Thursday, September 5, 2013

Film Review: Fallen Angels (1995)

Fallen Angels (Review)
China/1995
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: Yes 

"It greatly blends many elements together that end up complimenting each other well..."

A hitman named Wong Chi-Ming (Leon Lai) wants to quit the business, but has to separate himself from the love of his life -- his business partner who he rarely sees. Meanwhile, Ho Chi Moo (Takeshi Kaneshiro), a mute prison escapee, falls in love with Charlie, a girl he runs into every night, but has trouble expressing himself.

Fallen Angels tells two stories at once; the stories do not relate except for the themes, like love and loneliness, and occasional character run-ins. Wong Chi-Ming's story has a heavier, bleaker tone as it blends stylish action and helpless romance. Ho Chi Moo's story is a bit more comic, occasionally leaning towards black humor, while keeping its hopeful love themes. I enjoy how both stories and how they occasionally clash -- a little more than you may initially think. I also enjoy the bittersweet ending of both stories, which lead to an interesting finale.

Fallen Angels is a love film with action and comedy. The action is very stylish consisting of shootouts usually captured through slow-motion or motion blur, or both; they can be overwhelming for those with sensitive eyesight. The humor can often be lighthearted, and it can occasionally be black as night; however, I felt the humor blended seamlessly with the rest of the film. The film has a very arthouse vibe yet it manages to differentiate itself -- at least most of the time. So, expect a few unnecessarily long scenes and even a few music videos within the movie; the pacing is great most of the time, except for these prolonged scenes.

The acting is great from the entire cast. Takeshi Kaneshiro is the standout for the film with his voiceless performance; it's impressive how he delivers a range of emotions -- from happiness to disappointment -- without a single word (excluding the monologues). The soundtrack is mesmerizing, really contributing to the arthouse vibe and creative a "cool" character. The shooting style can often be to beneficial and harmful; on one hand, some shots are unique and creative, offering a better insight; on the other hand, the camera movements are often unnecessarily overwhelming, which can cause dizziness. However, I enjoy the sets and I loved the vibrant lighting in some scenes.

Overall, Fallen Angels is a great film. It greatly blends many elements together that end up complimenting each other well; I thoroughly enjoyed this film, these stories, despite a few technical flaws; or, at least, what I see as flaws.

Score: 8/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some sexuality and brief nudity.

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