Posted in Fantasia 2016, Fantasia International Film Festival, Film Festivals, Reviews, Trailers, Video

Three – review @ Fantasia 2016

Three2016Three / 三人行 / Saam1 Jan4 Hang4 (2016)
Director: Johnnie To
Screenplay: Yau Nai-Hoi, Lau Ho-Leung, Mak Tin-Shu
Cast: Louis Koo, Wallace Chung, Vicki Zhao, Lam Suet

The next screening of this movie will be on July 18.

A crime thriller from one of the masters of the genre is always something to look forward to. This one was shot only in one location, a hospital, and without a script. Usually this would not sound promising on its own but Johnnie To and the acting talent give this film a good chance at being not just good but even more. The story mostly turns out coherent with a well revealed surprise and well defined characters. Although the inevitable chaos is triggered by a very fortuitous, almost unbelievable turn of events involving a key. This isn’t an action movie so don’t expect much in that department except for the final shootout.

An injured robber, Shun (Wallace Chung), with a bullet stuck in his head is brought to the hospital by detective Chen (Louis Koo) and his team. It’s revealed very early on that a cop shot him but the circumstances are suspicious. An overworked Dr. Tong (Zhao Wei) is assigned to take care of the patient and recommends immediate surgery but Shun refuses. Detective Chen tries to get Shun to tell him where his accomplices are before they hit another target.

Louis Koo plays the gruff detective well but is perhaps too much like a statue with his seemingly perpetual glare unwavering throughout the entire movie. Zhao Wei’s doctor character is more multi-layered, and is arguably the main character. Her plot involves a patient she performed risky surgery on which didn’t yield successful results, which shakes her confidence a bit in her skills. Shun is the most charismatic and entertaining if unusually Shakespearean in his over the top monologues. The acting is very solid all around even if the actors aren’t given that much to work with, particularly Shun. Zhao Wei’s performance is definitely noteworthy here, which is why she has long been considered a top Chinese actress.

The final shootout is done in slow motion and looked very impressive. Although the choice of song that they played over all the gunshots was a bit odd. The hospital surgery scenes looked authentic (at least to my uneducated mind). Technical aspects of the movie were very good. This may not be To’s best but it’s definitely a solid, entertaining movie and if you like this genre, it’s worth checking out. It’s no surprise that the first screening sold out.

This film was seen in the theatre at the Fantasia Film Festival.

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Author:

Longtime fan of East Asian films. Former "movie reporter" on the music radio show / podcast "Beats From The East" broadcasted on Concordia University's CJLO 1690AM radio station in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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