Friday, August 29, 2008

Running Out of Time review

Cheung (Andy Lau) a man diagnosed with cancer given only fourteen days to live decides to fill them with a complicated three day game involving hostage negotiator Ho. Full of diamond heists, identity confusion and clever revenge driven cons, Ho is in it to win by arresting Cheung.

The Good?
Andy Lau steals the show. He combines the smooth, witty criminal with the vulnerable blood coughing terminal patient to create a character you can't help but root for and love.

Johnnie To pulls off the unexpected humor very well, making it one of the film's best qualities. Anything from cross-dressing and mistaken sexual identities to silly, clever tricks, Suet Lam gags and moments of awkwardness are scattered throughout the film.

The film handles the standard conventions of crime and cat and mouse dramas well, such as the cop/criminal cooperation from the Negotiator or the respectful relationship between the two in The Killer. There is a sense of familiarity, and "been-there, done that" moments in the film, but it benefits from being able to handle these solidly.

A clever script with interesting heist scenes consisting of 'unexpected' turns. Fans of films like 2001's Ocean's Eleven will find themselves at home.

The Bad?
The lack of originality in many areas lessens the impact of surprising plot twists and clever ploys. It stays safe and makes reliable choices, but it keeps this good film from becoming a great film.


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