Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Mission (Hong Kong 1999)

The Mission (鎗火) is directed by the always great Johnnie To and has an outstanding cast that includes: Simon Yam, as Frank; Anthony Wong, as Curtis; Francis Ng, as Roy; Roy Cheung, as Mike; Lam Suet, as James; Jackie Lui, as Shin; Eddie Ko, as Lung; Elaine Eca Da Silva, as Lung's wife; and Tian-lin Wang, as Fat Cheung.

After a failed attempt to kill Lung, the triad boss, at the Super Bowl restaurant ran by Fat, also a triad member, Lung's brother Frank brings together five triad assassins to protect his brother. Who exactly is after Lung at this point is unknown. It's up to Curtis, Mike, Roy, James, and Shin to not only protect Lung but to find out who's behind the hit. The five men all have their own unique style of how they get things done and are all very different from one another. Roy is a minor triad boss and runs a bar. Shin is Roy's protege and the most inexperienced of the group. James is a guns expert, and Mike is the most skilled shooter of the bunch. Lastly, Curtis is the cold-blooded, unstoppable killer working as a hair-dresser when he's approached by Frank and asked to meet with Lung. While protecting Lung, it also becomes Shin's job to take Mrs. Lung around and make sure she's safe, a job that proves to have been given to the wrong person when Shin soon finds himself in trouble. The assassination attempts made against Lung have the other high-ranking triad members doubtful of his ability to be the boss, and how his questionable leadership is creating a negative appearance amongst their fellow triad members and outsiders as well. The problem is, one of the triad could be the one responsible for the attempts on Lung's life. Once their mission is complete, Curtis is given a new one from Frank; a job that could very well come between them and put their friendship to the test.

To be honest, not a lot happens in The Mission; it's not an action-packed movie by any means. Instead, it's about the five different men coming together for the purpose of a job, the bond they form, and in the end what's more important, their friendship to one another or their loyalty to the triad. It's the characters and the dynamics between them that really make this an interesting film to watch. Even though it's a slower paced movie, it works because the actors all make it work with good, solid performances. It may not be great, or even the most entertaining movie, but I still liked it and would recommend it to anyone who can appreciate a character-driven movie. (TheIceQueen)

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