Johnnie To is a critical and fan favorite, so any new release from him is usually at least worth making a note of for cinephiles of Hong Kong cinema. Some have been, of course, stronger than others, but To's films for the most part represent the best that the Hong Kong movie industry has to offer, and his newest release, Three, is no exception -- though, in a bit of irony, the movie offers up very little of the stylish and oftentimes quirky panache To has become known for.
The film has almost the presence of a stage play, as the vast majority of it takes place on a single set, in particular here a hospital's emergency room, where a notorious criminal (Wallace Chung) has been brought in with a bullet in his head, accompanied by a hot-headed inspector played by Louis Koo, who immediately begins to butt heads with the hospital's neurosurgeon, portrayed by Vicky Zhao Wei, in a rare starring role for her nowadays. Tensions begin to rise as it becomes clear that the criminal's brothers in arms will soon be coming to rescue their leader, and if it is worth it to save someone who is clearly so unrepentant for their illegal and immoral actions.
Despite the lack of flash (other than a well-staged and cinematically stunning shootout near the end of the film) To does manage to convey a lot throughout the running time, thankfully without coming off as heavy-handed. Of course, the core of Three is the cat and mouse between the characters, but overall, the story's arc also touches on issues that affect society as a whole, including the increasingly cold and calculated nature of healthcare, which is just as much of a business now as McDonald's and Coca-Cola. This sort of sly social commentary may fall of deaf ears for those looks for a striaght-out blast-em-up, but it makes perfect fodder for those looking for something more cerebral in their viewing regimen.
Three will be released uncut and in the original Cantonese language on April 4 2017 in North America from Well Go USA. Bonus features include trailers for the movie and other Well Go releases, interviews, and behind the scenes featurettes. Click here to order the Blu-ray and DVD from Amazon, or you may also click here to watch the movie now via their VOD service.
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