Three

| March 31, 2017

A neurosurgeon whose pushed to her limits, a thief in need of brain surgery and a cop who can’t draw the line between obstructing justice and pursuing it collide in Johnnie To’s latest crime thriller, Three. While in the midst of interrogating Shun (Wallace Chung), he’s accidentally shot in the head by a cop. One of the cop’s partner’s, Ken (Louis Koo) rushes him to the closest hospital, where they meet Dr. Tong Qian (Zhao Wei), neurosurgeon whose recent patients have been unhappy with her work. When Shun declines the offer to remove the bullet in his brain by Dr. Qian, Ken begins to realize that Shun’s just trying to buy time, in order for his cohorts to rescue him and continue their crime spree.

While not as satisfying as his other films like Drug War or Election, Three still manages to embody what Johnnie To’s penchant action and suspense unlike many of his other Hong Kong brethren. The film may take place at a hospital, which would give any viewer some form of anxiety, but due to the situations that he places our main characters, it is an exceptional showcase for To having an understanding of show, don’t tell, that makes for Three to be as thrilling as it is. There’s an action sequence in the climax of the film that would put Emmanuel Lubezki’s work to shame, as Cheng Siu-Keung, Johnnie To’s frequent cinematographer manages to create a single shot that contains an enormous amount of gunplay, stunts and special effects that create a symphony of visual chaos.

The central reason why the film didn’t engage me as To’s previous efforts were due to some of the supporting characters being misused, as well as being extremely cheesy at times. All of the other characters, from cops to doctors in the hospital, every single one of them is only there to serve the plot and never feel like real people. The main cast does a phenomenal job with what they have, but while it’s great to see the like of Sam Luet and Siu-Fai Cheung, some of Johnnie To’s regular cast, to have them only used as plot devices is extremely disappointing. The final action sequence of the film contains some wonderful character moments, that illustrate how far they’ve come, but it’s also riddled some very cheap looking CGI backgrounds that were pretty hard to ignore and were quite distracting.

While I had but a few minor problems with Three, Johnnie To’s latest film managed to keep me engaged and entertained thoroughly. Well Go USA has made it a point to release some of quality Hong Kong releases and Three is another one for the win pile! Recommended!

Three will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD by Well Go USA on April 4th, 2017.

About the Author:

is a graduate from Columbia College Chicago with a degree in Audio for Visual Media. He works as a freelance location sound mixer, boom operator, sound designer, and writer in his native Chicago. He's an avid collector of films, comics, and anime.

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