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Fulltime Killer (2001)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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 / 10
3 votes
Action, Action Thriller
Johnnie To Johnnie To
Ka-Fai Wai Ka-Fai Wai
Andy Lau Andy Lau
Takashi Sorimachi Takashi Sorimachi
Simon Yam Simon Yam
Kelly Lin Kelly Lin
Cherrie Ying Cherrie Ying
Review by Chad
Added: October 15, 2004
Starting up the movie, we find an assassin by the name of O (Takashi Sorimachi) plying his trade on a couple of guys coming off of a train. Even though O is the top professional killer in the land, he does this in broad daylight, with a large number of witnesses. This leads Lee (Simon Yam), a member of Interpol, to pick up the case and try to capture O. Meanwhile, another assassin by the name of Tok (Andy Lau) is also picking off a few guys in another part of the country, and once again in front of a large crowd. His profile is also thrown onto Lee's to-capture list, and he starts tracking both assassins down. Going back to O, we find him discussing some issues with his housekeeper Chin (Kelly Lin), a lady that he has a crush on. What he doesn't know, however, is that Tok is in town and is putting the moves on Chin as well... and what he also doesn't know, is that Tok wants to take O's position as number one assassin by killing him. Betrayal, love, murder, and plenty of shoot-outs arise out of this situation, with Interpol breathing down both of their necks.

When you break the movie down, it has all of the elements of your typical American popcorn-action film. A pretty loose (overall) storyline, lots of explosions, a large number of big guns being put to use, plenty of murders, and a budding romance for the ladies in the crowd. In contrast to American cinema, however, we find that the director actually wanted to do more than use a lot of CGI effects and make an action-packed trailer. The storyline flows along nicely (with a lot of twists that I didn't want to spoil), and it always stays just above the action and effects in terms of importance. The romance angle was another thing that caught me off-guard, as I'm used to the American version of it... woman gets into trouble, good guy saves the girl before killing the villain, the hero and the lady kiss, credits. This isn't the case here, as the romance is actually a pretty integral part of the storyline, and there's much more to it than just being there for the sake of the romantics watching the movie, especially after a few twists later on in the plot.

The acting was another thing that made this movie much more enjoyable than it could have been had it been Americanized. The typical one-liners are non-existent here and there's no set hero / villain combination, which allows for a lot of variety in the acting department for both of the lead gentlemen. Takashi Sorimachi (O) is the better of the two, pulling out a great performance as the quiet, reserved assassin that breaks out all the stops in order to get the job done. A flawless performance from him, to say the least. Andy Lau (Tok), was the most shocking person here; when I saw that he's a pop-star jumping over to movies, I was fully expecting a below-average acting job from him. This was definitely not the case, as he came across as a veteran of the craft. The character is quite the cocky fellow, very egocentric, yet Lau comes off as totally believable in the role without becoming dull or annoying. Though Takashi was the more enjoyable of the pair, Lau certainly didn't slouch here, which resulted in some great chemistry between the two. Kelly Lin (Chin) starts out pretty slow, coming off as average-at-best for the first quarter of the movie. While she's not bad, per se, she just didn't do anything for me as an actress. All of this changes, however, when the rivalry between the two guys starts to heat up with her caught in the middle. At this point, Lin does a complete turnaround with her screen presence, and breaks out a performance that comes dangerously close to stealing the scenes she's involved in. A great job from the cast all around, which is something that is unusual for films of this nature.

If you're a fan of action films, this would definitely be one to check out. You get the best of both worlds here; plenty of original action sequences, lots of bloodshed and plenty of explosions, with a great storyline to tie everything together. Action flicks of this caliber are few and far between these days, so if you're a fan, you'd be well off to give this one a chance. 8/10.
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Sho #1: Sho - added 09/29/2004, 01:49 AM
Great beginning, and a fun movie to watch all the way through.
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