If you're feeling overwhelmed, but still want to squeeze a film into your daily routine, this list is made for…
Triad boss Lung (Eddy Ko), who has just escaped being killed in an assassination attempt hires the killers Curtis (Anthony Wong), James (Lam Suet), Mike (Roy Cheung), Roy (Francis Ng) and Shin (Jackie Lui) for his protection.
Reportedly shot in 12 days with no script, The Mission feels like someone superimposed the loose hangout vibe of Cassavetes' Husbands onto the familial Triad melodrama of Woo's A Better Tomorrow. Which is not to say this exactly resembles either one. Take the mall shootout scene, for instance. It's the antithesis of a Woo shootout. All of the characters remain stationary and the excitement and tension are derived through editing and camera placement (the only camera movements coming as slow push-ins on the actor's faces). This sequence should be studied in film schools for any budding action directors to learn how geography, angle, rhythm, and even character can be utilized to make an exciting, non-traditional action set-piece.
Is there any…
The poetry of The Mission is packing a frame full of bodies with all of them being visible, doing something different than the person they're standing next to, and then having that composition challenged by an outside force wanting to destroy the men in frame. That To can create all of this without even moving his camera much at all is god-like moviemaking.
Seriously though this is a great film. It has all of To's favorite themes he likes to put in his Triad films and is packed in under 90 minutes. One of the reasons he can pull this off is because there is a lot said in this film using no dialogue.
What might need a 5 minute exposition in one film is conveyed in one ice cold glare from Francis Ng. In fact there's a subplot in the film that is conveyed without a single line of dialogue. There's a great deal you can take away from what's going on in the…
Along with EXILED, a terrific entry point into To's world, which makes sense as both are so similar. Both are films of Triads who become friends through their bonds of honor and then have those bonds tested by that same honor. Both communicate these ideas of personal and professional loyalty (and their occasional matter/anti-matter negation) through exchanges of body language and minimal spoken language, the methodical movement of each shootout a display of professionalism borne through their closeness. Here, it takes the form of action scenes that patiently move toward their targets with perfectly orchestrated relay movements of advancement and support as each member progresses to a point to provide cover for the others. Such movement silently establishes the way…
An 84 min action hang out flick that does more with its striped down plot than most movies with 2 hour + running times. Something i could easily watch every couple of months. Also should be required viewing for anyone trying to learn how to shoot an action sequence.
The Mission was completed over only 12 days but I've yet to see a better shot and edited film from Johnnie To. His geometrically precise compositions within the 'Scope frame are quite striking. And what action! Yet the film is equally about stillness. Most of the To regulars such as Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Jackie Lui, Roy Cheung, Lam Suet and Simon Yam are in the film. The film is about Triad boss who barely escapes an assassination and hires a group of bodyguards to thwart any further attempts. His oft-seen philosophical concept of yi, or the code of brotherhood, has rarely been better employed.
Simply yet amazing.
This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Johnny To, as a director, has two extremes. On one end is gritty crime thrillers like the Election duology - which may have an action scene or two, but which otherwise are generally grounded in the real world. On the other end is Exiled, a film which has a fight scene early in the film where several characters in a firefight cause a table to flip and spin end over end with their bullet hits, but ultimately both come out of the film uninjured. In the middle lies The Mission.
The Mission is based around five Triad members - Curtis (Anthony Chau-Sang Wong), Roy (Francis Ng), Shin (Jackie Chung-yin Lui), Mike (Roy Cheung), and James (Suet Lam) - all from…
A busca pelo controle dos espaços e o modo como To coloca isso na tela são os motivos que transformam o enredo simples de The Mission em um elegante filme de ação. Os momentos mais cômicos nem sempre funcionam mas o drama é bem trabalhado e o desfecho não soa caricato.
A triad boss is attacked and gathers a group of hitman to protect him.
Apparently improvised and shot on an incredibly short turn around it seemed to both benefit and suffer because of it. The actors are all To regulars and more than capable of riffing on each other and getting across a convincing closeness.
The shortness of shooting seems to lead to an effort being made to maximise the utility of each location which in turn leads to some pretty good set pieces that mine the locations for visual twists. It also leads to some padding despite the short run time.
The set pieces are good, the mall shoot out in particular has a lot going on thats worth…
I read somewhere this was largely improved, and I'd believe it. Still one heck of an HK gangster mood piece.
A dysfunctional but opportunistic group of hired killers organize together to protect a triad mob boss from repeated assassination attempts.
The shootout sequences in this film impressed me the most, there are no quick or excessive cuts. To deliberately chooses to film in tight or compact spaces with drawn-out moments of tension and lets the viewer anticipate along the protagonists about anything that might happen in the background, building a greater sense of suspense reminiscent of Tarantino or Sergio Leone films.
But like Leone, he doesn't waste time boring you with too much dialogue and lets the film speak for itself, which for a simple action film is much appreciated. Really good pacing.
the mall shootout is one of the best action scene i've ever seen. the rest of the movie is...fine!
To's Rio Bravo (he basically re-made this with Exiled), in that it's largely a hang-out movie. An excuse for some beautifully staged antics, the mall scene capturing the obsessive nature To has towards body's and their position in his geography. Here, a bullet can mean death or a simple goodbye. This might be the most optimistic ending for a To gangster drama, at least for the five main leads. Would possibly rate higher, but the version I saw had some suspicious English subtitles and a wrong aspect ratio.
God, if a third of mainstream directors working today gave half as much care to blocking as Johnnie To the movies would be so much better.
Johnnie To sure can block a scene. I had to watch this with close-captioning instead of proper subtitles, but it didn't matter a lick. Everything is conveyed visually, with the dialogue just convenient signposting. The spatial awareness in every scene is incredible, even more amazing on the budget/shooting schedule, where you'd think long-takes and handheld work would trump careful camera setups. The whole thing is just an excuse to have some excellent set-pieces, but they're so artfully done that it's hard to find any fault in the conceit.
I fucking love shopping centre violence.