The Mission | Chicago Reader

The Mission

89 minutes 1999

Five bodyguards protect a mafia boss from assassins and bond with each other as the violence escalates in this tony 1999 thriller. Director Johnnie To has been compared to John Woo, and he excels at turning contemporary Hong Kong into a nihilistic, eerily antiseptic world where treachery is a survival tool and the characters' frustration and paranoia explode in Nintendo-like shoot-outs. Though the tense gunfights are packed with striking images, the labyrinthine stunts become a bit silly. The bodyguards all seek revenge or redemption of some sort, and while they aren't as complex or sympathetic as Woo's characters, Anthony Wong as a morose ex-hairstylist and Lam Suet as his plump sidekick add quirky touches to their roles. In Cantonese with subtitles.

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