Cast: Chung Suet-ying, Lam Suet, Patrick Tse, Petrina Fung
Official Selection, 2021 Hong Kong International Film Festival
Official Selection, 2021 International Film Festival Rotterdam
Swaggerific assassins from the 60s, three retired hitmen have senioritis of the arthritic kind in TIME, Ricky Ko’s charming action flick that swirls a little Hong Kong triad with a little Lone Wolf and Cub. The real jawdropper? Legendary Patrick Tse, who returns to slice, dice, and stunt a smooth turtleneck like the matinee idol gangster king he has always been.
With their glory days behind them, blade man Chau (Tse) is now a sub-par, knife-cutting noodler. Ass-kicker Mrs. Fung (Petrina Fung) runs a cabaret to support her crappy mooch-for-a son. And ace driver Chung (Lam Suet) regularly empties his fanny pack to court a sweet sex worker. When Mrs. Fung finds a surprising new market for their services, the three abandon cruddy retirement to “retire” depressed elders from their earthly woes and return to what they do best. But all bets are off when Chau crosses paths with a suicidal runaway teen whom he just can’t seem to shake.
With more combined film credits than there are Chinese characters, the acting trio of Tse, Fung and Lam are as heroic as they are emblematic of multiple golden eras of Hong Kong cinema. Ko’s casting gives this affectionate film the added melancholy of bygone times, while wondering out loud—we ain’t dead yet, but who will take our place when we’re gone?