Sunday, April 4, 2010

China also made 'crazy Vietnam vet' films

The Long Goodbye (aka "The Head Hunter") (1981)
Starring: Chow Yun-Fat, Rosamund Kwan, Philip Chan, Chun Hsiang Ko, and Melvin Wong
Director: Shing Hon Lau
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

Andy (Yun-Fat) is an ex-South Vietnamese soldier now working as a hitman for an international crime syndicate and arms-dealers who use a movie studio as its legitimate front. He is himself is marked for death after first assassinating Soviet agents in Kwoloon and then later refusing to kill his investigative reporter girlfriend, Vicky (Kwan).

"The Long Goodbye" is a low-budget crime drama that suffers from a chaotic plot, glacial pacing, useless subplots, indifferent camera and lighting work, and a cast of actors who mostly seem like they'd rather be anywhere else but on the set of this movie.

The film shows a few glimmers of quality and real suspense at the climax, as Andy squares off his one-time boss and a crazed, machete-wielding assassin with Vicky's life at stake. Unfortunately, what's good about the ending is almost ruined by an awful, inconsistent music soundtrack that seems to get worse even as the rest of the film gets better in its closing minutes.

I think that anyone except the world's biggest fans of Chow Yun-Fat or Rosamund Kwan can safely take a pass on this movie, although it is interesting to note that the Chinese made "crazy Vietnam Vet" movies, too.

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