Time and Tide (2000)
Directed by: Tsui Hark
Tagline: "Woman in labour + gun = bad idea!"
Tyler (Nicholas Tse) is a barman who likes to hit on the women in the bar where he works. He sees an opportunity when a woman has a fight with her girlfriend and he offers to drink her under the table.
After a heavy session, they both end up at Tyler's place. The next morning when the woman gets up to go to the dunny, Tyler quickly puts his undies on so she won't suspect everything. While doing so, he finds her Police ID and she comes back and slaps him around a bit, trying to get him to tell her if they had sex or not.
9 months later, Tyler manages to track down the woman, who is heavily pregnant. She doesn't want to have anything to do with him however.
As he wants to go on a trip and to provide money for his estranged lover's baby, he decides to work for his Uncle Kai's (Anthony Wong Chau-Sang) not-quite-legal bodyguard business. One client they get is a mad woman who yaks constantly. Much to his disgust, Tyler has been given the job of driving her to the airport, so he does just that - backwards at high speed.
On the other side of the world, in a grimy security vault in South America, a heavily armed police unit arrives carrying gold bullion whilst a storm rages.
The leader of the group is just about to hand over the strong box when he notices the attendant has long hair. He warns his men that it is a set-up.
Of course, all the police are slaughtered as the people who ambushed them are hardened mercenaries trained to do well against regular forces. Their leader is a bloke with cool dreads.
Back in Hong Kong, Tyler is assigned by his uncle to protect a rich client at his birthday party. The other bodyguards and his uncle are all on edge as they have inside information that a hit is planned on their client.
Tyler suspects something when he sees the man they released rushing off, so he chases him. He ends up having a fight with him and his accomplice (who loses part of his ear due to a bullet and also falls down the stairs with Tyler).
Jack (Wu Bai) helps Tyler out, who decides to repay his kindness by offering him a lift home and goes to see him the next day to talk about a business deal (he has to leave sharpish when the man he fought with the night before turns up).
After the stuff-up at their last job, Tyler's uncle is anxious to get it right for their next client which, surprise surprise, turns out to be the boss of the mercenaries.
Things being what they are, you can tell something is going to go wrong, which it does, in a tense and exciting sequence where Jack tries to escape the hotel first in a car, then down the side of the building with the aid of a fire hose, and landing on a freeway while being pursued by the baddies.
His uncle is understandably pissed off at him and locks him in a shipping container to teach him a lesson. After this, Tyler decides to try and track down Jack.
Into the middle of all this walks Tyler and baddies decides to act. Cue an amazing sequence - abseiling down the side of the building with machine guns blazing, Tyler being thrown around the room fighting, many people being shot and finally Tyler being told to hide in the fridge by Jack as he is locked in the apartment that is rapidly filling with gas and rigged to explode...
I originally saw this movie at the Melbourne International Film festival a few years ago and remember queuing around the block to see it. It was worth it though and it was definitely one of the better movies I saw that year.
Even though Tyler is meant to be the main character, he is really just an observer for most of the events. Jack is the real star of the movie and ends up crossing paths with most of the characters in the course of the film. Anthony Wong played a cool figure of authority as always and is reliable as a Vegemite sandwich in this regard.
For a Hong Kong movie the action scenes are really good as it is only recently that films produced there have started using computer graphics for large scale special effects. I would recommend this movie if you like action blockbusters as it has it in abundance and the plot is quite easy to follow.