November 18, 2004

A Full Time Job


In preparation for the upcoming House of Flying Daggers release (Dec. 3 in NYC and LA), Cinecultist has been on a little bit of an Andy Lau kick. We don't want our first love, Tony Leung to be jealous or anything, just sometimes CC needs a little variety in our HK viewing. Recently, we rented Fulltime Killer, a movie Lau made with director Johnny To in 2001. To be honest, we couldn't remember when we put this flick on our Netflix queue, the queue got a little unwieldy there for awhile, but when it arrived it was a lovely little surprise of ass-kicking cinephilia.

Lau plays Tok, an upstart assassin who wants to be known as the best hitman, but he has to battle O (Takashi Sorimachi) for that illustrious title. Kelly Lin is their shared love interest, she runs a video store and cleans O's apartment for a little extra cash. Tok capitalizes on her movie love to win her over, in a weird little scene he shops in the store in a variety of rubber American President masks, just like the bank robbers in Point Break. She agrees to go on a date with him, even before she sees his face, so we see this adorable bookish Asian girl holding hands in the cineplex with one of the ex-Presidents. Bizarre and cute, all at the same time.

Later, when Tok reveals his plan to Chin asking her if she'd like to be a hitman's girl, he takes her to an abandoned building to learn to shoot. He thinks his moves are too smooth for words, but Chin pointedly tells him that she knows this scene is from The Professional. CC's a fan of anything smartly self-referential from the outset, but this movie's transformation of a simple hitman rivalry actioner into something more by its cinephilia is great. Could this be because Johnny To gets tired of churning out the same shoot-em up plots? Or is the savvy HK audience in need of a little meta infusion to get through the day? All interesting possibilities for us.

Two other Hong Kong cinema bullet points of note:
* If you love HK film, you should bookmark into your favorites list, it's quite the compendium of info with reviews, features and loads of photos.

* Also, Kino is having its Christmas sale, 25 to 30 % off, on their DVD catalog right now -- including some stellar silents and the Wong Kar Wai lovelies. Want to make a cinecultist happy this season? The Kino Ultimate Box Set Collection in the Chrismakkah stocking is sure to do the trick.

Posted by karen at November 18, 2004 8:30 AM