San Diego Asian Film Festival presents ‘Three’: Cast your vote, for the Cop, the Crook, or the Doctor

sdaff-three

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Director: Johnnie To

Studio: Media Asia Films

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

A showdown in a hospital brings the life choices of the three main characters – the Cop, the Crook, and the Doctor – to bear the consequences simultaneously!

The latest in a long line of Johnnie To action films, the zany Three is an almost non-stop ride of wth coincidences, amazingly choreographed fight scenes, and even slapstick comedy. To has a large cult following which includes the likes of Quentin Tarantino, and if you haven’t seen the Chow Yun Fat-starring movie Office, or the over-the-top film Drug War yet, you really should.

It took me awhile to figure out why the film is called Three, when, duh, there are three main characters whose life choices kind of all culminate in this one catastrophic night in a hospital. First we have the Doctor (Vicki Zhao), overworked and underappreciated, who pushes herself way too hard to pick up other peoples’ slack and in doing so, causes the death of a patient. That and, yknow, a severe lack of sleep, has her on a short leash when the next player in our farce is delivered to the hospital, the Crook (Wallace Chung).

The Crook took a bullet in the freaking head when the far-too-determined Cop (Louis Coo) told one of his comrades to just shoot the Crook, already, and by gum, he did. Now the philosophical Crook has been hauled into the Doctor’s hospital by the Cop, and though he is terrified of the retribution from the Crooks gang he just knows is coming, the Cop demands the Doctor save the Crook.

Here, it gets sticky: the only way for the Doctor to save the Crook is of course to remove the bullet in his head, and the Crook is refusing to let the hospital and the Doctor operate on him. It is apparently his right under the law. The Doctor mostly just wants to save the Crook’s life, though she wrestles with her own ethics versus the Hippocratic Doctor’s oath of “do no harm” and the like. The Cop tries to insist the Doctor go ahead, but there’s a whole bunch of other important stuff going on in the background and side-bars, that ends up twisting the main three all around.

The main fight scene of the whole movie, you’ll know it when you see what I mean, is truly epic and Matrix-like, but also has a bunch of mini funnies tossed in, like those gleeful “fuck-youuuu” moments of Wanted or even Fight Club. A wonderful romp of an action film with a zany round-robin storyline of drama, guilt and even mercy, Three is a movie worth catching multiple times, for the teensy jokes To left in there, if nothing else!

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