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全職殺手 (2001)
Fulltime Killer

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Beat TG
Date: 03/10/2009
Summary: Unusual but still a good Johnnie To actioner

It's still good in my eyes, slightly better than the last time I saw it in fact. The story was still conventional mostly, relying too much on elements found in other movies including a love subplot and goes far from Johnnie To's standards as I would say Wai Ka Fai had more to do with everything than To did. But for some reasons, there are things in the movie that I indeed love because of the good cast and crew doing what they always do; delivering the job fast and effectively.

The cast members (most of whom were already became Johnnie To's trademark actors), as always, are used well despite having to follow a script that's in English most of the time which can be hideous to hear at times (though I had no problems whatsoever). Andy Lau was good but not great, he's his charmy and showy self here and poses for the most part during action scenes and get to deliver cool lines which is entertaining. I could say the same thing about the Japanese actor who plays a silent type character falling for a woman that lives nearby and later they team up with each other, but I thought the naturalism of his character made him, while not as likable as Andy Lau, more believable. Simon Yam (the best actor in the movie in my mind) does a bit of different stuff here and I think it's refreshing that he can play a little more lively characters opposed to the stoic and quiet characters he often gets to play which is a bit boring to watch all the time. Kelly Lin and Cherrie Ying doesn't do much exceptional stuff but they still turned into good performances and were surprisingly capable of not overdoing their performances and such.

And, of course, the movie wouldn't have become as favored by many fans and followers of HK movies if it weren't for the action scenes which are quite plenty in numbers and are very involving and intense, keeping things happening when it has to and make situations interesting. Just to mention the varity of things the action features; there's assassinations, chases, shoot-outs (kinda similar-looking to John Woo's action scenes but still very different), stunts (was nice to see Andy Lau doing that stunt where a train passed by him, and it was real too!) and so on, nicely handled by To and crew.

Overall, I will have to say that FULLTIME KILLER is very good but don't expect a usual Johnnie To movie because it's too standard, out-of-style (for him) and doesn't look like a movie that belongs to him either.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/08/2006
Summary: a fun, fan-boy, flick...

this effort from johnnie to is based on the novel, of the same name, by pang ho cheung - now a director of such films as 'you shoot, i shoot' and 'men suddenly in black'.

it's the story of o (takashi sorimachi) a cool, slick and efficient hired killer and tok (andy lau) as a young, brash and theatrical hitman, who watches too many action films. tok want's to take o's place as the number one assassin in asia and sets about manufacturing a confrontation.

there's lots of amusingly stylised action sequences that range from the sublime to the absurd. basically, it's a lot of fun though and it's fan-boy referencing and sytlisation, shouldn't distract from the fact that it's a pretty interesting set-up in it's own right.

it is now my second favourite johnnie to film, behind the excellent 'where a good man goes'...

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 05/17/2005

Fulltime Killer is an existential action thriller, the story of two professional assassins who live to kill. Both are act without remorse or second thoughts, are highly effective and completely relentless. Takashi Sorimachi plays O, the Japanese killer who is considered the best in his (admittedly limited) field. He kills efficiently, dispatching the target, his bodyguards and anyone who could identify him. He is quick, clean and much in demand by those who employ him. Andy Lau is Tok, a Chinese killer who wants to replace O but who is considered too showy and flamboyant. When O executes a hit he simply walks away and disappears into the crowd. Tok escapes by riding a motorcycle while a police station explodes in the background.

They are brought together by Tok’s envy of O and Tok’s desire to replace him as the most sought after assassin in Asia. While they stalk and spy on each other, they are also linked by Miss Chin, played by Kelly Lin. She is O’s housekeeper and Tok’s girlfriend but is attracted to both--she is a good girl who is a sucker for a bad boy. Simon Yam is Inspector Lee of Interpol who leads a team going after both of the killers and who (literally in one case) are always just a step behind them.

There are references galore to other movies: El Mariachi and Desperado, Blood Simple, Hard Boiled, Point Blank, The Godfather, Samurai and probably plenty of others that I missed. Even the Warner Brothers cartoons of Chuck Jones are referenced—one of the more outrageous assassinations by Tok has “Largo Factorum” from The Barber of Seville accompanying the action, in much the same way that Bugs Bunny committed mayhem to the tune of Mozart, Wagner or Rossini.

The action scenes are excellent. There are cars that blow up when shot, pistols that are accurate at 500 yards and huge shotguns that appear from beneath short leather jackets but even with these clichés the action set pieces created by Johnny To are exciting, fast paced, very violent and seamlessly shot and edited.

Sorimachi is properly dour and brooding, almost phlegmatic. His understated acting personifies the loneliness and isolation of his character. Lau, in keeping with his character, has a much more florid style—Tok could be a fulltime smirker as well as a fulltime killer.

While not exactly a return to heroic bloodshed—there aren’t any heroes here—Fulltime Killer uses many of that genre’s conventions. Very much worth seeing and recommended.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: bkasten
Date: 07/25/2003
Summary: Excellent! ...and not so excellent...

The first time I saw this movie I only had time to watch roughly the first half. At that point in the movie I was blown away by the story, the characters, the atmosphere, and the somewhat dark humor of the film. I thought I was seeing among the better "film-noir" type flicks I had seen in a while.

Then I watched the second half...

And then Simon Yam showed up...

And then I just thought the movie sidetracked (or rather derailed) into solid mediocrity.

While Simon Yam's ridiculous performance didn't help, the story (or maybe the direction of the story) went from from being "out there, but interesting" to "excessive," to "completely ridiculous." Watch it and you'll see what I mean.

As for Simon "direct to video" Yam: I guess he has had his moments in HK cinema...and I certainly liked some of his performances when he was a TVB actor...and I have certainly NOT seen all of his "movies"...but I just cannot take him seriously anymore. Maybe I am missing something...

Just as an aside, I have seen at least three versions of this movie, each with different soundtracks (of widely varying quality). The mix of languages can make things really difficult. I strongly suggest listening to the original Cantonese soundtrack, which should mean you will get the Mandarin, the Japanese and the English. Got that? Actually the mix of languages really adds to the atmosphere...especially at the beginning.

Definitely worth seeing, if not buying.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 05/02/2003
Summary: Tacky rubbish.

Cheesy, geeky, annoying and totally unimportant. I didn't even think the action was that good. A total disappointment.

Reviewed by: YutGouHoYun
Date: 03/28/2003
Summary: Fulltime Suck

This movie dumb, Watch Assassins with Sly Stallone and Antonio "How Do you Say" Banderas. Better than fulltime suckage.

Reviewed by: Wu'xiaBadger
Date: 01/17/2003
Summary: Full Beast, No exceptions

There are a helluva lot of reviews already, but since this is such a good movie, I figured I'd add my opinion. Johnnie To has made some good movies, but I thought this was his opus. Great story, acting, pacing, cinematography, etc; nearly a flawless film. If all HK movies were this good, I'd never watch anything else.
As far as going overboard to appeal to international viewers, I'd suggest first reading the source novel before making such accusations. Is "Lord of the Rings" too fantasy oriented? Sure, Simon Yam's English was a little off, but I didn't feel it detracted in the slightest from the movie. Likewise with characters speaking Japanese, I found it to be a nice touch of realism-I hate it in HK flicks when two Japanese men are talking to each other in Cantonese.
Finally, I enjoyed all the references to manga and movies past. This may be Andy Lau's best performance, it rivals his role in "Running Out of Time." So for personal reasons, I give it 10/10

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: mehaul
Date: 07/11/2002

Andy Lau and Johnnie To strike out with this movie. Two assassins with different agendas wind up facing off against each other. While the same girl falls for both of them. At times the style of the movie almost holds it together, but in the end the parts far outweigh the sum. I would skip this movie 4/10.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: resdog781
Date: 06/04/2002
Summary: KELLY LIN = HOT

Kelly Lin is SO HOT.

The rest of this movie was derivative, unimaginative, and just.....effortless. Like, the actual movie stopped 2/3 of the way through because Simon Yam (read: THE WRITERS) couldn't think of a goddamn way to end the story!!!! The whole thing was basically concocted by Andy Lau just so he could go *swishy hand movements* "hey, look at me!!! I'm so cool!" The end product just ends up one big pandering, derivative mess.

But....Kelly Lin. Goddamn son.

Reviewed by: zarrsadus
Date: 05/27/2002
Summary: so-so movie

Going back and doing some reviews I missed so this might not be 100% accurate...
I was expecting a lot more from this movie than I got. With all the advertising and promotion for Fulltime Killer, I guess I was just let down. Sure Andy Lau acted decently, but it just wasn't there I guess to really draw me in. The last good assassin-type movie I saw was "You Shoot, I Shoot" and I highly recommend that to anyone who saw Fulltime Killer and either enjoyed it or didn't heh. Overall I'd give this movie 6/10.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Kyashan
Date: 05/01/2002

I watched this movie one week ago and I found it a good movie. This is a good story killer against killer with a good cast. Is beautiful also thanx to computer graphic, but without, should however a good movie.

Reviewed by: Legolas
Date: 04/15/2002
Summary: Very Stylish

I don't know what everybody is complaining about, i really liked this movie, it was really stylish. The opening scene at the train station was really cool as was O's character.

The only things i can think of that was bad about this movie is that friggin cop! simon yin or someshit, i mean the dickhead cant speak english for shit, why didnt they make him do all his lines in chinese or hire an actor that can actually speak english, to me that wrecked alot of the movie. Another thing is they're trying to make andy lau's character too wild and crazy, i mean does he have to walk around with that stupid smirk on his face all the time? I really like O tho, he was really professional and calm, really good acting.

i'd give this movie 8/10

p.s the first time i watched this movie i was stoned :D so yer it was really cool, u should try it

Reviewed by: tdockweiler
Date: 02/16/2002

I almost wasn’t going to do a review of this movie, but decided to anyway. I’m not any good at writing reviews and don’t really know how to write a good one, but I will see what I can do. I did hear about this movie and have heard almost nothing good about it unfortunately, yet I didn’t really read many reviews, because I didn’t want anything ruined for me. I did not view this knowing what to expect as far as the story goes. I had actually viewed the movie hoping to really like it but not expecting the best movie of the year. From the start and through the first 15 minutes I saw what was what looked like a Hollywood style of movie. I can’t quite describe why I thought that exactly, but that’s just what I recall thinking.

I think the people behind this movie tried to hard to make the movie look as cool as possible. A lot of effort definitely went into the movie for that., but it’s almost as if someone behind the camera was just showing off! It is pretty cool at first, just the way they did certain things, but they seemed to have over done it and after awhile you just get sick of it. The film is filled with incredibly dumb scenes that to me were very bad I hate to admit.

One scene Tok walks into a prison blowing people away left and right. All this in slow motion of course, which I also got tired of. He walks up to a prisoner and instead of blowing him away which would have been the easiest route to take, instead just drops a bunch of grenades all over his cell floor and then throws the real one in with them. I don’t know what the point of this was. Maybe Tok wanted to make sure the person was really dead, just in case maybe multiple gun shots to the head didn’t do the trick. Then you get the cool (not my opinion) slow-mo explosion. Hey, maybe they just figured if it they had put in some explosions people would think it was much cooler and would like it more! Wow, I guess you can learn some things from Hollywood after all!

Compared to other “bad guys” I’ve seen in movies, Andy Lau’s character to me doesn’t seem quite as evil as he should be really. I’m used to seeing him in all these other nice-guy roles, so that his character just didn’t come across to me as that much of a truly evil person. Sure she killed lots of people, but still that doesn’t exactly make us all hate his character. Oh and yeah of course all the people he kills during one scene are just “losers” so he says in the subtitles, If I recall correctly. Yet another dumb scene: He wants to prove he is REALLY a professional killer, so he goes out and murders people in 15 minutes and gets back to where he was just as the clock sound goes off. Wow, that’s amazing! How did he do that?! He definitely is a killer after all! There is ambulances and police cars coming down the road! That’s you’re proof right there, and all in 15 minutes!

The world in this film is nowhere near being realistic. My example is that in this movie you can walk into a train station, blow a bunch of people away and walk slowly away like nothing happened, with the gun still in your hand! No security guards or anything. Oh wait, I forget it’s just a movie not reality! Or wait, you can be surrounded by the police from all sides but still escape, but wait you need another professional killer waiting there on the rooftop to help you out. How they planned all that, I have no idea. It’s a movie, it has to work out that way.

Some people complained about to much usage of english in the movie. I’m probably the only person who will say this but it didn’t bother me. I can’t say I like it, but for me it didn’t ruin it in any way. I don’t really understand why it was needed really though. I’m sure there are people out there who dislike the movie because of this, but that is not a very good reason for disliking an entire movie!

Anyway, I think overall the worst character in the movie was, well I forget her name, whoever ran the Japanese video store. One day Tok shows her a gun and she almost could have killed someone. Later on we get to another certain scene O says to her “You walk out of this door and your whole life will change” or something like that. So she goes and grabs a gun off the wall. Uh-huh. I just felt her character just did not seem to be the killing type. What was her reason for this? Did she really like O that much to be able to want to do that for him? From what I saw earlier in the movie I definitely wouldn’t think so.

Then we have O, during one scene towards the end I thought he was going to pull out a gun and start shooting Tok, but no they just starting talking like they have been friends forever. I just didn’t feel the acting was all that great and Tok came across as to much of a nice guy. Yes, really. I wish I could have really hated his character to be honest. I didn’t really know who was really the bad guy. I didn’t really like the overall flow of the movie, half the time I didn’t know what the heck was going on and why exactly it was happening. To much was left unexplained. By the end of the movie I had way to many questions left unanswered. What was the deal with Simon Yam’s character? I don’t get what the point of it was. I felt the scenes with him during the last part were terrible for some reason. By far the worst scene is when Tok and O visit the fireworks warehouse or whatever it was. It could have been done way better.

I did not enjoy sitting through this movie and wouldn’t even consider it simply as just dumb entertainment to watch when you are bored. At the 1 hour point I was asking myself “It’s only been an hour?” The movie to me, just got worse and worse as it went along. During parts I did actually think, “Yes, finally, it’s going to get good!” but no unfortunately it did not!

I honestly am not trying to hate this movie, I wanted to like it, even somewhat, but the bad things about this movie far outweigh the good things. I can’t think of very many good things, except the credits at the end were nice to see. OK, I’m kidding. Well, maybe not. The story itself wasn’t bad, but it’s over used and nothing new went into it. I’m pretty sure the story itself can be turned into a good movie, but I think the problem lies in the script probably, it just wasn’t that good to me and had some badly written characters.

Normally in a good movie with great acting I can sometimes detect what the character is thinking and maybe get inside their head a little, but with this one I had no such luck. It would have been nice to know their reasons behind what they did, other than that they wanted to be the #1 Killer. Seems to me like they went through to much trouble for such an average story. I’m assuming the book had much better character development than the movie! At least I hope so.

This movie is worth a rental, but I definitely would not suggest purchasing it, instead go out and buy Johnnie To’s earlier films like “Where a Good Man Goes” or “Running Out of Time” if you have not yet seen them.


Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 02/10/2002

Most reviews of this movie -- one of the more hotly anticipated for 2001 -- were lukewarm to downright nasty. Perhaps some of this is due to Johnnie To's reputation as a film-maker. Even though he has demonstrated that he is willing to make more commerical movies going back to the classic Heroic Trio, most people equate To with quirky crime pictures like A Hero Never Dies, and those times he ventures outside of that genre are often met with derision from gweilo fanboys. Yes, this is an unabashedly commerical film -- a classic "summer popcorn movie" if you will -- but those who are unwilling to watch (or accept) a movie simply becuase of this often miss out on some damn good movies, Fulltime Killer being one of them. In fact, in a year that produced a tide of stunningly average movies on both sides of the ocean, it stands out as one of the few truly enjoyable cinematic experiences.

The plot is refreshingly simple in this day of convoluted action films. Andy Lau plays an assassin named Tok, who is very talented at his job but also extremely vain. Nothing gets Tok's blood boiling more than someone who mentions the current "king" of assassins, a Japanese man simply called O (played by Takashi Sorimachi), and so Tok sets out to kill O, using O's cleaning lady (the lovely Kelly Lam) as bait. Seeing the opportunity to finally catch the killer, two Interpol cops (Simon Yam and Cherrie Ying) join in the chase.

However, like many other Milkyway movies, Fulltime Killer certainly has its' share of quirk, which only adds to the enjoyment. Tok initially meets up with Kelly by donning a Bill Clinton mask, going so far as to wear it while they see a movie. And movie buffs will get quite a kick out of all the film references, since Tok bases many of his "hits" on scenes from his favorite films. The mix of both straightforward action and unusual twists make for a more interesting viewing experience than your usual action film.

And speaking of action, while Fulltime Killer is not as pyrotechnically explosive as some other Hong Kong movies, it definitely delivers the goods. At first, I was somewhat annoyed by the camera tricks (such as slow motion) that were being used, but as To and co-director Wa Ka-Fai go further into the movie, the cinematography during the action sequences becomes one of the keys to the film. One unforgettable part that uses the aforementioned slow motion very effectively is when Tok blows out a target's kneecaps with a shotgun. It's an incredibly violent and visceral shot, that while lasting only a few seconds, shows that Hong Kong film-makers are still the kings of action, no matter how much Hollywood tries to copy or pilfer them.

Alas, though, Fulltime Killer is not a perfect movie. The acting didn't feel quite right. Even though I enjoyed the characters (something rare for an Andy Lau role for this reviewer), they didn't feel as fleshed out as they should have been. Most of this comes from the fact that the principal actors speak very little of their native language. Though Andy Lau's use of Japanese fit in with his character, the use of English did not, especially when the person he uses English with (Lam Suet, his "agent") is also Chinese. Simon Yam seemed the most out of place. He speaks entirely in English, and while his delivery is alright, it seems to inhibit his performance, which ends up hurting the movie since we're supposed to believe that he goes through some sort of major transformation near the finale.

Speaking of which, I felt like the ending was a bit of a cop out. There is little true resolution to the story. Hong Kong films are known for not having everything neatly wrapped up at the end, but Fulltime Killer tries too hard to have a "twist" ending and fails a bit as a result. But on the whole, as I said before, Fulltime Killer is most definitely one of the best films of 2001 from anywhere in the world. True, it is a lot of style over substance, but, man, what style. Fulltime Killer is a fun and kinetic ride through the seedier side of Asia that you won't want to get off of.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 02/07/2002
Summary: poor

The main point I want to make is the same thing Sydneyguy said, that with all the international dialogue, I think they were trying too hard to make this appeal to international viewers...but it doesn't keep me watching for that.

Enough reviews already with the story, but I will just add that in my opinion it is really not worth watching (unless you just want to see Andy Lau & Simon Yam in another action movie again).

Rating: 2/5

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 01/04/2002
Summary: Pretty good

I won't say that much since there are plenty of reviews already.

Like the other reviewers, this is obviously a attempt to jump into a international market. Andy Lau speaks japanese?? Simon Yam speaks mostly english?? IT's too obvious!!

Anyway the movie is pretty good. Action is full on, bloody and stylish. But i felt the movie ended pre maturely. I thought, is this it??

Because of the many languages spoken, and especially the english, i missed some of what they said because they aren't fluent. Well one gal was with a british accent, but Simon Yam seemed to be mumbling, same with Andy Lau when he spoke it.

Nothing near here, but one of the better action movies of 2001!!


Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

The DVD comes in an ultracool transparent case. Disc quality is excellent. DTS soundtrack, lots of extras, good picture quality (unfortunately, not anamorphic). Some people have written about a noticable red tint, but I didn't see that. Looked fine to me.

The movie itself ranks as one of the all-time best Milkyway action movies, and is certainly as fresh and innovative as Time and Tide. Some of the old Milkyway signature traits such as Lau Ching Wan, Raymond Wong soundtrack, etc, are missing, but that doesn't take away from the film at all. I thought the movie was well-written, and the action set pieces were excellently staged. The only minor criticism would be the use of multiple languages; Andy Lau in particular spoke mostly English and Japanese, and he delivered his English dialogue extremely flat. But that's a minor gripe, it didn't bother me that much.

There are a lot of references to other movies. At one point, Andy Lau and Kelly Lin actually watch scenes from The Mission, and characters constantly reference other titles, either explicitly, or indirectly.

The plot is pretty straightforward: two professional assassins duel each other for supremacy, while Kelly Lin is torn between them, and Simon Yam plays an Interpol agent trying to arrest them. As the film progresses, more and more is revealed about the various characters, and things start to fall into place. I don't want to say anything about the ending, other than that I thought it was quite satisfactory in an unexpected way...

Kelly Lin in particular impressed me. Having seen her play mainly sexpot roles, I thought she gave a great performance in this (and in many ways, her character is the true centre of FTK). Takashi Sorimachi's Japanese killer remains a bit of a mystery (which suits the character), and while Andy Lau completely overplays his role, bordering almost on camp, that portrayal fits with his character too and nicely contrasts with Sorimachi.

The action set pieces are cool, and while none of them approach the level of sheer exhilaration you had in Time and Tide's apartment building sequences, there are a few and new ideas here (such as staging a shootout in a fireworks factory, with fireworks going off while the opponents battle it out).

Overall, very satisfying. While it's not a typical HK movie with a strong local character, it's not a bland action product (like China Strike Force) aiming at the international market either. I'll have to reevaluate after I've had some time to reflect, but right now I'd say this was as good if not better than Running out of time and The Mission.

PS: after seeing the movie, you'll never look at Bill Clinton the same way again...

Reviewed by: reelcool
Date: 11/28/2001
Summary: What A Bunch of Critics!

I am thoroughly amazed by the "critic's" review of FTK on this board. You guys are "dead-on" right, and sound like "pros" with great insight. To my understanding as to why the Hong Kong films are speaking more English than Cantonese, is due to HK filmmakers trying to sell to an international market. It is sad that they feel they have to do that in order to be competitive, because they are losing their uniqueness - the "HK flavor" was what made HK films special. Now it's just like everything else, SOS(Same-O-Shit).

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 11/22/2001
Summary: Some novels should stay on paper

FULLTIME KILLER (2001) - O (Takashi Sorimachi) is Asia's top assassin. He gets the job done, he is efficient. Tak (Andy Lau) wants his crown, however... taking the dirty jobs and working cheap, he is the opposite of O... flashy and attention seeking, inspired by the action movies he loves. They both fall for the same girl (Kelly Lin), and are both wanted by mildly crazed cop Simon Yam. Onwards towards conflict.

FTK is based on a novel, and it clearly shows in many places... the voice over monologues in particular cream "novel". Translating a novel to a movie is a difficult task, as the mediums have very different strengths and weaknesses. To be successful in the task, I think it is not a good plan to try to reproduce the novel in visual form, but rather to take the core elements and translate them to a movie format. FULLTIME KILLER fails to do this IMO, suggesting that Wai Ka Fai couldn't find a good core to build his script around. The result is a rather unfocussed and disjointed plot, that doesn't quite seem to know who it wants to focus on or where it wants to take things. At the end of the movie I could think of several ways that the story could have been much better carried by the movie - moving some of the end nearer the beginning and making Simon Yam's character the viewer's main contact with the story would have been best I think, though Kelly Lin's character could have worked to. Instead, we get a little bit of Andy, a little bit of Takashi, a little bit of Kelly etc. Interesting sections that don't gel together all that well. None of the characters are well developed at all as a result, though Lau's Tak fares better than the rest.

The main strength that movies have over novels is obviously the visuals, and FULLTIME KILLER makes good use of these strengths, with nice cinematography throughout, especially in the action scenes. The action scenes we get are pretty exciting and ballistic - quite brutal in places too. Johnnie To is definitely one of the best action directors working today, with almost as much of a 'feel' for the mechanics and mood of a shoot out as John Woo or Tsui Hark. However, we know that he can do *much* better with his characters than he does in FTK too.

Definitely a film that merits watching, but one of Milkyway's weakest films to date IMO. Extra minus marks for the soundtrack, which is never particularly effective and occasionally annoying.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: senordingdong
Date: 10/22/2001
Summary: Very tacked on ending

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie... that is until the last 10-15min where the entire mood, pace, and continuity completely changed to a nonsensical attempt to give this story an ending. The use of english, although unnesessary, does not take away from the movie, as some viewers have suggested. In fact, there really isn't as much of the language in it, as some have said. The best way to describe this movie is by reitterating a quote from the movie itself: I once saw this movie that had a lot of action in it. In truth, the movie was just so-so, but I liked the style of it.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: sirrunrunshaw
Date: 10/19/2001
Summary: great movie,action galore

The DVD is great, lots of good action,good sound output from the Dolby Digtal option. Great cinematography,good plot 4 stars out of 5

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 10/16/2001
Summary: Major Disappointment

After Johnnie To's recent spate of mediocre, though lucrative, comedies, he has returned to the action-drama with "Fulltime Killer." This latest offering is the most embarrassing, cliché-ridden movie put out by the tandem of To and Wai Ka-Fai, lacking the originality, sophistication and wit of previous works. You'd never think that this was the same Johnnie To that helmed "Loving You" or "The Mission." The plotline follows two assassins, Andy Lau and Takashi Sorimachi, both of whom happen to like the same girl, Kelly Lam, forming the typical triangle. Lau's character, Tok, loves action movies. This is the plot device that allows To to include every cliché in the book, some you've probably seen time and again, including the use of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" in the movie's climax.

"Fulltime Killer" does have flourishes of style, but To's unique Asian voice is sacrificed in the attempt to curry international favor. "Fulltime Killer" loses its Asian identity because To does not embrace its Chinese perspective. He abandons the local color of Hong Kong and uses little of the native Cantonese tongue. Without the Chinese language, tone, inflection and emotion are lost. If viewers wanted a western movie, they'd see a Hollywood picture, not a Hong Kong film masquerading as one. Adding Joey O'Bryan as a co-writer didn't help. Bad dialogue in any language is painful.

The opening credits are all in English, a bad omen for the film. There is more English spoken in this movie than Cantonese! The strained use of English cast a pall on the film and made it less credible. The scenes between Lau and Lam Suet, as well as those with Simon Yam, were needlessly done in English. Viewers, including myself, thought this to be awkward and unconvincing. Didn't To see the daily rushes? Sorimachi comes off better than Lau because he doesn't speak anything but Japanese in the film. Instead of being one of the kings of Hong Kong cinema, To has reduced himself to wannabe status like so many other recent Hong Kong filmmakers. In the end, "Fulltime Killer" becomes yet another unremarkable, Hollywood-type "B" movie. Any integrity that To had left was cast aside in the efforts to convince Hollywood that his time is nigh, while ostracizing his loyal audience.