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Review: Vengeance

Hong Kong filmmaker Johnnie To blends John Woo and Christopher Nolan
By PETER KEOUGH  |  August 18, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars

 

"What does vengeance mean to someone with no memory?" someone asks at a critical turn in Johnnie To's alternately exhilarating and lugubrious thriller. Good question, but the discussion gets lost in the elaborately choreographed shootouts.

In Macau, three triad hitmen gun down a woman (Sylvie Testud) and her family. Swearing revenge, the woman's father, a Parisian restaurateur played by a scary-looking Johnny Hallyday, flies to Macau and hires three hitmen of his own to settle the score. Turns out the hired help are pretty decent guys, given their trade and their business associates.

With suspenseless ease, they track the bad guys down and try to discover who hired them, and the level of both carnage and male bonding intensifies even as the urgency of the task dims. Veteran Hong Kong filmmaker To mixes the grand gestures of John Woo with the tactics of Christopher Nolan's Memento; the result ranges from the silly to the sublime.

  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Music, Hong Kong,  More more >
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