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Fallen Angels (1998)

Leon Lai , Michelle Reis , Kar Wai Wong  |  Unrated |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)

Price: $41.95
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Fallen Angels + Chungking Express + 2046
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Product Details

  • Actors: Leon Lai, Michelle Reis, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Charlie Yeung, Karen Mok
  • Directors: Kar Wai Wong
  • Writers: Kar Wai Wong
  • Producers: Kar Wai Wong, Jacky Pang Yee Wah, Jeffrey Lau, Norman Law Man
  • Format: Color, Dolby, Letterboxed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Kino Video
  • DVD Release Date: September 2, 2003
  • Run Time: 96 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00000ILEM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #383,155 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Fallen Angels" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Fallen Angels was originally planned as one section of director Wong Kar-Wai's best-known film, Chungking Express, but eventually it grew into its own distinct and delirious shape. In many ways, Fallen Angels may be the better film, a dark, frantic fun-house ride through Hong Kong's nighttime world. Part of the film is a love story between two people who have barely met: a young, ultra-hip hit man (Leon Lai) and the dreamy operative (Michele Reis) who plans his jobs. Much of the movie is given over to a very strange subplot about a manic mute (Takeshi Kaneshiro) who goes on bizarre nocturnal prowls through a closed food market--like almost everything else in Wong's films, this is antic, stylish, and oddly touching, all at the same time. It must be said that, also like Wong's other films, Fallen Angels is fragmented and oblique to the point of occasional incomprehensibility…but then suddenly something wild or wonderful happens, such as the moment when the killer leaves the scene of a spectacular shooting and is promptly waylaid by a cheerful old school chum on a public bus. These coups--whether lyrical, violent, or simply "how on earth did they get that shot?"--are tossed off by Wong and cinematographer Christopher Doyle with all the cool of the hired killer, as though the movie were a cigarette dangling from a pair of oh-so-casual lips. This is exactly why so many otherwise calm critics fell all over themselves in hailing Wong Kar-Wai as one of the most exciting filmmakers of his generation. --Robert Horton

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Master's Best May 18, 2002
Wong Kar-Wai has become my favorite director. He's as talented as Kurasawa, Fellini, Wells, Antonioni, Bergman or Altman. My favorite of his films, maybe because it is the last one I (re)viewed is "Fallen Angels". Wong Kar-Wai has a way of expressing longing that is neither cloying nor sentimental. His films are touching in a deeply profound manner. "Fallen Angels" is the double story of a hitman and his partner and a mute man with a unique business sense. Hilarious and over the top violent at the same time, Wong Kar-Wai pulls this off without a single misstep.
Visually stunning, this film looks like no other, save perhaps "Chungking Express" (which I plan to re-watch this afternoon). It's "Chungking Express" at night. Planned originally as a third episode of "Chungking Express" this film stands alone as a masterpiece of Kar-Wai's art. There are minor illusions to "Chungking Express" which allow the viewer to feel a continuity of spirit and theme. For instance, the mute midnight shop clerk played by Takeshi Kaneshiro mentions in voice-over that he lost his ability to speak after eating a tin of expired pineapple. This will resonate with viewers who have seen "Chungking Express" and bring to mind the character he played in that film. These are blood brothers. Variations of the same love-sick, lonely man.
Kar-Wai's films remind me of Altman in the 70's. You watch his films and wonder why all other directors are so unimaginative and pedestrian. Why does he seem to be the only director doing anything new and unique while even the most celebrated directors just recycle the same old [stuff] you've seen a hundred times before? He's an original. The look, the emotional feel and the grammar of his films belongs to no one else.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars mesmerizing December 21, 2000
Format:VHS Tape|Verified Purchase
"We all need a partner, when will I find mine ?" seems to be the theme running through all of Wong Kar-Wai's films, as well as his other usual ingredients: Mind-bending speed, innovative camera work (by Christopher Doyle), a great soundtrack, and a gorgeous cast. He also manages to show the murky side of society while never losing touch with its humanity. We see that even a cold-blooded hit man can have a side that's endearing.
Takeshi Kaneshiro as the mute is the shining star of this film. He's brilliant and lovable. The "May 30th 1995, I fell in love" scene is one I adore. In slow motion black and white, the background moves at different speeds, fades in and's a piece of pure magical art, a painting come to life.
Like "Chungking Express", it slows down during the second half, and to me, this is when it gets even better. There is so much to see in this film, I know I'll be viewing it many more times, and appreciating its inventiveness...and through the darkness, its sweet soul.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Three individuals whose lives intersect and parallel form the core of this stunningly photographed, moody and intense cinematic masterpiece. A hitman who is getting tired of the messiness of his job; his partner, who plans everything out for him in meticulous detail but would really like to cross the line with him between business and pleasure; a mute, who breaks into other people's businesses at night and forces unwitting passersby to purchase his wares. They rarely ever meet, but they share the same spaces, and sleep the same hours. The film alternates between: the intensely cool portrayal of a hitman with all the style of a Hollywood badboy, and all of the mellow of a Spaghetti Western antihero -- the femme fatale lonely longing that simmers with an undercurrent of anger of his partner -- and the slapstick comic silliness of the mute. The faded neon lights, the eclectic and moody music, the kinetic and flowing camera -- this is unlike anything you've seen unless you've seen a Wong Kar-Wai film and if you have you know that he doesn't ever quite repeat himself. This film shares a good deal with the atmosphere of Chungking Express, but is darker and more moody, and in many ways more intense and exciting -- I love both films but this one has an edginess that you don't find in the other -- you might say that Chungking is the day film and this is the night. One connection between the films is that the mute in this film is played by the same actor as the pineapple-eating policeman in Chungking Express. Their characters share the same name, He Xiwu, and this one lost his voice as a result of eating bad pineapple from an expired can -- but they are not exactly the same as this one never was a policeman and allegedly lost his voice at age 5. A beautiful and exciting film -- definitely one to see for lovers of the art of film.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great movie May 13, 2006
Fallen Angels is a truly special film, but it's not for everyone. It's gritty in a stylish way, shot mostly handheld with available light. But it's not gritty in the way most American pictures are; shaky cameras with perfect lighting and snappy editing. The takes are long, and the film is often grainy.

Wong Kar-Wai explores the transitory nature of life here. It's a little confusing, and the characters are beyond weird, but they really do have heart. The frantic pace and confusion give way to brief, precious moments of poignancy. The bleakness and impermanence of the rest of the film makes these moments feel even more meaningful.

If this sounds like your style, the movie can be very rewarding. But it's definitely not everyone's style. I find Chungking Express is generally a more palatable Wong Kar-Wai picture for viewers with more mainstream tastes.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-watch.
One of the best movies I've ever seen. Fallen Angels is supposed to be a part of Wong Kar Wai''s another great creation, Chungking Express but he just decided to make this a... Read more
Published 2 days ago by Lance Prange
4.0 out of 5 stars Awesome film
Story is a bit strange, but the cinematography is so clever and stimulating. very inspiring for anyone studying film/photography
Published 23 days ago by Dino Mitides
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Published 28 days ago by Licheng Livesay
2.0 out of 5 stars I love indy films.... Wish I could say so this time.
Just too weird.... Never develops a story line I could make any sense of and completely fails with its arcane flashbacks and story skips. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Bill in KC
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
very good film
Published 1 month ago by seafarer22
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 1 month ago by William R Floyd
1.0 out of 5 stars very old story
story is not that great. it is very old. waste of time to watch this movie. didn't like it at all.
Published 3 months ago by venkata sudula
5.0 out of 5 stars Love this movie
I first saw this movie over 15 years ago, and liked it then. The more I see it, the more I find things I didn't notice the previous times. Read more
Published 3 months ago by sun2008
3.0 out of 5 stars High School
I find this movie to be wonderful, a great experience for those who love film and its many possibilities. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Alexander C. Schmidt
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting movie
Published 6 months ago by Doug Temple
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