Monday, 24 August 2009

Vengeance (2009) @ 復仇

At a glance:
Johnnies Hallyday and To combine as French rockstar meet HK art film auteur, with mixed results. It's a revenge story (to risk overstatin the obvious) washed in Western themes, about a French ex-hitman arrivin in Macau to avenge his daughter. Milkyway's fave cast Simon Yam, Lam Suet, Lam Ka Tung and Maggie Siu are all also here but like all of To's flicks, they only need to be, never mind act. That goes for Monsieur Rockstar (pic) as well, who apparently landed the role after producers Michèle and Laurent Pétin failed to sign the even more iconic Alain Delon. I've only seen him in L'Homme Du Train (The Man On The Train) to be honest but he does cut a great figure to simply sit down and watch, especially in noirs. He looks like a demonic, unnaturally blue-eyed beast, really. New Moon could use him.
Bad news on the doorstep:
Obviously I'm not happy Maggie Siu didn't do much here but perhaps the greatest lament is that of Triangle - a lot of glossy gunfire but very skint on some meaningful cinematic glute. There's even that umbrella motif again that To already referenced in Sparrow, in tribute to the '64 Les Parapluies De Cherbourg (The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg). The Guy Pearce-Memento bit doesn't look necessary either, especially when the academic discussion on a revenge-seeker's 'forget v remember' dilemma is brief.
Perennial wonderment:
Waheyyy - can I go a day without talkin about Anthony Wong? Here he's the leader of the assassins that befriend Hallyday's dogged character. You can read that life does imitate art because Hallyday told in interviews that Tone's the only guy who spoke English so they both naturally talked more on set and they felt comfortable with each other throughout the shoot.
Reminds me of:
Taken, Election and No Country For Old Men - but told in a decidedly style-over-substance manner.
Watch out for:
The outdoor stairway chase. That's organisation for you.
Amacam joker, berapa bintang lu mau kasi?Johnnie To gets my three and a half stars and remains the international choice for a HK director to watch, despite every other movie from him seemin like a playthin. It's captivatin cinema you can't dismiss as hollow. That Lo Ta Yu music (who scored To's Election and All About Ah Long as well) didn't hurt one bit either and looks like they flew in the Frenchman to town for a good reason after all.