I was recommended to this movie by my brother. His recommendations rarely go wrong. Though I enjoyed this film a lot, there are few things I want to say upfront about the movie.
The production values of the movies, the costumes, the settings everything resembles the first Sherlock Holmes movie by Guy Ritchie. There is a gentleman Cop, There is rogue cop. You see smoke emitting buildings far away. Whenever it rains there is something bad happens in the movie. We have Irene Adler there and Little Lark here. A similar explosion is handled at the end of the movie. Let us say, it is like the remake of “The Girl with dragon Tattoo” of US version.
Now the good things! The plot is superb. The story is set in 1930s. There is ammunition factory in China which is owned by (retarded) person. He punishes a person for stealing a box of bullets. Not by law, but letting the divine intervention decide her fate. A game of Russian roulette is played and the girl is killed. Mysterious sentences appear in the wall and the floors warning the workers about a phantom bullet which will kill them all. Adding to the injury, two of the factory people are killed by pistol but the bullet, the main evidence is nowhere to be found.
A honest cop (played to perfection by Lau Ching Wan) from another province is transferred to this place, mainly to find the corrupted officers. He joins a quick gun officer (Nicholas Tse) who is in charge of the case and goes on giving his expertise and Sherlock Holmes like observation. Where they able to find the phantom bullet and the criminal? Who was behind this all? These knots are cleverly and stylishly undone by the director at the end.
Coming to the performance, I think everybody was good except for the owner of the ammunition factory. He has performed for million dollars though he would have only paid peanuts I believe. The right amount of humor here and there and the tight screenplay helps the audience to sit till the end of the movie. The camera angle and the special effects of the movie are to be given special mention. Because most of the scenes as per script are shot in dark alleys and rainy nights. The gun fight challenges and the sequences were brilliant. The Russian roulette played at the end of the movie is one of the best endings I have seen in recent times. The previous best was the last frame of “Memories of Murder”
If you are a fan of police procedural and intelligent investigations then this film won’t disappoint you.
Disclaimer – The Chinese actors names were sourced from Wikipedia. I do not know Chinese and the subtitles didn’t give me that.