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You Shoot, I Shoot

Cheung Tat-Ming and Eric Kot practice in You Shoot, I Shoot.
Chinese: 買兇拍人  
Year: 2001  
Director: Pang Ho-Cheung  
Producer: Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu
Writer: Pang Ho-Cheung, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu
Cast: Eric Kot Man-Fai, Cheung Tat-Ming, Audrey Fang (Fong Chi-Shuen), Ken Wong Hap-Hei, Asuka Higuchi, Michael Chan Wai-Man, Miao Felin, Chan Fai-Hung, Lam Suet, Tats Lau Yi-Tat, Henry Fong Ping, Jim Chim Sui-Man, Ng Chi-Hung, Berg Ng Ting-Yip, Nancy Lan Sai, Angela Tong Ying-Ying, Joe Cheng Cho, Matt Chow Hoi-Kwong, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, Hyper BB, Siu Yam-Yam, Tin Kai-Man, Kenneth Bi
The Skinny: Funny and creative black comedy that doesn't entirely succeed, but provides a more than welcome diversion from the usual nonsensical HK comedies.
by Kozo:

Eric Kot is Bart, a hitman who's been hit hard by the sagging Hong Kong economy. Not only are clients hard to come by, but those who do hire him frequently are strapped for cash. However, his newest job has an entirely different challenge. The client is Mrs. Ma (Miao Felin), who wants a variety of people dead for filming one of her sexual escapades and distributing it on VCD. Even more, she wants the assasination taped for her viewing pleasure. However, the video of Bart's first hit—a slimy loser named Ray (Ken Wong) who filmed the initial video—turns out lousy, so he hires down-on-his-luck filmmaker Chuen (Cheung Tat-Ming) to become his partner in crime.

Chuen is one of those wannabe auteur filmmakers who idolizes Martin Scorcese, so he has initial objections to their new partnership. This is especially true since Bart never reveals that they're actually killing people until he's actually plugged their first victim. However, as the accolades roll in, Chuen succumbs to the allure of their new business. Even more, they soon become the toast of the hitmen-hiring, which means even more complications: copycat killers, even more annoying clients, and the eventual brush with the law.

Director Edmond Pang and producer Vincent Kok co-wrote this black comedy, which has an enormously fun and creative script. Hong Kong's economic climate, the business of assassination, and Hong Kong's sagging film industry are all parodied by the filmmakers. Chuen frequently makes reference to the lack of preproduction and scripts as the problem with the HK film industry, and Bart's in-laws want him to do hits for free. The copycat killers (Lam Suet and Tats Lau) offer a discount card not unlike those you get at pearl tea cafes, which entitles the bearer to a free hit after they purchase ten. And when Bart expresses hesitance at his new line of killing, Mrs. Ma asks him, "Do you know how many people I have killed a year?", and admonishes him to take better care of his clients. Give Kok and Pang credit, this is funny - if not too dark - stuff.

If only the whole of the film worked as well as the bits. The film eventually sags underneath a romantic subplot (between Chuen and his dream girl, a Japanese pornstar played by Asuka Higuchi), and a too-lengthy climax that goes the distance to make fun of the whole filmmaking business. Chan Fai-Hung shows up as an annoying producer, and Chim Sui-Man chews scenery as a scenery-chewing extra who takes actor technique to bizarre extremes. Lots of great jokes abound, but the film limps to its conclusion. You Shoot, I Shoot works as a satire, but it spends more time jabbing than actually skewering. If it intends to do anything besides periodically amuse, then it more or less fails.

However, the parts of this film work incredibly well, which make recommending it an easy decision. Edmond Pang's direction occasionally relies on too many jump cuts and screwy montages, but he handles the satire and character interplay well. Eric Kot and Cheung Tat-Ming display fine chemistry and manage to actually act somewhere among all the incessant mugging. For the well-informed Hong Kong Cinema audience, You Shoot, I Shoot proves to be highly entertaining. It doesn't entirely succeed as a satire, and the laughs may not be gut-busters, but its intelligent wit makes it somewhat of a rare gem. Among Hong Kong comedies, that is. (Kozo 2001/2003)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
10th Anniversary Digitally Remastered Edition
Kam & Ronson Enterprises Co Ltd
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
Audio Commentary, Various Extras
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc

image courtesy of Golden Harvest Pictures Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen