High-budget pulp. A very, very dumb "maybe the real savages...ARE US" script which takes its sweet-ass time traipsing through a very '70s police procedural (reminiscent of a more leisurely giallo) elevated by a painterly eye for the shambles of Ol' Dirty NYC. Hines and Olmos are both phenomenal, and Finney wandered out of some other movie entirely, which is worth something.
Confronts the fatalism that drives so much noir yet often goes unexamined--how to live when, in Frank's words "nothing means nothing".
Boiling over with class rage, and hemmed in by an existential terror that can only be defeated through violence; Admiring the simple act of a man at work while challenging the end result--the boss gets the spoils, the working man gets screwed.
Noir at its best makes you forget the tropes even while it uses them to break your heart. But don't admit your heart's broken. Plant the explosive, get in the car, and drive away while the building blows up. Don't look back.
Avoided this for years due to the corny English title and poster (I know, I know) but this has got to be one of To's best. What's especially satisfying to me is the lack of distance between stops in To's genre hopping; how he handles crime pictures and rom-coms with the same kind of electricity and kineticism, not to mention the same pet motifs (finding these eerily desolate pockets of Hong Kong in the nighttime, which takes my breath away…