Tsui Hark (director)
24 May 2021 (released)
24 May 2021
This complex thriller features some of the most unusual scenes in the history of modern-day Hong Kong action cinema – most notably when a rogue bodyguard finds himself delivering a baby in the locker room of a train station during an almighty shootout between a SWAT team and a group of South American mercenary killers. You certainly can’t accuse writer/director Tsui Hark of lacking imagination!
We’re off to a riveting start when bar worker Tyler (Nicholas Tse) finds himself getting blind drunk with a quarrelsome customer – a female cop named Ah Jo (Cathy Tsui) who claims she can outdrink him. One mighty bar crawl later the two not only end up in bed in an extremely intoxicated state but Ah Jo, who (ironically) is actually a lesbian, ends up getting pregnant. Feeling somewhat guilty although it was actually Ah Jo who challenged Tyler to the ‘drinking contest’ he joins an unlicensed bodyguard service run by Uncle Ji (Anthony Wong) in order to earn more money so he can support his pregnant one-night stand. Even more ironically she refuses his help and the money notes he shoves underneath her apartment door fall victim to her dog’s appetite…
Nine months later and Tyler is working as a bodyguard at an event during which an important businessman is celebrating his birthday and has welcomed two of his well-to-do daughters to join in the celebrations. Less welcome is his third (and pregnant) daughter Ah Hui (Candy Lo) who in the eyes of her disapproving father has betrayed the family status by marrying a butcher named Jack (Wu Bai), prompting the observant Tyler to remark: “Do all pregnant women look so miserable?” While Mr. Hui gives a speech, Jack spots a waiter behaving in an erratic manner and alerts bodyguard Tyler. Indeed, Jack’s instincts were correct as an assassination attempt on Mr. Hui had been planned and has now been intercepted thanks to Jack’s eagle eye. Tyler asks Jack if he would like to join Uncle Ji’s bodyguard service but the soon-to-be-father declines the offer.
Meanwhile a group of ruthless South American mercenaries known as the ‘Angels’ arrive in Hong Kong and the group’s dreadlocked second in command Miguel (Jun Kung) has a proposal for Jack… who is in fact known to the mercenaries under the name Juan, indicating that harmless butcher Jack is not what he appears to be… The proposal that Miguel has for Jack is simple: kill your father-in-law and re-join the Angels. Instead, Jack aka Juan kills the ringleader of the Angels, evading Tyler and his bodyguards and as if this wouldn’t spell enough trouble he then steals a case containing plenty of cash before going on the run – but not before dropping off his pregnant wife Ah Hui at her father’s luxury pad and handing her a key to a train station locker to collect said case after their baby is born. Of course nothing goes quite as planned and now a brutal and violent gang battle ensues between Jack, Tyler and his people and the Angels – with some of the most jaw-dropping stunts imaginable (did you ever se a guy climbing down a skyscraper with a fire-hose wrapped around him?) and a climax that would make the likes of Tarantino green with envy!
Yes, this is an all-out action spectacular but it has enough complexity, unexpected twists and deadpan humour to ensure that TIME AND TIDE is far more than just a fast-paced thriller with insane and gravity-defying stunts.
Available on Blu-ray for the first time with Cantonese, Mandarin and English audio options, the bonus material includes audio commentaries and Limited Edition Collector’s Booklet (2000 copies).