An unknown man (Andy Lau) at the start of this award winning Hong Kong film is being seen by his Doctor. Given a short time to live he leaves the Doctor's office and starts planning an elaborate scheme to rip off a local crime lord known as “The Bald Guy” but also completely confuse the local police led by the inept Inspector Wong. So the scene is set for an incredibly enjoyable action thriller from Director, Johnny To.
Officer Ho has certainly been around. Having worked in almost every single department in the Police Force, he now has a 9-5 clerical job with a nice little sideline in hostage negotiation. Lau's character robs a financial centre but decides to hold the Manager hostage. In a botched attempt at hostage negotiation, Inspector Wong has to put up with Officer Ho Lau Ching Wan) who not only gets up Wong's nose but is a far better cop then he will ever be. Chasing Lau's unknown assailant to the roof top, he calls the Police's bluff and escapes down the air conditioning shaft.
Ho is determined to track this mystery man down and is helped by a Interpol agent played by Ruby Wong (who appears in the sequel). We learn Lau's character is Peter Cheung recently returned from the UK and out to avenge his late Father. Cheung is determined to rip off 'The Bald Guy' over some diamonds and Ho reluctantly agrees to assist him.
Running Out of Time in its original 1999 release won Andy Lau the best actor award at the Hong Kong Film Awards and it's easy to see why. Lau is positively breathtaking as a man whose life is almost over. Determined to do that one last deed to avenge his Father, he is getting a real kick out of confusing his opposite number played superbly by Lau Ching (who reprises his role again in the sequel) in his exploits. The award winning script (Hong Kong Film Awards) by Frenchman, Julien Carbon and Laurent Courtiaud is straightforward and lets you know the characters motivations at the right time during the film. It also ties up the entire loose ends well. As mentioned previously the character of Ho returns in the sequel, this is one sequel I will have no problem watching because if it is half as good as the original you are in for a really great time.
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