Tsui Hark's "Time and Tide" ...the heck??

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Phil Florian, Jan 22, 2003.

  1. Phil Florian

    Phil Florian Screenwriter

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    I tried the search engine and it didn't work tonight, so if I am repeating a conversation, please show me the way...

    ..but I just watched Tsui Hark's return to HK with "Time and Tide." Outstanding production values (at least he got that out of Hollywood) and the action was kinetic and exceedingly clever...but what the hell was it about?? I am a passing fan of HK cinema, by no means an expert, but at least familiar with conventions of the genre...but dang, what was this movie about? I was watching it with three other gents and even with pauses, discussions, charts, graphs...we couldn't make heads or tails of the story.

    Sure, we have the basic outline...sort of. We mostly knew who the bad guys were...sort of. We knew who to cheer for most of the time. But man, this movie is one long non-sequitur with gunplay.

    And I loved it. I honestly did, but honest to god I think he had done a different movie, didn't like where it went, and hobbled the usable footage into a movie length action display.

    This isn't unheard of. On the commentary track for "Hard Boiled" (produced by Tsui Hark, no less), John Woo admits that the opening teahouse scene was shot for a different script for a different movie...and that movie was thrown out and a new one created. But the footage and the scene was such a wonderful setpiece, it had to stay. I think Time and Tide is this for an entire movie. I hope he does more over there. HK cinema, to me, lost a lot when his generation of directors got out of Dodge and went to Hollywood. Glad to see they feel safe enough to return home. Cool visuals. Great pacing. Done the way it ought to be done...but damn...what was it about??

    Phil
     
  2. Kirk Tsai

    Kirk Tsai Screenwriter

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    Honest answer: I don't know either. And for me, the movie doesn't work at all. Shots here and there were dazzling, and that's about it.
     
  3. Nick C.

    Nick C. Second Unit

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    It's been a good two years since watching it, but from what I recall, the basic storyline involved a hired assassin to kill Nicholas Tse's (Hong Kong heart-throb) character, but because NT's character saved the assassin's wife's life or something of the such, the assassin had a change of hearts. The fellow/gang who hired the assassin found out about his betrayal and sent out men to rid all three, resulting in the big gun fight at the end. I don't remember much, but I do recall the wife was giving birth during the gunfight, which needless to say, was quite incredulous [​IMG]


    I remember seeking out the film after Ebert recommended it as one of his "overlooked" movies of the year, praising it for the spectacular photography of the gunfights.
     

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