Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Exiled (Hong Kong 2006)

Exiled (放‧逐), while not exactly the sequel to 1999's The Mission, definitely feels like it could be. Not only is Exiled also directed by Johnnie To, but it stars much of the same cast, playing different characters of course, but it seems to pick up right where The Mission left off. It reunites Anthony Wong as Blaze; Francis Ng as Tai; Lam Suet as Fat; Roy Cheung as Cat; and Simon Yam as Boss Fay. Other cast members include Nick Cheung as Wo; Josie Ho as Jin; Richie Ren as Sergeant Chen; Siu-Fai Cheung as Jeff; Ellen Chan playing a hooker; and Ka Tung Lam as Boss Keung.

The movie opens with Tai and Cat knocking on a door looking for a man by the name of Wo. Minutes later, Blaze and Fat show up, knocking on the same door also looking for Wo. As it turns out, these five men grew up together and joined the triad together. Blaze was supposed to kill Wo, however the job didn't get done and Wo left town. Wo is back now, along with his wife Jin and their little baby. Tai and Cat are there to help Wo, while Blaze and Fat are there to finish the job assigned to them from Boss Fay and kill Wo once and for all. After Wo gets home and has a little two-on-one shootout between himself, Tai, and Blaze, the men decide to talk things out. Wo tells them that his last wish is that his family will be taken care of financially. The five men go and visit Jeff, who runs a hotel and is also in the crime business. He tells them all about a few jobs he has available and they accept one, a hit on another mob boss, Boss Keung. This hit on Boss Keung just happens to be ordered by Boss Fay. Needless to say, the hit doesn't go as planned and thus the action begins! One of the best and most intense action scenes in the movie takes place at an underground clinic where Wo had to be taken and Boss Fay is right behind them. When things don't end up how they were hoping and Blaze, Fat, Tai, and Cat go into hiding, they happen to come across a gold transporting operation that Jeff had told them about and they all decide to go for the money. That is until Jin goes looking for the four men and ends up at Jeff's hotel where Boss Fay shows up and threatens to kill her and the baby if they don't get the gold and bring it back to him. What transpires when the boys get to the hotel is complete madness and a gunfight so out-of-control that it's hard to know who is getting shot and how anyone could possibly survive.

Once again it's a stellar cast, with Ng being particularly strong. Wong Roy Cheung, Suet, and Nick Cheung are outstanding and Yam is great as an over-the-top crazy villain. Ren does a good job as the silly, intimidated cop that just wants to retire in once piece. Where The Mission fell short was in the action department, but Exiled more than makes up for it. The characters are great as well as the emphasis on the relationships and the respect they have with one another. There is definitely a lot of male bonding going on here. All in all, it's a well-done, entertaining movie that looks great and To does a nice job filming the shooting/fight scenes using slow motion and an in-your-face approach. Exiled has the right balance of everything a movie should have. It is without question one of the best films of 2006. (TheIceQueen)

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