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The Mission DVD

Mandarin and/or Cantonese Multilingual DVDs

Hong Kong Movie

Action Bullet Ballet

 84 Minutes

Multi-Lingual

What is Multi-Lingual DVDs?

 

The Mission (1999)

鎗火

Director:  Johnnie To Kei-Fung

Starring: Anthony Wong, Roy Cheung, Lam Suet

Surely one of the best films to come out of HK in 1999, much has been written about it elsewhere on the ‘Net, so let's focus on Simon's performance, about which relatively little has been written.

The plot concerns five ex-triad members who are now engaged in other professions but are called back in to be bodyguards to a big boss, Mr. Lung, until the person(s) trying to assassinate him are discovered. How the five men work together during this specific mission and its aftermath is the heart of the film.

Simon plays Frank, Mr. Lung's brother and right-hand man, the man who organizes the team and calls the shots. With limited screen time Simon still makes an indelible impression.

The film's economical storytelling forces each actor into a minimalist acting style in which every little movement and turn of phrase must illuminate their respective characters. Simon, playing the proverbial fist in the velvet glove, is given a visual signature, his shiny suits and immaculately gelled hair, and a way of interacting with people -- jovially chatting with them before abruptly telling them what they have to do for him -- and from these he creates a memorable character. The way Frank moves, smokes, gestures, his offhand way of speaking (after the restaurant bloodbath: "Why do these things always happen when I have a cold?") -- all tell the viewer that this is a man far removed from the dirty work.

Frank could easily have been an overblown character, but the subtlety of both To's direction and Simon's performance create a more nuanced and intriguing person. Some casually cutting remarks illustrate just how cold Frank is and indicate a man who doesn't let any messy emotional complications enter his life, in contrast to the five bodyguards, who get pulled into a very untidy emotional conflict.

The scenes between Frank and Curtis (Anthony Wong) are wonderfully understated, especially for two actors who've done more than their share of crazed-maniac scenery-chewing on screen. Frank does his nudge-nudge-wink-wink-old-pal routine while Curtis sits completely still and silent, waiting for the orders he knows are coming, all the while wishing he could continue cutting hair instead of going back to being a triad thug.

Naturally I wish Simon had more screen time in The Mission, but looking at the role as it stands, this is another fine piece of work from him in support of an excellent film.

DVD: List Price: US $23.95

Sale Price: US$9.95

Language: Cantonese / Mandarin

Subtitle: English / Traditional Chinese / Simplified Chinese

All Regions (Can be played on any DVD player in the world)

Rating: IIB - "Adult Material; Parental Guidance Recommended" (roughly equal to an MPPA rating of "R") Films rated Category IIB contain large amounts of violence and/or nudity and sexual situations in addition to possible explicit language and adult situations.


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