Thursday, December 23, 2010

Johnnie To's VENGEANCE

I wrote a review for Johnnie To's most recent film Vengeance for In Review Online that went up over the weekend. At first glancee, Vengeance seems like a departure for To. A French/Hong Kong co-production, Vengeance includes a couple key French actors to shake things up. Sylvie Testud has a small role in which she delivers a couple good lines in Cantonese, and French pop star Johnny Halladay is the film's irrefutable star and anchor (although no Cantonese spoken here.) Once the film smoothly slides into its modus operandi with Anthony Wong, Lam Suet Lam Ka-tung and Simon Yam in tow, it becomes a leisurely stroll of patented five-star Johnnie To action. Nothing too new here, but a lot to enjoy.

Vengeance has been available for some time on DVD from Hong Kong and on demand from IFC, but recently made a theatrical appearance in NY and LA.


joetron2030 said...

As I commented on FB, this is available on Netflix Instant Watch. "Valhalla Rising" is also available on Netflix Instant.

villainx said...

Nothing too new here, but a lot to enjoy.

I saw it a week or so ago in the theater - and... what you wrote seems to be the consensus opinion. I'll just add that I think he was a bit tied down by the strict script requirement. Where he might have otherwise "found" or riffed more from the material, the restrictions yielded what you described as sputter, resign, well-trodden, and little consequence - which rarely happens despite his relentless output and frequent commercial, for-hire projects.

There really should be more to said (or written) about Johnnie To and what he's done and his evolution (technique and world view) and so forth.