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PLOT synopsis loosely derived from the DVD back cover:
The time is 1998. The setting is Macau. Every living soul jumps at every chance to make quick money before the Portuguese colony ushers in a new era under the Chinese rule. For the jaded hit men, they wonder where this journey will end.
Against this background of fin-de-siècle malaise come two hit men from Hong Kong sent to take out a renegade member trying to turn over a new leaf with his wife and newborn baby. They soon find themselves in the throes of a dilemma when two of their former associates also show up, intent on thwarting them at every cost. Once there, all 5 men must find a way to resolve the situation. But can they, without getting anyone killed in the process?
At first look, one may take `Exiled' a buddy flick. But believe me; the movie succeeds in side-stepping that impression. Johnnie To is back! This is the type of film his fans loved him for, this is purely a testosterone-driven, bloody heroic violence. The term "epic violence" may apply to this film. This is a guy's film, not to say chicks won't dig it, but males will truly appreciate it more. This is not a sappy, funny comedy.
One of the best things about "Exiled" is the INVENTIVE action sequences. Long distance gunfights are a bit low-key, subtle but extremely intense.Read more ›
I've never seen a film start like this one or end like this one. In between there are too many surprising happening to count. There's a lot of gunplay and at least 4 blood baths (the shootout at the beginning of the film doesn't count because no-one really got hurt). That, by the way, is not the amazing surprise at the beginning of the film.
Outstanding performances all around with special kudos to Anthony Wong Chau-sang who plays 'Blaze'.
A mind-breaking film and very recommended to those who can stomach the violence.
If you want something a bit different with dark humour, style to burn and all the moral conundrums of Le Samauri or Bob le Flambeur, this is your cup of blood.
Talent. The real thing . I know, I can't believe it either.
The cinematography is fine. Yes, the scenes are dark, but that's because it's, well, dark outside a lot of the time, and inside shots do tend to be underlit but for fine dramatic effect. Though most scenes are underlit, this is done creatively, with key lights strategically placed and adding dramatic color to even the darkest settings. The opening scene, in brilliant daylight, is one I use to show off my new plasma TV set. There is a middle sequence that has a strangely yellow pallet that I'm not pleased with, but the rest is fine.
As some have noted, the action sequences are brilliant, particularly the scenes set at the underground doctor's third-floor flat. Shot in semi-slow motion, you have twelve characters, nine from two rival gangs, who are shooting at each other, and all moving in different directions at the same time, with racks of curtains rolling in different directions as the characters push or hide behind them. Each character has a different shooting style and things are happening while everyone is moving quickly. But the brilliant of the action choreography is such that by and large, the action makes perfect sense. I would add the shootouts are enhanced by the device of using guns and ammunition that result in flashes of smoke from each shot. It's a great visual effect. In the second half of this gun battle, the camera is positioned outside the building so the POV shows the three floors at the same time, including an outside stair case. So the viewer sees the one gang shooting from windows on the third floor, fleeing gang members coming down the stairs, and others shooting up from the yard below.Read more ›
Exiled is still my favorite film by To. It's about a guy who returns to a gang infested town with a bad past with all factions. So of course they send some goons to kill him. Well when the killers show up they have a show down that ends in a meal and sleep over. Reason being, they don't kill him yet because they want to help him do some jobs to get money for his soon to be widow and bastard child. The film is filled with this Confucian sense of duty, which makes these men's brotherhood top notch.
The best part of To's Exiled is how its shot. It's not like half the franticly handheld crap that comes out of America in our current "action realism" age. No this film has finesse. Beautiful dolly moves and steadycam work that could make a first year film student rethink shooting his action scene handheld. This guy is a solid filmmaker. He's not quite the Asian version of James Cameron yet, but he is on his way.
The Bad: Asian gang stereotypes! Yes that's right there is a dude they call Boss and he's the bad guy. He actually doesn't come off as that bad of a guy, just a guy who wants to get stuff done.
The Beautiful: There is a scene in a blackmarket hospital, which explodes into a Mexican standoff at point blank. To works the scene perfectly and it is one of the most beautiful dances of death I've ever seen.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is my favorite Hong Kong action film, unfortunately this version is dubbed, there is no option for original audio and subtitles. The dubbing is horrible. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Zachary Roisum
Nice film, liked the action. It seemed inspired by spaghetti westerns.Published 18 months ago by Mike F.