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順流逆流 (2000)
Time and Tide

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 05/08/2007
Summary: Stylish; Enchating with enigmatism

TIME AND TIDE is a timeless favorite of sort. I find that films which I enjoy immensely on the first round, I tend to like less and less as the clock ticks. Films like OUATIC and SWORDSMAN I which conform to the code of perfectionism are easy to like, but they lay everything in front of the audience and thus do not engage the mind very much. On the other hand, films which are challenging enough to have me scratch my head, those tend to become more and more memorable with time. TIME AND TIDE is such a film which frustrated me on the first go, but I keep coming back to it year after year because there is something enchanting, enthralling about it. Thanks to the nearly unfathomable narrative, It has a touch of ambiguity, a sense of mysticism which continues to draw me in. Watching this creative cinematic puzzle for the n-th time now, the words of a great auteur rings to my ears: "I do not believe films are to be understood; they should be EXPERIENCEd."

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/08/2006
Summary: el tiempo no espera...

yim (nicholas tse) is a barman. one evening, after some very heavy drinking from both parties, he ends up sleeping with a cop, ah jo (cathy tsui). nine months later yim sees a pregnant ah jo in the supermarket and, after having an offer to help her out refused, decides that he needs to make a load of money in the next year, give some to ah jo and then leave hong kong to live on a beach. in order to do this, yim begins to work for a security company, run by uncle ji (anthony wong). things don't quite go as planned, but yim ends up becoming friends with jack (wu bai), the mysterious husband of an ex-client, josephine (candy lo), but jack's past catches up with him and everyone gets in trouble...

if that synopsis sounds confused and strange, that's because the film's narrative is confused and strange. still, as we watch nicholas tse's character get dragged through the film, it all seems to make sense. it even seems quite reasonable, as long as you don't think about it too much.

well, whatever you make of the film's substance, its sense of style is undeniable. sure, there are a couple of dodgy special effects here and there, but the execution of the film's many action sequences is pretty damn classy. nicholas tse seems more than willing to have the absolute crap beaten out of him and is pretty good at dishing it out, when he isn't on the receiving end. wu bai, on the other hand, is a pretty slick character and should really have been in more films.

speaking of people who should do more; tsui hark. sure he's directed a host of classic films, covering every genre from comedy to drama, bullet ballet to wu xia, martial arts to fantasy, but with only five films to his name, since 2000, he could up his output a little.

any way, despite its flaws, 'time and tide' remains as a great example of an ultra-stylised hong kong action flick. good stuff...

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/27/2005

A young slacker named Tyler (Nicholas Tse) knocks up a lesbian (Cathy Tsui) during a one-night stand. Even though the woman won't have anything to do with him, Tyler decides to help the baby out and takes a job as a bodyguard, working for former police officer Uncle Ji (Anthony Wong). Tyler is assigned to protect the daughter of a prominent businessman (Candy Lo) and soon develops a relationship with her husband, a mysterious man named Jack (Wu Bai). After Uncle Ji's team fails at one of its' jobs, Tyler becomes a prime suspect until Jack -- and the ghosts from his past in the form of a group of high-class criminals -- enters the picture.

Tsui Hark is one of the most influential and successful filmmakers to ever come out of Hong Kong. Helming such movies as Zu and Once Upon a Time in China and working behind the scenes on films like A Better Tomorrow and the Swordsman trilogy have garnered Tsui a large body of work and the (sometimes misleading) nickname of "the Steven Spielberg of Hong Kong." Though he continues to have success as a producer (recently negotiating a major deal for US/HK co-production with the US studio Columbia) his last few films as director have failed to make a mark with both critics and audiences, reaching an all-time low with 1998's Jean-Claude Van Damme disaster Knock Off. The movie was a mess from beginning to end. It failed to deliver even some decent action, instead concentrating more of flashy camerawork rather than telling a story. Some critics have theorized that Tsui was actually using Columbia's money to expieriment with techniques instead of trying to make a movie. Now, if this is true, I applaud Tsui for having the balls to do so (especially with a big deal with Columbia looming), but it still doesn't excuse the fact that Knock Off was a bad movie. So when Time and Tide came out and was met right away with comparisons with Knock Off, I was a bit hesitant to check it out.

Thankfully, Time and Tide isn't as bad as Knock Off. Despite some problems, it's a good movie -- so let's get those out of the way first. The script, like too many action movies lately, tries to throw too many elements into the pot and the taste of the movie becomes a bit muddled as a result. Time and Tide can't seem who to follow in the story, Tyler or Jack, and as such both characters are a bit underdeveloped. The cinematography sometimes becomes a bit too much, almost going into Blair Witch territory as the camera whips and shakes about.

On the other side of the coin, at times the camerawork is stunning, really putting the viewer into the action. Speaking of action, there's some good stuff in Time and Tide, particularly a shootout/sniper standoff in a crowded apartment building that manages to deliver plenty of thrills without huge explosions or a huge body count (though the movie is plenty violent in parts -- Tsui definetly has not lost his touch in showing just enough gore to excite an audience but not so much as to disgust). The expository scenes are also handled well, as all the actors do a good job. Nic Tse is his usual amiable self, Anthony Wong puts in a rare stint (at least for him these days, as he seems to take any role for a paycheck) where he doesn't seem to be phoning in his lines, Cathy Tsui and Cathy Jo provide strong female leads (never turning into whiny, needy crybabies), and Wu Bai puts on a mesmerizing performance as the conflicted Jack.

Okay, it's not a masterpiece -- it's probably not even something you're likely to remember a few years down the road. But Time and Tide is a good film, delivering action, suspense and a little bit of romantic comedy and even a smidgen of social commentary as well. With the dearth of mindless and poorly done action movies hitting theatres recently, you could do a lot (and I mean a whole lot) worse than Time and Tide, unless looking at poorly animated CGI mummies is your idea of fun.

[review from]

Reviewed by: SteelwireMantis
Date: 10/25/2003
Summary: Underrated classic

I saw this movie a year ago, when it was released on DVD in the UK, the same time as 'Tokyo Raiders', even though TR was one of the biggest hits of 2000 in Hong Kong, I preferred this film more when I watched them.

Tyler (Nicholas Tse) is a regular Hong Kong yuppie working at a bar and trying to cope with the trip of life. During one night he meets a woman named Ah Joi (Cathy Tsui) who has broken up with her lover. What Tyler doesn't know is that Ah Joi is a lesbian, to his knowledge, he goes along with her and gets drunk and ends up in bed with her. When she realises the morning after, she refuses to see Tyler again. When discovering that she is pregnant, Tyler looks for a new job and ends up working for Uncle Ji (Anthony Wong) as a bodyguard for his security agency so he may help out Ah Joi financially.

Meanwhile, Juan (Wu Bai) a hitman has fallen out with his Spanish mercenary circle and is hired to kill his father-in-law. Tyler and Juan coincidentally meet at a gun store and form a brotherhood. Tyler has recognised Juan's true form and is given the choice to obey his duty as a law-abiding citizen or stay loyal and honour his friendship with Juan in the midst of bullets, bombs and explosions.

There is more than action to 'Time and Tide', it has complex characters, fast-paced comedy and a heck load of suspense. This movie did show a lot of humour(NB: When Tyler takes a fat woman to the airport). This movie also shows different aspects of society which is stated clearly in the opening lines of Nic Tse's character about the creation of Earth in seven days. This movie had great action scenes, slick camerawork and a great cast that play their parts well (Except for the English talking guys like usual in any Hong Kong movie). This should be held as a cult movie which is truly breath-taking and refreshing for Hong Kong cinema, as well as Tsui Hark's 'Zu: Warriors of the Magic Mountain' was well-recognised but did not set the box-office alite, but is hailed a classic. Due to the poor criticisms of 'The Legend of Zu' and 'Black Mask 2' I steered clearly away from them. But I recommend this movie for the serious film-viewer.

A Truly original and aspiring but underrated masterpiece.


Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: balstino
Date: 05/15/2003
Summary: What a Rush!

This film proves that Hong Kong can still do it. You must watch this in cantonese with subs though (as always!) otherwise you will not understand the many languages spoken. The plot is tidy, the characters involving and the action is THE BEST SINCE HARD BOILED. I do not say that lightly. The R1 DVD release has Tsui Hark commentary on, so just go and BUY, BUY, BUY!!!

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 05/13/2003
Summary: Classic film

OK, I’ve watched Time And Tide four times now, and I can finally say I understood it all. The whole story arc, and practically every scene! I liked it before I understood it, and I like it just as much now. Those that say it has no plot just haven’t paid enough attention – there’s plenty of plot there, but the way the film is edited means that you have do some work to make sense of it all. It’s said that the original cut of the film was about 3 hours long, but Tsui Hark either decided or was persuaded to cut it down to a more theatre friendly 110 minutes. To do so, he went all Wong Kar Wai on the film – apparently cutting out most of the scenes that explained what was going on and leaving a story that’s told mostly through incidental details and reactions. Perhaps he should have called the film “IN THE MOOD FOR BULLETS” J.

For those wishing to know what the plot is without going to the trouble of watching the film four times, here’s a synopsis:

A gang of mercenaries in South America betrays one of their members, a Taiwanese guy called Juan (Wu Bai, going by the name Jack in most scenes). He’s not best pleased and takes a case of their money, hoping to settle in Hong Kong with his pregnant wife (Candy Lo). The gang feel that their reputation will be ruined if one of their members ‘beats’ them in this way, so they follow him to Hong Kong to get the money back and restore their good name in the mercenary world.

Meanwhile, Nic Tse is a young guy with little purpose or direction in his life, who accidentally gets a girl (Cathy Tsui) pregnant in a drunken fling. 9 months later, she doesn’t want to know him but he feels responsible, and wants to at least provide financial help. He borrows some money from Anthony Wong, and agrees to work for Wong’s bodyguard agency to repay it. A job brings him into contact with Wu Bai, who he also met in a chance encounter at a shop. The two hit it off and become friends. This is complicated when the mercenaries turn up and give Wu Bai a task to complete to make a truce - Wu Bai ends up assassinating the guy Nic Tse is protecting.

Nic gets into a whole lot of trouble because Wong and the cops believe he was involved in the assassination, so he goes after Wu Bai to get an explanation. Unfortunately, this gets him caught up in the deadly game that Bai and the mercenaries have to play to settle their relationship once and for all.

There, it’s not all that complicated once you’ve understood it – the trick is just piecing together the scraps of information Tsui Hark feeds you until you have enough to fill in the picture.

Tsui Hark said he wanted to create a “new language of cinema” with Time And Tide – a different way of telling a story. It’s yet another brave innovation by this ever-creative filmmaker, but unfortunately one that left a lot of the audience behind. Although it owes a lot to Wong Kar-Wai’s films, Time And Tide is still a unique and envelope-pushing film, which many people already recognize as a classic Hong Kong movie. Not so many people in Hong Kong though, apparently, as the film flopped at the box office. Along with the disastrous performance of LEGEND OF ZU, Tsui Hark’s return to Hong Kong filmmaking pretty much ruined his career. The (this time deservedly) loathed BLACK MASK 2 was another nail in the coffin, and now this director who ruled and defined Hong Kong cinema for over a decade is having real trouble getting financing to make any more films.

Although BLACK MASK 2 deserved every criticism it got, and LEGEND OF ZU deserved a lot of them, TIME AND TIDE is a truly under-rated masterpiece. It’s innovative and accomplished in many ways, most especially the action scenes, where Tsui Hark created yet another new way to stage and shoot action – how many times has he done that in his career now?

T&T’s action scenes are mostly gunplay related, but quite different in style from the John Woo style that most Hong Kong films have sought to emulate (and which Tsui Hark probably had some part in creating). The gunfights take place between highly trained and skilled professionals – masters of strategy and technique, with Wu Bai being the best of them all. It’s amazing the number of new things Tsui Hark and choreographer Xiong Xin Xin manage to find to do with gunplay and some subtly wire-enhanced martial artistry. T&T contains some of the very best action scenes a Hong Kong movie has contained – helped massively by Tsui Hark’s ever-inventive and imaginative camera work.

TIME AND TIDE is most of all a stylish film – the way the whole film is shot and edited is technically very slick, and artistically very beautiful. Not as stylized as Wong Kar-Wai & Christopher Doyle’s collaborations, but still full of great images.

I expect many people will never be fans of the film, but I imagine as the years go by more and more people will come to see it as a classic that perhaps came at the wrong time for the audience to really appreciate it. One is reminded that even great films like ASHES OF TIME have flopped at the box office too J.

For all the Wong Kar-Wai references in this and other reviews, the film is still something that only Tsui Hark could have made. It’s as different from most of his other films as many of them are from each other, which is one of the things that makes him such a remarkable filmmaker. I really hope his career gets back on track soon, and we start seeing more wonderful films from him!

9/10 – highly recommended

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: icacutee
Date: 04/17/2003

I am not a fan of action films, but the action in this movie was great. Originally, I had only wanted to see Nicholas Tse (yes, I am his fan), and though "screw the others", but really, this movie was something great.

Bicholas Tse played a dumb punk, and I was disappointed, but what can I say? He suits the role, because he does have that kind of character (though I am sorry to admit it), and he definitely is not up to Wu Bai's part.

Now Wu Bai was really something else. I had thought the focus of the movie was on Nicholas, but it was really Wu Bai. He surprised me witht eh great action. It was cool how he could be prepared for everything. But then, that could be thanks to the directors of this movie.

The thing about cockroaches was a bit wierd, and I didn't get when did some of the spanish-speaking dudes die int eh action scenes.

The best scene was the attack on the housing estate. The sound effects were really cool as well. Nicholas Tse's theme song suited the movie, but Wu Bai's ballads were not as suitable, though great songs in themselves.

Yes, this movie is recommended and worth watching, especially due to the action. If you were planning to drool over Nicholas Tse, you will be disappointed.

Reviewed by: Wu'xiaBadger
Date: 01/16/2003
Summary: Tsui Hark-the Ridley Scott of Hong Kong

This was a very tight movie. Lots of reviews already, but I just had my faith restored (somewhat) in Hark after the devestatingly terrible "Black Mask 2", so I wanted to give the man his props. Hark can still pull off a slick, stylish movie when he tries.
I view Hark as a lot like Ridley Scott, who's done great stuff like "Legend", "Bladerunner", "Alien", and "Gladiator"; but he'll also lay some trash like "Black Hawk Down" or "White Squall" on us. Except to date Scott has not yet crafted a film as infinitly bad as "Black Mask 2". Sorry to get off topic, but that was a lousy movie. "Time and Tide", however, I enjoyed a great deal, particularly the stairwell repelling by Wu Bai. 7/10

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Sevket
Date: 11/30/2002
Summary: Cool Action from Tsui Hark

Ooh I have been waiting to watch this movie for so long and now I finally got the chance to watch it. I have not been able to understand everything in my first viewing so I decided to write the review after another spin.

The movie opens with quite catch tune that sets up the mood for the beginning of the film. Time and Tide is about a story of an ordinary guy that we might bump into every day. Nicolas Tse's character Tyler is that kind of guy. He just runs around with a replica gun in all those scenes and gets beat up quite a lot. I found this quite disappointing as I have watched this movie after Gen-X Cops and I was expecting Tse to be the hero of the movie but he simply isn't. He makes the story but it’s Wu Bai that does all the action.

The basis of the story is the struggle between two guys from Hong Kong and some mercenaries from South America. It might be a very unlikely pairing but it does happen in the movie. As a result of this, guys fire guns, jump from place to place and shed a lot of blood all through the last half of the film.

The action actually begins in a hotel lobby then moves on to a car park to Hong Kong Project to Kowloon Train Station and finally to Hong Kong Coliseum. There is so much diversity in the surroundings and they have managed to get the best from those areas. There is only one complaining from me as far as action scenes of Time and Tide are concerned; there are almost no martial arts at all. Some really good high kicking would have been a very good addition.

But never worry, as I said before there is so much action in this movie to make you feel like "yeah this is the kind of action I really want". There are SWAT Team Operations, Sniper Action plus Cat and Mouse style chase scenes that have been shot very cleverly. All these action keeps you on the edge of your seat.

There are really awesome cinematic action in Time and Tide thanks to Tsui Hark’s style and vision. For example there is one scene that before the gun is fired the gun becomes transparent ad you get to see the mechanism inside the gun with the bullet fired. There are many more scenes like this in the movie just to remind you.

There are some sub plots and emotional scenes which is hard to follow in the beginning so I really recommend multiple viewing (with subtitles on) and there are so many different languages spoken in Time and Tide. Apart from that everything is just fine.

Overall I was expecting some good looking Hong Kong action from Time and Tide and it does not disappoint. So I’ll give it thumbs up. Tsui Hark brings up really good cinematic Hong Kong action with this. Recommended

Reviewed by: addy
Date: 06/08/2002
Summary: No more action movie for me for a while

It has so much action… that I got sick of it. Yes, the sound and special effects are great, even better than Matrix. However, after 45 minutes of the same staff I said to myself: "Oh no, here goes again, another shooting spray! Is there anything else in this movie? …"

This movie remind of me of a worst but certainly the most expensive firework show I’ve seen. This memorial weekend almost everybody went to this so-called biggest firework west of Mississippi. True, I can tell they burnt a lot of money during that 30-minute show -it was like watching a finally from the beginning to the end. Strangely, I felt nothing special. I like more of some cheaper firework shows with far fewer blasts, because in between every blast, there is a 2-second dark sky. Do you know what I mean? Too much trills is no thrill, because you get numb!

Seems to me that Tsui Hark through this movie is saying to everyone: “Look! I can do just as good, if not better actions than Hollywood!”

Anyway, after that hour-and-half long torturous thrill, I spent the rest of my evening with a romantic comedy that I made sure it has absolutely no action in it.

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 05/13/2002
Summary: Poor

[Time And Tide]

Some of the reviewers hear must have serious problems, unless there were a lot of things I missed in this film. I agree with what PJSHIMMER and PAUL FONOROFF said, check their reviews out.

How the hell can soft boy Nick Tse be put in a film like this?? What was Tsui Hark thinking of?

Rating: 1.5/5

Reviewed by: mehaul
Date: 04/10/2002

Excellent action movie with good pacing that builds to a cool climax, bus pushes aside a plot. The two lead characters are both in relationships with pregnant woman, one is a bodyguard and the other is a merc. For some reason they become friends. Beyond that the plot is a mystery. Well worth it for the action and fine direction.

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 02/21/2002

I didn't write a review for this when it came out initially, so let me make up for that with this somewhat belated assessment: I rewatched the film last night because some friends wanted to see what HK action movies looked like these days, and they were blown away.

The movie is extremely powerful in its visual impact, and I continue to discover exciting new angles/ideas everytime I rewatch it. Most of the criticism directed at the film focuses on what is allegedly an inscrutable plot (which I don't find) while ignoring the inventiveness which Tsui Hark displays in a highly successful attempt to breath new life into the rather stale gunplay movie genre, just like he reinvigorated swordplay with The Blade and Martial Arts movies with OUATIC years before.

That inventiveness is evident in how he sets up familar genre cliches and then takes them in new directions (witness the brief John Woo moment when two assassins confront each other with guns, and how Tsui takes this to a far more realistic outcome), or how he deploys his camera (during the climactic apartment building sequence, the camera literally hurdles towards the ground in pursuit of the assassins jumping down the facade of the building). The fights are choreographed in a far more realistic manner, and while there is still plenty of stylized action, the whole thing feels just so much more real and involves the viewer on a much more intense level than most other recent action movies coming out of HK. There are no distinguishable action set pieces here - the whole movie is an action setpiece, or rather a cinematic improvisation on familiar action themes. Tsui takes his characters, their surroundings and then starts building and layering action sequences around them. This leads to a climactic and extended secquence that last for almost half of the movie, starting in an apartment complex, leading to Kowloon Station, and then ending in the Colloseum. Along the way, you have a view of what it would be like to be INSIDE an exploding apartment, you have tense sniper action, people flinging themselves along the outside of buildings, SDU-type assaults, and finally a gut-wrenching birth sequence that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Tsui uses some limited CG FX, some of which are merely fanciful (a caption title breaking up into pieces that morph into leaves blowing on the street), others truly attempt to show parts of action sequences we haven't seen before (such as the inside of an apartment blowing up). While some of the optical FX are poor (the outside shot of the burning apartment), others are extremely well done.

But all this is just surface layer for something much more ambitious - from Nic Tse's opening monologue (which is a cynical retelling of Creation, offering a bleak assessment of the human condition) to the final shot (two pairs of feet, one in slippers, one in boots, and yet unified by an - unseen - baby), Tsui paints a picture that says more about the hopes and deceptions of modern urban existence through little character quirks/scenes than by spelling anything out. Witness Nic Tse's character, who spends half the movie running around like a poor CYF imitation, pointing his fake toy gun at professional assassins as if it were real. The funniest moment of the movie comes when Wu Bai finally gives him a real gun, and instead of ditching the toy gun, he uses both because toting twin guns will make him look cooler...

There are plenty of memorable performances in the movie: Anthony Wong is understated yet convincing as Nic's boss, and Nic acquits himself well. But Wu Bai deserves special mention: his character remains somewhat enigmatic, yet could have easily been perceived as ludicrous. It is the charaisma that Wu Bai brings to this role that holds things together.

All in all, I believe this films points the way for reinvigorating the HK action movie genre. Highly recommended.

Reviewed by: nomoretitanic
Date: 08/22/2001
Summary: Damn Good Movie

I liked this movie a lot. Every shot seemd to have like 20 little ideas behind it. At the first look it looks like "oh another MTV style movie with rapid editing and shaky cameras", but personally I got a lot outta this movie, just on its initial viewing.

I also didn't understand why alotta people didn't get the plot, it wasn't simple but it was understandable. Maybe it's got something to do with the English subtitles/ dubs, I wasn't paying attention to the subtitles but they did translate some sayings stupid.

Okay aside from the plot, the movie had plenty to say. A lot of jokes on other movies and styles. It had a lot of criticism on John Woo's style for example, just as Blade was a criticism on Wong Kar Wai's Ashes of Time (as the very quotable JeanLuc Goddard said, "The best way to criticize a movie is to make another one.") That shot where the long-hair bad guy pointed his gun at a Columbian army guy and the army guy said "so now we're even..." and the long hair dude shot him five times in the face, that was totally a shot at John Woo. And all the doves are portrayed as dumb pigeons, the Mother Mary figures. The guy who sounded like The Godfather sounded like that because "he was shot through the throat" and Nick Tse's insistence on holding two guns even though one of them is a toy gun. What else, let's see, the use of the languages are real interesting. The language is always based on who the scene's centralized around--like Nick Tse spoke mandarin to WuBai when they discussed the openin of their own security company in mandarin, WuBai's wife spoke mandarin to him at the end when asking about his real name, the villain dude spoke mandarin to him on the top of the raftors. But then of course, WuBai is always speaking mandarin because he can't speak anything else. I like the switch-and-bait thing, how the movie looked like it was about Nick Tse when it was really about WuBai. When I read in the review about a scene involving a pregnant woman firing guns, I always thought it would be Nick's girl doing it--because she's a cop. I think the main drive behind this hyperkinetic camerawork that differs from, let's see, Wong Kar Wai or Gladiator's shaking camera is that, Tsui Hark knows what it means to use a handhold and what it means to edit rapidly--to save time. Every shot has a purpose, not to flaunt his style, but to tell the story. Like the camera going from outside into a car into the briefcase--that's to tell you that there is money inside, visual language, or a shot of Nick and Anthony from across the street and next shot they're next to each other, or like, every shot in that movie. That's why the plot seemed like so much, because it was packed. This is the only other movie besides Three Kings and Blade where the action scenes co-exist WITH the plotline, whereas most action movies set up their storyline, then stop the storyline for the action sequences, then pick up again.
Good movie man, so much more to talk about. So little time.

(Ps, anyone knows where I can get a copy of this movie WITH deleted scenes? I saw in the trailer SEVERAL action sequences that was NOT in the movie, a motorcycle guy getting hit by a car for example, and several other ones...anyone knows anything about a longer edit/ director's cut version of this movie?)

Reviewed by: resdog781
Date: 07/25/2001
Summary: yet another HK Jerry Bruckheimer ripoff

This one had some phat editing, some phatter action sequences, a title that I didn't think made a whole bunch of sense, and a horribly convoluted plot, to put it lightly. But screw all that.

This was one of the most decent action movies to come out of HK in a couple years. Better than Tokyo Raiders, but come to think about it, that doesn't say much :P

As far as I can tell, Nicholas Tse is a street punk bartender who has a one night stand with a lesbian cop, and gets her pregnant. So he decides to become a bodyguard to raise money for the child. Meanwhile, Wu Bai is a former paramilitary agent guy who's being hunted down by his former team (their skills are demonstrated in an impressive but pretty innocuous armed robbery sequence near the beginning)

The two cross paths during an assassination of Wu's fiancee's father (who Tse is supposed to protect), and sure enough they later team up to take out Wu's former teammates in some insane action sequences. The last of which takes place in an airport swarming with SDU's and the evil paramilitary squad after both of them, and the two girls.

And the lesbian cop chick kicks a bad guy's ass like 10 seconds after having a child, and Nicholas Tse kicks a grenade right into a bad guy's face, which explodes and disintegrates the bad guy, but doesn't leave Tse with so much as a scratch when he's a mere 5 feet away. That just didn't click with me. You'd think she'd be a little exhausted and he'd be seriously injured, but hey. This is an HK movie, so everybody's a little superhuman.

Props to the much-talked-about rappelling gunfight sequence, where it almost looks like they just dropped the camera off the side of the building to let it follow Wu Bai sliding down the ropes, all the while taking out a whole bunch of enemy snipers.

But, all the cool action sequences and camera tricks in the world won't save the confusing plot, and there's a ton of extraneous characters one needs to keep track of.

But still, a pretty damn decent piece of work in an HK film industry which doesn't put out many all out John Woo style bullet-ballets anymore. Props to Tsui Hark.

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 07/19/2001
Summary: I thought there was going to be a plot but.............

At the begining of the movie, the way the movie was going, it seemed like you will see some deep human relationships form but it didn't last!! Instead it turned out to be almost all action, but the action was very good. One of the best ation movies of the year in fact!! I was very impressed but you can see hollywood had some influence in the movie.

Nothing much else to say but if you like action, this is definately the movie to watch!!


Reviewed by: reelcool
Date: 06/17/2001
Summary: Good Commercial

As I watched this convoluted-storyless-action film, I was impressed by the fantastic sound effects of the bullets, and its shells, as they explode and bounce off the the tile floor, going "ping" and "crack". The visual style of "Tsui Hark" is also quite engaging, as the camera tracks the "chaser" and the "chased" through HK's seedy tenements. All the while absorbed by the saturated colors so commonly found on MTV and car commercials. Looks "slick". As a matter of fact, it's just like a commercial, and the product is ... "Tsui Hark". Yes, the director is shamelessly out and about to show the world what a "hip and cool" director he really is by mastering all that MTV has to offer in terms of sight and sound. Too bad the film is so boring.

Reviewed by: Trigger
Date: 05/29/2001
Summary: A Must-See for Action Fans

I recently watched Time and Tide for the first time on the Region 3 Fullscreen DVD release. Wow. If you haven't seen it, you should. It's very slick. You might want to wait until it comes out in widescreen and with DTS perhaps, but the current release is nothing to sneeze at.

Outstanding transfer (even though it was fullscreen) and the sound was amazing. Lots of heavy bass and great surround separation. The film itself starts out like it's going to be a bit more cerebral than it ends up... Tsui Hark makes excellent action films and this is no exception. Plenty of little camera tricks and going inside gun chambers and whatever else you can think of.

The plot was somewhat hard to follow at first, for me anyway... I caught on after awhile though. The trouble was that the film decided to dispose of any exposition or showing what type of people the characters are normally - the film doesn't spend much time explaining what's going on. I don't know - maybe it's just me. Even by the end, the characters are never fully explored, but just enough so that you can care what's going on.

The action is very tight and I only caught sight of the wires a few times and it didn't bother me. I think if the story and characters had been fleshed out just a little bit more, then I would feel comfortable calling this a masterpiece. But as it is - I have to say that it's merely "great". I did like it a bit more than Shiri which was also pretty good.

Seen on R3 Fullscreen DVD - Columbia/Tristar
Movie Rating - 8.2/10

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: magic-8
Date: 05/24/2001
Summary: Stunning Visual Exercise

After an unpleasant trip to Hollywood, Tsui Hark returns to Hong Kong cinema with the action packed "Time and Tide." Nicholas Tse and Wu Bai star as Tyler and Jack, respectively. These two characters get involved with each other's lives and the ensuing violence that follows. The plotline revolves around Tse and his need to make money to provide financial support for the lesbian-cop that he had gotten pregnant during a one-night-stand. Tse meets Wu, whose wife is also pregnant. Talk about plot contrivances. This may be Hark warming up, getting back into filmmaking shape while working Hollywood out of his system. But, as demonstrated by movies like "China Strike Force" and "Skyline Cruisers," the action can be hollow when there is no story associated with the film. What separates "Time and Tide," to some degree, from these other big budgeted affairs is the ability to provide moderately engaging characters and pacing that doesn't allow the viewer to notice too many of the plot holes.

Since Hark has always been a good storyteller, it's disappointing that the story, which starts off with promise, fades as the characters become bland as the movie progresses. Luckily, Hark makes up for it by giving us eye candy. "Time and Tide" is awash with vivid primary colors in the film's palette of spectacle and dazzling camera work. The actors are merely props for Hark's action set pieces. There are several great looking action sequences involving Tse being tossed about as if he were a rag doll, and the scenes of Wu fighting his old South American mercenary cronies. Nicholas Tse is becoming a better actor with each successive outing, but he is still not a leading man. Although he is the main protagonist, Tse has problems in carrying the film. Wu Bai, on the other hand, does a fine job in his acting debut, looking like a youthful Phillip Kwok (Mad Dog in "Hard Boiled").

Xiong Xin-Xin choreographs the frenetic action scenes. His work is well done and the best that he's ever attempted. Xiong keeps things lively by having the characters' movement dictate the action. There is fluidity to every scene. Although the martial arts is lacking, the other action is quite diverting. Kudos must go to the cinematographers Herman Yau and Ko Chiu Lam for their efforts.

With Hong Kong producers injecting larger budgets, filmmakers will find that when the action is bigger, the plot holes become bigger, too. The solid production values help "Time and Tide" to be a stunning visual exercise.

Reviewed by: GenXcops_Jack
Date: 05/07/2001
Summary: 100% action

good utilization of actors and their perspective strengths. Nic tse did a very good job in a believable role. the other actor, the action hero, was superb, he did a better job then tom cruise in MI:2. i'm sorry i forget his name. ACTION PACKED!!! creative action scenes and high quality special effects.
of course, with most movies of this kind, the story and plot was not worked up very hard, but with action this good-i recommend it

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 11/19/2000
Summary: Insanity.

There's plenty wrong with Time and Tide; the plot is so minimal as to barely qualify as present. Character development is of little concern, and is handled in odd ways. The Spanish dialogue seems very poorly written and acted. All the same, it's probably going to go on record with me as the most entertaining (if not necessarily the BEST) movie of 2000. Imagine a 110 minute movie with perhaps only ten minutes of straight-forward expository dialogue. Imagine that the final 40 minutes consist almost entirely of running, yelling, jumping, shooting, and exploding. Add to this the fact that the rest of the movie is no slouch either, with very short scenes and a very high ratio of "crazy" to normal shots. On top of that, the effects are about the best in a Hong Kong movie to date, with those that are not entirely convincing at least not being jarring. You get the picture: this movie is like a child with ADD and a bag full of fireworks. Those hoping for the rebirth of old-style Hong Kong action will be disappointed; there really aren't any protracted fight scenes or gun battles. Instead, the action, particularly the last 40 minutes, consists of brief flurries of crazily shot and edited mayhem, seperated by not-so-calm lulls. But then, this isn't an "old-school" Hong Kong action movie; it's just a new facet of Tsui Hark's mad genius. Hardly Tsui's most compelling, meaningful, or emotionally affecting work, but instead, a rare (for me, virtually unheard of) film that gets by pretty much entirely on spectacle and pacing. Those who really, really don't like to be confused and assaulted by a movie won't feel the same way, but after two viewings I'm definitely pro-Time and Tide.

Reviewed by: Paul Fonoroff
Date: 10/28/2000

If there is an award for most muddled screenplay, Time and Tide is a prime candidate. Tsui Hark, one of the most influential Hong Kong filmmakers of the past 20 years, is a passionate cineaste whose Achilles heel is plot construction. When a balance between "action" and "story" is achieved, as in Once Upon a Time in China II, the results are brilliant. With Time and Tide, the balance is totally out of kilter. Beginning in reel one, viewers find themselves in a state of confusion, a bewilderment that still exists during the end-roller credits nearly two hours later.

The script, co-authored by Tsui and longtime collaborator Koan Hui, is a far-fetched affair involving Hong Kong bodyguards, Latin American terrorists, huge sums of cash, love, hate, betrayal, and murder. The various characters’ interactions and motivations, the events that bring them together and tear them apart, are dealt with in a puerile comic book fashion. They act like little kids masquerading as grown-ups, so that despite the sophisticated trappings, the level of repartee and interplay is no more engaging than a very violent children’s birthday party.

Tsui displays his usual good sense of casting, so that the acting is certainly not part of the problem. Nicholas Tse is excellent as Tyler, a bodyguard who finds himself in many life-and-death situations, though even he has trouble making credible his delivery of a baby in the Hunghom Train Station basement. Tyler’s major adversary/ally is a mysterious mercenary, Jack (Taiwanese rock star Wu Bai, who does very well in his first starring role), who has returned from Brazil and married a Hong Kong girl, Ah Hui (Candy Lo, who leaves a good impression in her film debut). In one of those coincidences that can only happen on screen, her father is a triad leader, a target of a Latino hit squad comprised of Jack’s former colleagues headed by Miguel (musician Joventino Couto Remotigue).

A subplot involving Tyler’s romance with a lesbian police officer, Ah Jo (Cathy Chui), is irritating in the extreme. From her first appearance, Jo’s behaviour is so obnoxious as to elicit little audience sympathy, and though she may serve a symbolic role, one wishes the filmmakers had not felt it necessary to write her into Time and Tide.

The action scenes, dazzling choreographed and edited, are lengthy and violent. But because they lack the context of a convincing story, ultimately prove unexciting and disoriented. Time and tide may wait for no man, but even action films should wait for a polished scenario before the director shouts "Action!"

2 stars

This review is copyright (c) 2000 by Paul Fonoroff. All rights reserved. No part of the review may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Reviewer Score: 4