Continuing their streak, Milky Way Productions brings us this
dark crime thriller that’s gripping, nihilistic, and very,
very good. This is one of the blackest movies you’ll ever
see, and it’s directed to near perfection by Patrick Yau (The
Odd One Dies).
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is Sam, a very
bad cop who’s caught in a brewing gang war in Macau. He works
for triad Brother K, who’s in negotiations with rival triad
boss Lung to join forces after a long-running feud. The impetus
for their union is the return of Mr. Hung, a legendary boss.
However, the word on the street is that there’s a contract
out on Lung’s life. Worse, the rumor mill maintains that it’s
Brother K who’s offering the five million as the Um Fa (hidden reward) - which does nothing for gang peace.
Sam is given the job of preventing
any attack on Lung, thereby preserving the two gangs in their
stance against Mr. Hung. However, on the fateful day of Lung’s
arrival, a mysterious bald stranger (Lau Ching-Wan) walks
into town with a bag slung over his shoulder. Then things
Disturbingly violent, perfectly paced,
and involving as hell, this picture is one of the purest genre
films you’ll ever see and proof that Hong Kong can still make
good movies. The plot twists are more plentiful than in L.A.
Confidential, but they’re buoyed by a gripping narrative
drive and an incredibly assured sense of style.
The film isn’t perfect: the confusing
storyline is littered with holes that exist only to further
the plot, and the stylized climax is a bit contrived. However,
the film is undeniably compelling. Sure, there is nothing
and nobody to connect to in this movie, but the filmmakers
clearly know that, and the acting and storytelling are top
notch. Both Tony Leung and Lau Ching-Wan display requisite
presence and even charisma as two truly heinous characters. The Longest Nite won’t win any humanitarian awards
but you may not see a more enthralling picture out of Hong
Kong this year. (Kozo 1998)