The Mission 1999 ★★★★

It's a Johnnie To film starring Anthony Wong with Triads in it. That's all you need to know.

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 background in this movie.

The movie does have violent shootouts, but it's more about friendship, triad professionalism and honor. One thing that is unique is that while we get big shootouts, the finale of the film is much more personal for the characters and involves very little gun-play but the suspense and outcome mean much more then all the other action scenes in the movie. Highly enjoyed!

Anyone who liked this movie should really check out Johnnie To's Exiled that includes some familiar faces from this film including Anthony Wong.

10 Comments

  • Yup, this is great as a double bill with Exiled.

  • I watched this recently too, and loved it. I loved the humor (and the music!). Not quite as slick as Exiled or Vengeance, but great in its own way. I think half of my Netflix queue is To/Milkyway films. Have you seen Vengeance? I feel like I might have already asked you that...

  • Yes loved Vengeance. It was a blind purchase which I never regretted. Yeah when you compare The Mission to Vengeance and Exiled you can see the film hasn't aged that well, but still pretty damn awesome.

  • I actually thought it aged pretty well. I'm not sure which of those three is my favorite - I think they're all really great. I really loved the tone of The Mission. Fun fact - there was no script for The Mission. NO SCRIPT. I guess it shows, but it's still pretty impressive for a film that I think ultimately works. Explains some things at least.

  • That is crazy considering how much is communicated with no dialogue, you'd think it would be harder to do with no script. Saying it's dated might be my little thing that whenever I hear synthesizer music being used to score a film I find it makes it dated... kinda like Scarface... but it doesn't detract from my enjoyment of the film on any level.

  • ah, gotcha on dated. I absolutely can see that. I absolutely still love the cheesy music. =)

  • Especially in one scene in particular where Curtis murders someone and the cheerful tune kicks in before the guy even hits the floor lol. It somehow just works.

  • I shall add The Mission to my watch list, well all three in fact!

  • You know when a director is a master of his craft when he can use basically the same cast over again but with different characters, when he can tell a subplot without dialogue or tell things through the actors' glares and such. To can also shoot these magic cinema scenes. You know, having a bunch of hired triads play paperball soccer while nobody see them, or just an alcohol contest for example. Or just send you shivers down your spine from killing someone sitting in the woods near the river with a giant rock, etc... Heck, he can make us smile only from often showing a character eating shelled peanuts.

  • @:SpearheadBT: I need to watch this again.

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