sui Hark is an old hand when it comes to filmmaking. The
veteran Hong Kong director has either directed or produced over 40 films in his
native land, and has taken the John Woo route to Hollywood success by directing
Jean Claude Van Damme in two American/Hong Kong productions. Not surprisingly his two Van Damme collaborations are considered some of
the worst movies of his life.
"Time and Tide" on the other hand, is somewhat more
successful, and signals Hark's return to his Hong Kong roots. Rather this is
necessitated by his failure in American markets, or just a need to drop a dead
weight like Van Damme, is unclear. The movie itself is a combination of themes
and style that I've come to expect from Hong Kong movie -- it's action-oriented
with sprinkles of comedy (sometimes very inappropriate comedy at extremely
inappropriate times) and add to that a confusing storyline that meanders until
the money runs out and the final shootout invariably must take place.
Even now I'm picking out the pieces of the movie's
"storyline" out of my head. Let's see... Tyler is a young punk, with
no prospects, who, one drunken night, gets a lesbian cop pregnant. The problem
with that is -- well, the cop's a lesbian, and she won't take him, and is
determined to carry the child to term by herself. Consumed by an insane need to
take care of his responsibility, Tyler gets a job as a bodyguard. Why anyone
would hire a 21-year old punk with no prospects to take someone's life into
their hands is anybody's guess. But they do hire him, and he does foul up quite
Enter Jack, a retired drug dealer/assassin who retired because his
girlfriend, the daughter of a rich criminal, was pregnant. Jack, you see, also
has an insane need to take care of his responsibility, and Jack just happens to
be older than Tyler. Needless to say, the two men meet, become friends, and
their two worlds meet quite unexpected when Tyler's bodyguard team is assigned
to guard some drug dealers that Jack has been blackmailed by his old gang to
kill -- which he does, coming into conflict with Tyler.
And a whole lot of other stuff happens.
The point of "Time and Tide" is to showcase Tsui
Hark's newfound ability to film high-octane action in urban areas. There is a
running (and flying, and jumping, and sliding, and falling) gunfight in, out, on
top of, underneath, and around a housing project that is impossible to describe.
The final action sequence takes place in an airport, a concert, and in the
basement of the airport. What you have to know about "Time and Tide"
is that the story is even more convoluted and stupid than both of Tom Cruise's
fake-James Bond "Mission Impossible" movies combined. It's, well,
ridiculous, and character motivations are even more dumb down.