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TIFF 2009: Vengeance


Police, Adjective

Today’s picks
12:45 p.m. – Kamui (Scotiabank 2) – 1.5/5
2:30 p.m. – Police, Adjective (AMC 6)
3:30 p.m. – Vengeance (Scotiabank 3) – 3.5/5
5:30 p.m. – My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done (Varsity 8)
6:30 p.m. – Deliver Us From Evil (Scotiabank 3)
6:30 p.m. – Sook-Yin Lee introduces Sweetie (Jackman Hall)
8:15 p.m. – Air Doll (AMC 3)
9 p.m. – Carcasses (Varsity 4) – 3.5/5
11:59 p.m. – Symbol (Ryerson)
After the jump, a review of Johnnie To’s latest, Vengeance.


Today’s Review

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Vengeance

Vengeance (Johnnie To)
Even though it stars French pop legend Johnny Hallyday, Vengeance is as traditional as a Johnnie To film can get, featuring a cast of regulars (such as the wonderful Anthony Wong), a script from Wai Ka Fai (Mad Detective and Fulltime Killer), and cinematography from Cheng Siu Keung (Exiled and Election 1 & 2). As a result, its plot is a mishmash of influences, the cinematography is gorgeous, and the Hong Kong stars such as Wong get a lot of screen time. You see, thanks to a twist in the script (which unfortunately will call to mind instantly another film, but try to disregard that) Hallyday’s revenge relies entirely on the help of a group of hired hitmen, making the film a lot more nuanced than “father on a quest for revenge for the death of his daughter’s family” would have you imagine. To’s strength is in his set pieces, and the sequences of gunplay are astonishing. As usual for To, however, the film’s a little unevenly paced and very little of it stands up to close inspection, but it’s the most solid Hong Kong action film we’ve seen in quite a while. 3.5/5
Vengeance plays today at 3:30 p.m. at the Scotiabank 3.

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