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September 2007
EXILED (Fong juk)

By Kam Williams

EXILED (Fong juk)


Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Director: Johnnie To
Screenwriter: Kam-Yuen Szeto, Tin-Shing Yip
Starring: Anthony Wong, Ellen Chan, Francis Ng, Josie Ho, Ka Tung Lam, Nick Cheung, Richie Ren, Roy Cheung, Simon Yam, Suet Lam
Rated R for sexuality and graphic violence.
In Cantonese with subtitles.
Running time: 113 minutes

 

   

Hong Kong Hit Men Chase Macao Mobster in High-Octane Chopsocky

It is Macao in 1998, just before the former Portuguese colony is about to be transferred back to Chinese rule. When a gangster named Wo (Nick Cheung) tries to turn over a new leaf by settling down with his wife (Josie Ho) and newborn, the boss (Simon Yam) of his former crime family dispatches a couple of hit men (Suet Lam and Anthony Wong) from Hong Kong to execute the renegade mobster.

Meanwhile, a couple of Wo’s equally-jaded colleagues (Francis Ng and Roy Cheung) learn of their pal’s predicament and opt to come to the rescue. Subsequently, the tension builds during a deliberately very pregnant pause as the adversaries anticipate a big showdown while waiting in an ominous atmosphere thick enough to carve with a ginsu knife.

This is the gripping point of departure of Exiled, a cliché ridden chopsocky directed by Johnnie To. If you are familiar with Breaking News, his high-octane adventure from 2004, then you already have a good idea of what to expect here from the Honk Kong chopsocky veteran. Once you’ve got To’s cliché-ridden plot figured out, all that’s left for you to do is sit back and relish the ballet-like bloodsport unabashedly served up by this flick’s stylized fight sequences, reminiscent of the eye-pleasing, if gratuitous, gore of such over-stimulation mavens as John Woo and Sam Peckinpah. Taut testosterone-sodden titillation, if graphic gunplay’s your pleasure.