Film Review: Time and Tide (2000)


Doing the right thing can sometimes get you in the trouble and that is situation protagonist of Time and Tide, 2000 Hong Kong action film directed by Tsui Hark, finds himself in. Tyler Yim (played by Nicholas Tse) is young and irresponsible youth who once had few drinks too many and, as a result, made policewoman Ah Jo (played by Cathy Tsui) pregnant. Ah Jo is actually a lesbian and doesn’t want anything to do with Tyler, but he feels responsible and decides to start working in order to support his child. The first available job is offered by shady security firm run by local loan shark “Uncle” Ji (played by Anthony Wong), specialised for providing services to even shadier characters. Tyler dreams of travelling to Latin America, and this is the place from where former mercenary Jack Chow (played by Wu Bai) returned after training local terrorists, drug smugglers and death squads. Despite having different visions of Latin America, Tyler and Jack become good friends, partly because Jack’s wife Ah Hui (played by Candy Lo) is also pregnant. Their friendship will be tested when group of Jack’s former colleagues led by Miguel (played by Jun Kung) arrives to Hong Kong and asks Jack to take another job.

Tsui Hark unlike John Woo, another celebrated Hong Kong action film director, failed to make much of an impact in Hollywood during 1990s. His return to Hong Kong didn’t bring much of a change, because Hark’s style of film making remained the same. Time and Tide is again film rich with spectacular action scenes, explosions and hundreds of fired bulletts and one of them, near the end, when protagonist has to fight with small army of villains while delivering baby, is quite effective. Unfortunately, Hark’s emphasis on spectacular fireworks came at the expense of credible story. Events take place at incredibly rapid pace and the viewers that don’t pay full attention will have problems realising what is actually going on, who the characters are and what are their motives. In few instances when rhythm slows down viewers must notice some fine acting, which involves pop star Nicholas Tse (who appeared in Gen-X Cops) and veteran character actor Anthony Wong, specialist for the roles of sinister villains. Unfortunately, Hark wasn’t interested in characterisation, but even small glimpses show that, with a just a little bit more attention, Time and Tide could have been interesting and ambitious film. Although generally watchable, this film get worse when someone start thinking what John Woo would have made out of this material.

RATING: 4/10 (+)

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