Running Time1997

Genre: Crime, Thriller
Johnny To, whose cool, precise gangster thriller The Mission is one of the best Hong Kong films since the Chinese takeover, brings a stylish flair to Running Out of Time, an absurdly plotted but compelling cat-and-mouse crime drama that became a box-office smash in Hong Kong. Criminal genius Wah (pop star Andy Lau) is given only a few weeks to live by his doctor, so he embarks on an elaborate heist and strings along hostage negotiator and unconventional supercop Sang (Lau Ching Wan) as part of the fun. "I just want to play a game with you for 72 hours," Wah confesses. "Great," responds Sang's blustery boss, "it's lunatic against lunatic." The elaborate scheme has something to do with a bald badass mobster (an almost unrecognizable Waise Lee, of John Woo's Bullet in the Head and A Better Tomorrow), a priceless gem, and a debt of honor. There's a hint of Woo's warrior bonding as cop and crook develop a respectful adversarial friendship in their running battle of wits: "If you can get me to the police station, you win." It all hinges on some far-fetched twists and the Hong Kong cops are little more than buffoons for most of the film, but To's steely seriousness, sleek style, and runaway pacing keep the film flying through most of the improbabilities. --Sean Axmaker

Read the entire Running Time movie script | Buy this movie on Amazon

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