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借兵 (2005)
Set to Kill

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/16/2010

Supposedly, Set to Kill is a crime drama tinged with action. But under the lackadaisical direction of Marco Mak, we get very little in the way of drama, and even less action. Which makes the only crime here the headache and/or boredom the viewer will experience if they can actually manage to sit through the whole movie.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 08/20/2007
Summary: a fine film.

Set to Kill (2005) is a fine film that deserves greater recognition and praise in the lofty arena of global cinema. Already a big star in Hong Kong cinema, "new wave" director Marco Mak Chi-Sin continues to outdo himself with each new project. After a string of box office hits like Cop on a Mission (2001), The Peeping (2002), and Colour of the Truth (2003), Mak seems to have carte blanche when it comes to his career choices.

Raymond Wong Ho-Yin stars as a triad bodyguard on a deadly mission. Sure, I know that this sounds like the plot of many recent Hong Kong movies but screenwriter Tai Tak-Kwong has given Mr. Mak an exciting, fresh take on the subject matter. Good casting and outstanding production design keep the scenario compelling at every maddening twist. Ning Jing carries the film with a sultry, seductive performance that leads the viewer through this suspenseful action film. Well done, Mr. Mak! Set to Kill is a visual tour-de-force.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: White Dragon
Date: 11/16/2005
Summary: Sometimes good things come in small packages

Connie Yam (Ning Jing) discovers a far reaching money laundering scam operating in her fiancé, Billy Wong's (Johnny Lu) high profile investment bank. The primary suspect, accountant CK Chu, is gunned down in the bank's parking lot; yet it turns around that Connie may have been the intended target. Billy turns to former triad boss Uncle Ghost (Lau Siu Ming) for protection of his fiancée, at least until she can trace the laundering back to its source. Amidst the four bodyguards assigned Yam is her former flame Nick (Raymond Wong); sparks soon fly -- as do bullets galore, double and triple crosses, and more red herrings than an Agatha Christie appreciation convention.

Marco Mak's second film for '05 was, for me, even better than his last (SLIM TILL DEAD), and rates on an even keel against his prior THE BLOOD RULES (2000) and COP ON A MISSION (2001). Though I thought this was awesome entertainment for a low budget thriller, and got off on the slick visual design, glowing cinematography and raucous Marco Wan techno score...I can't really recommend it to a wider audience on my idiosincracies alone. There's far too many plot twists and turns in the last half hour for the average viewer, to the point that most viewers will end up completely confused come the final sting in the tail. But personally I loved this film, and thrilled to see the "new" Ning Jing back in feature films; it's exciting, action-packed, and an often heady cacophony of colour and sound...but it's not a film that will work for everyone. A big surprise and personal favourite amidst the generally mediocre output of the '05 production year!

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: pjshimmer
Date: 11/13/2005

director Marco Mak turns his attention this year to "SET TO KILL," a rather ordinary bodyguard tale of many plot twists, the only other movie that matches its sheer quantity of twists being TOKYO RAIDERS. The editing style recalls COLOUR OF THE TRUTH, both editted by Mak himself, in which rapid movements are followed by slow motion. I haven't seen COLOUR for a while, but I think this movie may have reused the house where Anthony Wong shot the Vietnamese woman. The music is mainly 2 fold: the latin pop recalls TOKYO RAIDERS, while a more melancholy score recalls ONE NITE IN MONGKOK. Unfortunately, this movie is inferior to all of its sources of inspiration. It simply has too much sound effects all the time. Sometimes loud != good.


Reviewer Score: 6