Pascal Grenier for

After shooting himself to force the cops to take him to a hospital, a criminal claims human rights and refuses immediate treatments in order to buy time for his underlings to rescue him…

Over the last 20 years, since creating Milkyway Image, his production company, Johnnie To has been one of the most prolific and certainly the most interesting director-producer in Hong Kong. To has directed (or co-directed) more than 30 films during that span while producing more than 20 others. Threehis latest venture, is definitely not among his best.

Set almost entirely within the walls of the hospital, this cat-and-mouse game between a neurosurgeon, a criminal patient and a police inspector is too artificial for it’s own good. And that’s certainly the major weaknesses of this atypical thriller,  mixing comedy, drama and action along the medical process. There’s some good stuff in it:  To’s superior pinpoint staging and the meticulous editing (by long-time collaborator David Richardson). It maintains the audience  on the edge (at times) before the inevitable finale shootout which is one for the feast. Instead of using real slow motion camera capture, the cast simulates slow  movements (complete with a pop song and unreal CGI effects) and the result is a strange ballet, a departure from the rest.

Three is a rare hit-and-miss from one of the master of the genre. But an average Johnnie To film can still be worth a look.

Fantasia screening: July 18,  5:35 PM (J.A. De Seve Theatre)

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