Three (2016)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2017-06-08
Summary: Johnnie To actioner
“Three” begins with some extreme close-ups of neurosurgery in progress, some of the shots seemingly from inside the patient’s skull (we see sutures being pulled from a reverse angle and through what would be a really big burr hole) and ends with an only slightly less sanguine but still fetishistic head surgery scene. Between these bloody bookends lie a very hectic second and third shift on a busy surgical ward in an ultra-modern looking Hong Kong hospital. The “three” of the title are Shun (Wallace Chung Hon-Leung) a bank robber who was shot in the head when the police tried to arrest his gang; Chief Inspector Ken, (Louis Koo Tin-Lok) head of the squad whose actions led to Shun’s shooting and Dr. Tong Qian (Vicki Zhao Wei) the attending neurosurgeon who is charged with Shun’s care.

All have difficulties which are addressed if not resolved during the course of the movie. Shun’s is the most obvious—he has a bullet in his brain that if left in will kill him. He refuses to authorize surgery. Ken is trying to cover up for his malfeasance and the criminal acts of a younger officer who thought Ken wanted Shun shot in the head when the intent was only to terrorize him into telling the location of the rest of his gang. Dr. Tong wanders the wards in a depressive state, dropping into the surgical suite occasionally to botch a surgical procedure. Her patients are much worse off than she, of course, since she is depressed but they are paralyzed, comatose or dead.

The scene is a hospital that is a cross between the one in the final scene of “Hard Boiled” and the ward ruled by Nurse Ratchet in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”. The staff is either uncaring or ineffectual as are most the doctors but it doesn’t really matter since most of them are dead by the time the final credits roll. Many explosions, lots of slow motion and stop-action gunplay, blood squibs exploding everywhere and a much higher death toll than in any hospital since the Crimean War. None of it makes much sense but it has all the elegant violence that Johnnie To can pour into 90 plus minutes of action, which is a lot. Fun to watch with plenty of heart in the mouth moments of suspense, not easy to figure out. And Lam Suet gets stabbed in the ass with a big knife.
Reviewer Score: 8