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Issue #136 HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES December 2nd, 2002

Bullets of Love
(2001; Film Power Co./Oz Co.)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Bat sei ching mai
Mandarin: Bu si qing mi
English: Undying Love Riddle

In the aftermath of a rave club shootout, HK police officer Sam (COMRADES: A LOVE STORY's Leon Lai Ming) apprehends vicious Taiwanese drug smuggler Night (HOT WAR's Terence Yin Chi-wai). The gangster is brought to trial, with Sam's fiancee, Ann (Asaka Seto), leading the prosecution team. After Night is given a five year sentence, Ann is brutally murdered while she and Sam are on vacation in Paris. Two years later, Sam has left the force and lives in the sleepy fishing village of Tai O with his uncle (Michael Chan Wai-man) and the man's retarded brother (Frankie Ng Chi-hung, effective in a change-of-pace role). One day, Sam encounters Japanese tourist You (Seto again), who is identical to Ann and shares many of her habits. The two quickly become inseparable, with the ex-cop blissfully unaware of his intended's secret: You was the assassin whom Night enlisted to kill Ann. She was also supposed to eliminate Sam that day but could not bring herself to do it. Now, she is hopelessly obsessed with the man whose life she had all but destroyed. When Night is released from prison, Sam heads for HK intending to murder him but when the shooting subsides, only the criminal's brother (GEN-Y COPS' Richard Sun Kwok-ho) lies dead. Sam then returns to Tai O, unaware that Night and his cronies are close behind.

A HK/Japan co-production, BULLETS OF LOVE is a fitfully engrossing romantic thriller built around a premise no doubt inspired by elements from the South Korean smash SHIRI (which also tells of a conflicted female assassin but is a far more elaborate and action-oriented project). Lai is not an especially dynamic actor but his laconic style is reasonably effective, given the nature of his character, and the highly photogenic Seto (a popular soap opera star in her native country) is persuasive in her dual role. Prolific director/cinematographer Andrew Lau Wai-keung (THE STORMRIDERS, THE DUEL) specializes in slick, superficial productions that make few demands of an audience. He adopts a slightly less aggressive visual style here but the film is most successful when presenting an unadorned look at Tai O and its people, who are concerned primarily with maintaining their traditional lifestyle. Some gunplay and gory violence have been included to satisfy action quotas, but may alienate the viewers most likely to respond positively to this sort of quixotic formula fare.

Cover art courtesy Tai Seng.

Leon Lai. Image courtesy Tai Seng.

Asaka Seto. Image courtesy Tai Seng.
Tai Seng #03984 (U.S. Label)

Sync Sound Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS), Dubbed Mandarin (Dolby Digital 2.0), and Dubbed Vietnamese (Dolby Digital 2.0) Language Tracks

Optional English Subtitles

20 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With (Tiny) Stills

Letterboxed (2.10:1; cropped from 2.35:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

Macrovision Encoded

NTSC Format

103 Minutes

Contains brutal violence

DVD menu courtesy Tai Seng.

British Columbia: 18A (Explicit Violence)
Hong Kong: II
Ontario: R (Violence)
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]

The Panavision frame has been reformatted to approximately 2.1 and some set-ups look a bit tight on the sides as a result. There is light wear on the materials and the splice is occasionally visible at shot change points but colors are strong and the image is crisp. The stereo mix is appropriately forceful and makes good use of the rear channels during action sequences. The sync sound Cantonese track is available in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS, and offers a mix of Cantonese, Japanese, English, Mandarin, and Taiwanese. The DVD also includes mono dubtracks in Mandarin and Vietnamese and optional English subtitles (which also cover all the English dialogue). Supplements consisi of a subtitled 20m 29s "Making Of..." program (that features interviews, extensive behind-the-scenes footage, and a terrible international trailer), filmographies for Lai and Lau, a montage of lobbycards, and several video promo spots for this and other Tai Seng DVD releases. An uncredited Frank Djeng can be heard on an audio commentary. As he was not involved with the actual making of the movie, Djeng does not provide much in the way of production trivia. Instead, he offers extensive information on Chinese traditions, particularly those of the people frequenting island communities like Tai O. It is a worthwhile talk that will interest those wishing to enhance their appreciation of HK cinema by learning more about how culture and tradition can figure into plotting and character. There is an awkward layer change at 57:02.

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