August 16th, 2010

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Johnnie To's 'Vengeance'



Shootouts and gun battles are so commonplace in action movies that we know exactly what to expect: an exchange of gunfire, cross-cutting between the good guys and the bad guys, spurts of blood, ammunition running out, the bad guys falling down, the villain saved for execution until the last beat, when the good guy can teach him a lesson with a clever wisecrack. (See The Expendables, etc.) The end.

Yet director Johnnie To keeps coming up with new ways to stage bullet ballets that approach poetry, even as they make the deadly consequences readily apparent. Vengeance, his latest film to hit America, is a splendid example. (IFC Films opened it theatrically in San Francisco this weekend, and it's available via various on demand cable systems, as well as import Blu-ray and DVD.) Our own David Ehrlich highlighted it as one of the 5 Reasons Not to Avoid Movie Theaters This August.

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This sounds interesting, but I suppose it won't be in any theaters near me.