lin) you can end up being love target between not one but two of Asia’s top professional killers, O (Takashi Sorimachi) and Tok (Andy Lau). [Depending on how you look at it, it may not be a bad thing!] O is Asia’s top assassin and Tok would like to see himself wear that title instead. Chin, O’s housekeeper/cleaner becomes an unwitting (this point is debatable) pawn in their challenging battle for power.
Having seen some of Johnnie To’s crime films, I was expecting something along the lines of his stylish 1999 number The Mission. However, in Full Time Killer, he seems to have detoured slightly and hit another road instead. Although still racing along at the same speed, it’s a different route. Fresh from his success with Love on A Diet, To introduces more characters, subplots, exotic locales and language changes on this ride than any of his previous films.
The action sets are impeccably stylish, and the direction is appropriately dazzling. Andy Lau is given a rare opportunity to play the villain (an opportunity he relishes), and Sorimachi, Simon Yam and Kelly Lin all give fine performances.
Full Time Killer was enjoyable but it’s like going on one of those quickie one day tours, visiting each spot for 2 minutes before you’re whisked off again. The places you visited were great and you enjoyed the scenic view while you were there. However everything blurs by the end of the tour and ultimately it’s not a very memorable trip although still worth the ticket.