One Night in Mongkok

Starring: Daniel Wu, Cecelia Cheung and Alex Fong
Tartan Asia Extreme
RRP: 19.99
TVD 3589
Certificate: 18
Available 20 February 2006

Set on Christmas Eve,
One Night In Mongkok takes place in Hong Kong's most violent and densely populated district; Kowloon. A frazzled police squad searches for a contract killer known simply as Roy. Roy's latest assignment threatens to ignite a full scale Triad turf war, as he has been hired to assassinate a powerful drug lord who has murdered his main rival. Tensions mount and worlds collide, as both the police and gangsters search for Roy, who in turn appears to have his own agenda, involving the disappearance of his sister...

After the success of Infernal Affairs, the floodgates have opened to more Chinese crime thrillers. One Night In Mongkok starts promisingly, the story jumping straight in to the action, which is conveyed through stylised editing that for once isn't delirious with tricks (Tony Scott take note). After that, the story slumps down on its arse and eats biscuits for about an hour. The killer finds himself entangled (not literally, sadly) with a hooker, and the two embark on a strained romance and go shopping. After a day of this, the killer finds he likes shopping better than murder. Great.

It is after the first hour that the story decides it's eaten enough biscuits, and that maybe it should engage in some exercise, lest it become too flabby. So the story finally gets up off its arse and brings its friends out to play. Tension, action, drama and character - all the things that were largely missing before - suddenly jump out from behind where they were hiding, grab you by the hair and slap you into wakefulness. It's just a shame you have to struggle for nearly 60 minutes before this happens.

On a technical note, the disc defaulted to the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack, which is annoying as it should default to the 5.1 version. Extras include deleted scenes, a recording of the premiere, a behind the scenes documentary (loaded with visual gimmicks to the point of silliness, so maybe Tony Scott made it) and - wait for it - the trailer.

Jeff Watson

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