Color Of Pain (2002)
Assassins are great! Or great movie material anyway - I'm sure there have been more movie assassins than there have ever been real world assassins, and the average assassin 'cool' score is probably vastly lower in RL than movies. Still, there's something about the life of the assassin/hitman that seems to fascinate viewers the world over. Something about the lawlessness == freedom that we secretly wish we had in our lives? Or just that they look cool in leather pants?
Our assassin for this outing is Kenya Sawada, a top Japanese hitman who travels to HK for a job. He hits his target, but takes a bullet himself... stuck right in his head, poor man. For reasons not entirely clear, this sends him on some kind of mad adrenalin craving. First he gets caught up in a bank robbery pulled off by our goons Terence Yin, Sam Lee & Tony Ho... then decides he wants to join their gang for capers because he 'likes the feeling'.
Maybe he was always such an adrenalin-junkie, it's not clear... but the whole bullet in the head part of the story must have some relevance to what happens, so I assume this is it.
The movie is a Japanese-HK co-production, and suffers from the new modern plague of multi-national dialogue. Our motley crew of Sawada & co seem to drop between Japanese, Cantonese and English pretty much at random... seems like everybody understands each other whatever language they speak in. The English dialogue is awful, but the characters aren't meant to be oxford grads or anything so I don't see it as a problem.
The script is pretty interesting and creative, if not completely coherent at times, and the movie has some very creative cinematography that occasionaly wanders towards Wong Kar-Wai territory. Kenya Sawada is cool as all hell, and a great fighter for an old guy - hope to see more of him in future. Terence Yin is definitely a good looking man, but if he doesn't get that sleazy sneer off his face (and the goatee stubble whilst he's there) I shall have to stop buying movies with him in. Tony Ho is the standout of the gang, putting in a really good performance. Raymond Wong The Younger gives a good performance on the opposite side of the law too.
Definitely quite an interesting movie, and one of the better offerings in the genre of recent years, though still nothing close to classic status in the context of Hong Kong's assassin-movie history. If they'd taken this movie and Fulltime Killer and merged the best bits together they would have had something really great though... maybe Disney can work their editing magic and give us the remixed version for Christmas .