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TIME AND TIDE (SEUNLAU NGAKLAU) (director/writer: Tsui Hark; screenwriter: Koan Hui; cinematographer: Ko Chiu-lam; editor: Marco Mak; cast: Nicholas Tse (Tyler), Wu Bai (Jack), Anthony Wong (Uncle Ji), Candy Lo (Ah Hui), Cathy Tsui (Ah Jo), Couto Remotigue Jr. (Miguel Joventino); Runtime: 113; Tristar; 2000-Hong Kong)
“I can’t find any entertainment value in this cartoon-like violent film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

I can’t find any entertainment value in this cartoon-like violent film. It’s a Hong Kong action film by Tsui Hark, who is returning to his native Hong Kong stomping grounds after some ill-advised Hollywood-financed co-productions starring Jean-Claude Van Damme. He’s the master of such uninspiring action films, which are more like playing a video game than a movie. In this fast-paced escapist escapade, there’s hardly a pause for a story to surface.

If you are a fan of this action genre, then you should be pleased with how well the fight scenes were choreographed–even if, it’s not original. It’s a film geared strictly for the ‘young and restless’ crowd. It has a disconnected story about drugs and it even has a morality theme to end on: “With hope everything can start over.”

The story centers around two men who will meet under violent circumstances and become friends of convenience–Tyler (Nicholas Tse) and Jack (Wu Bai).

Tyler, working as a bartender, meets undercover cop Ah Jo, who is a lesbian. She’s at the bar recovering from a falling out with her girlfriend lover. They get drunk, go to his pad, and she gets pregnant. He falls in love with her, but she wants nothing to do with him. He thinks by getting big money, he can seduce her. So he goes to work as a bodyguard for the low-level crime boss, Uncle Ji, putting the money he earns under her door, hoping to some day open his own bodyguard service. He also dreams of a quiet beach in South America as his paradise. But she rejects his money and him.

On one of Tyler’s assignments he is guarding Thomas Hong, a wealthy criminal kingpin who is having a birthday party at a ritzy hotel. The guards are alerted that there is a hired killer called “Little Rat’ who will try to assassinate Hong. But it is a South American gang that has him targeted. Meanwhile Jack has returned to Hong Kong with his pregnant wife Ah Hui (Candy Lo), whose father-in-law Hong doesn’t accept him into the family– calling him riffraff. Jack once lived in South America as a mercenary and worked for that drug gang.

With Uncle Ji in charge of protecting the kingpin, Tyler becomes his right-hand men. Whatever the plot, which has something to do with two drug cartels going after one another, it fails to hold together as this becomes solely a crowd pleasing martial arts movie–where everything is in the thrill of a good shootout and a good kickboxing scene.

I did not see the beauty in the action shots of people going through glass windows, a woman who just gave birth on the run, blasting away at a gangster with heavy firearms; and, the acrobatic taking away of grenades from the baddies by the amoral hero.

REVIEWED ON 11/28/2001 GRADE: C-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”