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Cops and Robbers, Cantonese-Style
[NASSAU Edition]
Newsday - Long Island, N.Y.
Author: Anderson, John
Date: Jun 18, 1993
Start Page: 75
Section: PART II/WEEKEND
Abstract (Document Summary)

KEYWORD HIT {STAR} {STAR} {STAR} 1/2 (three and half stars) HARD-BOILED. (U) Mayhem has never looked better than in John Woo's latest high-caliber cops-and-robbers thriller, even if the plot is a bit slippery. With Chow Yun-fat, Tony Chiu Wai Leung, Philip Chan, Teresa Mo. Screenplay by Barry Wong. Directed by John Woo. In Cantonese with English subtitles. At Cinema Village, 22 E. 12th St., near University Place, Manhattan. JOHN WOO, HONG KONG'S master choreographer of cinematic violence, has blasted the action genre onto a whole new level. His shootouts are a ballet; his firebombings are poetry. And while he lets the body count get away from him, he constantly fascinates, through a combination of chaos and an excruciating control over what we're allowed to see.

When Tony accidentally kills another cop during the fight, it exacerbates his existing recriminations about his job, how it forces him to kill innocent people, how he doesn't feel like a real cop. He's set up as a counterweight to Tequila, the consummate renegade, played with sneering charm by Chow (proclaimed in the ads as "The Next Action Hero"), a Woo favorite. Tequila plays clarinet, and says he always plays a song when a colleague dies; Tony makes origami cranes, one for every life he's taken. The artistic sides to their personalities are merely a concession to dramatic form, although in the course of crushing the megalomaniacal arms kingpin Johnny (Anthony Wong), they achieve a kinship of blood.

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