Exiled (Fong Juk) Review
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All Wo (Nick Cheung) wanted was to walk away from his life as a gangster and settle down to a new life with his wife and newborn son. But when he returns home to Macau, he finds that Boss Fay (Simon Yam) isn’t going to let him off that easily. When he gets back, four men are waiting for him. Two of them were sent to kill him, while two have come to protect him.

But there’s more to it than just a little gang warfare. These four men (as well as Wo) were all once childhood friends. And after a shootout in Wo’s tiny apartment, the five men cease fire and decide to sit down and talk instead. They help Wo and his wife move their furniture into the apartment before—and then they settle down to have dinner together. As the old friends talk, they agree to help Wo do one last job—one that will earn enough money to provide for his wife and son—before Boss Fay has his way.

Fong Juk (or Exiled in English) is a smooth gangster movie from Hong Kong. Director Johnnie To’s style is slow and deliberate, turning what could be just another shoot-‘em-up action movie into a work of art. In fact, it’s often breathtaking—from the careful choreography to the smooth camera work to the unusual way that To portrays gunshot wounds using what looks like red powder.

As is usually the case with Hong Kong movies, there’s a little of everything in Exiled. There’s a little bit of humor (most of which comes from the cop who’s just trying to make it to retirement). There’s a whole lot of great action (though not the kung-fu kind of action that you might expect). And there’s even a solid story (though I’ll admit it’s a bit difficult to follow at times, especially when you’re trying to follow along with the subtitles).

If you’re looking for a fast-moving action film, though, this isn’t it. Exiled has an old-fashioned western style, which means that it’s not all action all the time. But the action scenes are definitely worth the wait. Not only are they stylistically stunning, but they’re also close, claustrophobic, and chaotic. They’re unlike anything you’d see in a Hollywood action film.

So although it may require a little bit of patience (and a little bit of reading), this surprisingly beautiful action film is well worth the effort.

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