Running Out of Time 1999 Review: All in all an enjoyable film

Police inspector and excellent hostage negotiator Ho Sheung-Sang finds himself in over his head when he is pulled into a 72 hour game by a cancer suffering criminal out for vengeance on Hong Kong’s organized crime Syndicates.

Running Out of Time (Kinh Thien Thap Nhi Tieu Thoi) is a refreshing change of pace from the mindless Hong Kong triad movies I have grown so tired of. There are no spectacular gun fights. No car chases. And practically minimal action to speak of. The audience is kept in suspense for the most part. Though certain aspects of the so called “ploy” by Andy Lau are quite obvious.

The film has been hailed as a departure from the genre of violent triad films. And as an “intelligent” crime film. To an extent, it is. But, to some extent, it still fails the “believability” test. One can hardly picture any triad member to be dumb enough to not see through the female disguise of Andy Lau (Luu Duc Hoa) in a second. It also seemed to have fallen for the “if someone was seriously ill. The said someone will be coughing up copious amounts of blood regularly” thing Chinese films seem to go for all the time.

The subtle relationship between the two lead characters is a refreshing change.

All in all an enjoyable film, even though the concept is not new and there are few surprises.

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