starring Chung Suet-ying, Lam Suet, Patrick Tse, Petrina Fung
screenplay by Ho Ching-yi, Lam Ka-tung
directed by Ricky Ko
by Walter Chaw Ricky Ko's Time is perched a little uneasily between broad slapstick and heartfelt melodrama, and while arguably these are the two modes that define Charlie Chaplin's shtick, the delicateness of that balance is one explanation for why there's pretty much only the one Charlie Chaplin. Its Chinese title meaning something like "take a hit out on twilight," Ko's flick opens with some throwback Hong Kong action as a trio of hired killers show their stuff in colourful, comic-book-interstitial-aided, '70s-era vignettes: the master of the Karambit Knife, the master of the barbed chain-whip, the portly getaway driver/comic relief--roles each played at some point in their prolific careers by Hong Kong legends Patrick Tse, Petrina Fung Bo-Bo, and Lam Suet, reprised here after a fashion as the film flashes forward to catch up with them well into their dotage. Chau (Tse) uses his knife skills now to slowly, very slowly, slice noodles into broth at a hole-in-the-wall cafe; Fung (Bo-Bo) fronts a lounge act at a geriatric disco; and Chung (Lam) whiles away his hours in the company of an in-call prostitute he hopes one day to marry. Fung's the only one of them, really, who isn't all but waiting to die. When Chau gets replaced by a noodle-making robot, Fung offers him a job--a hit, in fact, a last call to glory that Chau answers by practicing his knifing on a log. He's still got it: slowed considerably, but not squeamish about murder for hire. Turns out, his target is an old woman who just wants to get it over with.