***/**** Image B+ Sound A- Extras B-
starring Nicholas Tse, Wu Bai, Anthony Wong, Joventino Couto Remotigue
written by Koan Hui & Tsui Hark
directed by Tsui Hark
by Bill Chambers Director Tsui Hark stands apart from his Chinese contemporaries by committing to a tone and relative congruity. Having made a couple of English-language pictures starring a Belgian (the Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicles Double Team and Knock-Off) and been schooled at a Southern Methodist university in Dallas, Hark is formally acquainted with the American mainstream, thankyouverymuch. His (post-Van Damme) Hong Kong import Time and Tide, while still a reminder of why it's easy for us westerners to become a fan of HK cinema yet a bit of a chore to stay one, seems a learned genre concentrate. Although its plot is by and large in the Asia pulp tradition--that is, of an elusive logic--the film wins us over with phenomenal artistry and energy, and its breathers from the mayhem don't feel like conceptual U-turns.