Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Old Boy Is Back With A Vengeance!
Gotta get it, gotta get it, gotta get it... Did PLANET GRIFFIN mention that you've gotta get it?
Nominated for the PALME d'OR at this years Cannes Film Festival, Director JOHNNIE TO comes back with a, well, VENGEANCE! Originally slated to star legendary french actor ALAIN DELON (LeSAMOURAI), the role went to legendary french rocknrolla JOHNNY HALLYDAY (rocking the best Payback Pokerface I've seen in a minute!) With Hong Kong film legends ANTHONY WONG and SIMON YAM, you are definitely looking at the future of the revenge/payback genre!
The film setup is fairly simple: 20 years ago, a french assassin hung up his guns and became a chef and family man. Fast forward. After the particularly vicious murder of his entire family in Macau, the old frenchman comes back to town, bringing the old bad habits with him. Revenge as his sole existence, he bands with a crew of local gunmen to finish what he's about to start... Getting back... In the saddle... Again.
Now, for the twist: The Adler frenchman suffers from a bullet which is lodged in his head near his brain. As a result, his bouts of memory loss can, at times, be significant to the point where, like Christopher Nolan's MEMENTO, he must rely on labeled photos to tell friend from foe and recall his motivations. It begs the question: What does vengeance truly mean when you've lost all memory? Here is where the blood soaked world of Johnnie To begins...
Playing out as a smashgenre mix of MEMENTO, OLDBOY (even the one sheet of the movie pays homage to the Park-Chan Woo classic), and TAKEN with a french Charles Bronson in the lead; VENGEANCE delivers on all points! Johnny Halladay is surprising in this flick, especially once you discover that the rock star is 66 years old doing an action version of Lee Marvin's role from POINT BLANK and taking no prisoners should tell you something! Johnnie To's trademarks are in full effect here (i.e., deep neon colors steeped against a bleak, rainy background sapped of color, smoky atmosphere, stylized bloodspray, slow-mo), where the violence is sudden and brutal... In other words, try this movie with a group of friends on a friday night and see if the room stays quiet...
For those who don't know Johnnie To should do your homework... Viewed as a cross between WONG KAR WAI and JOHN WOO, He has jumpstarted the action crime genre in his backyard of Hong Kong with such hits as ELECTION, ELECTION 2, EXILED, and THE SPARROW
( for the record, all of them are off the hook!), and is currently pushing development on a remake of the 1970 French crime thriller THE RED CIRCLE. After VENGEANCE, I know I can't wait to see what's next! PLANET GRIFFIN puts the high recommendation on this flick when it hits DVD on these shores!
Gotta get it, Gotta get it, Gotta get it...