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"Fulltime Killer"

Directed by Johnny To and Ka-Fai Wai.
Written by Ka-Fai Wai and Joey O'Bryan.
Starring Andy Lau and Takashi Sorimachi.
Release Year:  2001
Review Date:  4/29/02 


I had to close out my viewings with something ridiculously violent, Hong Kong-cool, and loaded with assault shotguns...and, “Fulltime Killer” fits the bill.  Is the hitman movie dead?  Not if the story is as interesting as the one in this film.  A Japanese hitman (bad-ass Takashi Sorimachi) and a Chinese professional killer (Andy Lau) go head-to-head to prove who is the best pro in Asia.  With a continent-hopping set of locations that takes us through Japan, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and a boatload of other locales, the scenery is top-notch.  It helps that directors Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai know what people all over the world like in their action films—great action and funny leads, a light touch of romance plus some great references to other great action-adventures made all over the world; by referring to Luc Besson’s “The Professional”, “Point Break”, Robert Rodriguez’s “Desperado” and various Hong Kong classics, they keep hardcore movie fans in the loop the whole way through.  Plus, the score is just off-the-wall enough to appear “eclectic”, not “totally effing weird.”

Rating:  Opening Weekend


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
© 1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09