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So, a Western set in Macau with almost Melville-level coolness? Sign me right up! I think Verite (or someone) had mentioned that they did not care so much for the beginning of this film. I loved that opening sequence. What an awesome setup and so much violence and suspense in the air. And the best part? The way that the tension is broken, the violence set aside and the scene transformed into these close-ups of people building furniture and an assassin cooking dinner. After which, assassins, target, protectors et al pose for a group photograph. Sigh. I think that was enough to make me drool all over this film.

This film is just so cool and so much fun. The characters are so well-drawn and these actors do such a fantastic job portraying them. Simon Lam continues to be just so likable and great. I can’t decide which shootout sequence is my favorite. I guess the one where they are inside the doctor’s apartment and then end up on the stairwell. But they’re all really amazing. Josie Ho is fantastic too. I love the sense of friendship and loyalty and randomness that permeates every scene. Johnnie To definitely seems to follow duder’s dictum to great effect. Long stretches in the film are completely wordless and just set to music. The music is really great too… some of it sounds very much like Ry Cooder to me (is it Ry Cooder?) but all of it is really good.

I could really use a trenchcoat and a gun right now.

Grade: B

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