If heavy martial action with mostly grunts and screams is the way you like your Chinese action flicks you may be disappointed with the new suspenseful film by veteran Helmer, Johnny To. That is not to say that the film isn’t good, No, it is filed with good performances and an inordinate amount of meaningful reparte, especially from the baddie played wickedly by Wallace Chung. Louis Koo of many popular Chinese flicks such as “Drug War,” “Kill Zone 2” and “Triad Election” inhabits the role of the anti-hero police inspector willing to do whatever it takes to bring down this ring of armed robbers that is reigning chaos on the city.
Wallace Chung who is simply referred to as the “dealer” on IMDb is rushed into the ER with a bullet lodged in his skull, the surgeon on duty understandably wants to get the patient directly into surgery. In an interesting twist the patient asserts his human rights and refuses the lifesaving surgery. Befuddled, the doctor played by Wei Zhao (Red Cliff, Shao Lin Soccer) urges our bad guy to reconsider. The bad boy gang leader has other plans. He is willing to risk life and limb and wait for his crew to bust him out of the busy hospital.
Now it may have just been me and my slower-than-they-used-to-be reading skills but I missed some of the finer details of the plot. Apparently our bad boy was over matched in a shootout with the police, so he decides to stop shooting, claiming he is been shot in the head and demands to be taken in for medical care. A smart yet painful ploy, we then through find out through some hushed dialogue between the head cop and his assistant, that the cops might have used some unapproved tactics and actually shot the bad guy in the noggin… like I said it’s all a bit fuzzy. How the perp got the wound is not as important as why he is refusing medical attention and why the cops are playing along.
This is the question that burns inside of our overworked yet vigilant neurosurgeon. She is furious with both the cops and her criminal patient for play in fast and loose with his condition. She believes the clock is ticking quickly on wet her or not the bullet will rupture something and kill him on the spot. Surgery is the only answer and needs to be performed stat! The verbal cat and mouse continues between the purveyors of good and evil in this story for the next 40 minutes or so, until the climactic set piece begins.
The reign of hell that the gang leader has been promising has arrived. The preplanted trash can bombs go off during the hailstorm of chaos the bad boys crew start shooting up the ER. Now this is a scene that has been replicated in many an action flick. What makes this one unique is the slow and stop motion that takes place. Characters blast away at each other, hitting civilans, but as the bullet leaves the guns barrel it slows down and stops, so that the audience gets another angle of the bullets path. This reinvigorates a tired action trope and gives the film some extra style. The three main actors play their characters well and in my mind, Wallace Chung’s performance as our charismatic bad guy makes “Three” a worthy entry into my entertainment schedule.
In limited release on Friday, June 24. Click here for locations.
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