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The Mission
   |     review    |     awards     |     availability     |      
Chinese: 鎗火
Year: 1999
Director: Johnnie To Kei-Fung
Cast: Francis Ng Chun-Yu, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Roy Cheung Yiu-Yeung, Jackie Lui Chung-Yin, Lam Suet, Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Wong Tin-Lam, Eddy Ko Hung
The Skinny: Johnnie To brings us his most meticulously directed film, an unexpected crime thriller that's fascinating in its subtlety and controlled emotion. Quite easily one of the best pictures of the year.
 
Review
by Kozo:

Johnnie Tos latest treatment of the crime genre arrives is yet another top-notch Milky Way production. Five different triad members are brought together for one mission: to protect Brother Lung (Eddy Ko), who has unknown assassins out for his hide. Roy (Francis Ng) is a minor boss whos brought into the group along with his right-hand guy Shin (Jackie Lui). James (Lam Suet) is the resident gun expert, Mike (Roy Cheung) is a parking boy whos an ace marksman, and Curtis (Anthony Wong) is the cold-blooded killer of the group. 

Despite their disparate styles and personalities, these five guys turn out be quite a team. They form a bond of brotherhood amidst the triad underworld, and thats pretty much all this movie is about. Sure that sounds hackneyed, but this is a Milky Way picture, where the themes are unexplained, the emotions bottled, and the context paramount. Basically we just watch as these guys wander through these situations, revealing bits and pieces of their individual characters. What occurs in the film makes complete sense despite the lack of overt exposition. The characters are revealed so well that we're able to understand who they are and what they're doing through minor emotion, or even just the slightest physical action.

The rest of the film is all extraneous but utterly essential minutiae about the day-to-day of the mission. Johnnie To puts his fingerprints all over the movie, and it shows in the controlled directorial style, which yields some of the most interesting action sequences put to film. This is a great genre piece that succeeds with casual moments of sacrifice, honor, and silent brotherhood. Johnnie To has cited The Seven Samurai as an influence, and a connection between the two films can easily be seen. In both films inaction and stillness are as riveting as kinetic action, and the internal lives of the genre character take on extraordinary meaning. Maybe The Mission will be too slow for some, but for the fans its an engaging bit of pulp fiction. (Kozo 1999)

 
Awards:

19th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Winner - Best Director (Johnnie To Kei-Fung)
• Nomination - Best Picture
• Nomination - Best Supporting Actor (Lam Suet)
• Nomination - Best Editing (Chan Chi-Wai)
• Nomination - Best Action Design (Chen Ka-Sun)
• Nomination - Best Original Score (Chung Chi-Wing)
6th Annual Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
• Best Picture
• Best Director (Johnnie To Kei-Fung)
Golden Horse Awards
• Winner - Best Actor (Francis Ng Chun-Yu)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Milkyway Image, Ltd.

   
   
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