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Chungking Express (The Criterion Collection)

Brigitte Lin , Takeshi Kaneshiro , Kar Wai Wong    Unrated   DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 89.99
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Chungking Express tells two stories loosely connected by a Hong Kong snack bar. In one story, a cop who's been recently dumped by his girlfriend becomes obsessed with the expiration dates on cans of pineapple; he's constantly distracted as he tries to track down a drug dealer in a blond wig (played by Brigitte Lin, best known from Swordsman II and The Bride with White Hair). Meanwhile, another cop who's recently been dumped by his girlfriend (Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, from John Woo's Hard-Boiled and A Bullet in the Head) mopes around his apartment, talking to his sponge and other domestic objects. He catches the eye of a shop girl (Hong Kong pop star Faye Wang) who secretly breaks in and cleans his apartment. If you're beginning to suspect that neither of these stories has a conventional plot, you're correct. What Chungking Express does have is loads of energy and a gorgeous visual style that never gets in the way of engaging with the charming characters. The movie was shot on the fly by hip director Wong Kar-Wai (Happy Together, Ashes of Time), using only available lighting and found locations. The movie's loose, improvisational feel is closer to Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless than any recent film--and that's high praise. Quirky, funny, and extremely engaging, Chungking Express manages to be experimental and completely accessible at the same time. --Bret Fetzer


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful inside view of Hong Kong May 12 2004
Format:VHS Tape
Hong Kong is often a study of the absurd, but it always has a way of captivating you. This movie manages to capture much of both sides of this. While those who know Hong Kong find some of the continuity a little jumpy (how do they get from Hong Kong to Kowloon and back so fast?), it is a gem of a visual introduction to living in the real Hong Kong. Filmed almost entirely within a few blocks around Wellington Street, the escalator and Lan Kwai Fong, you can almost smell the streets as they were 10 years ago. The 2 stories that make up the film are also contrasts - between the sheer pace and mayhem of one to the simple minded childishness of the other. Brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A top-notch movie March 7 2004
Format:VHS Tape
I love this movie. It has a little bit of everything, love, humour,sadness and adventure. This is a really enjoyable movie about us (humans) and what we are like when no one is watching. Much better than other movies in this genre ie. Lost in translation. This movie always leaves me feeling optimistic. It is a film that is smart and dares to be different. All this is directed with a confident and assured hand that never loses it's focus on what this film is saying. Flawless editing with a great soundtrack. You will not go wrong with this movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A visual tour de force Oct. 15 2002
Format:DVD
Who said Quintin Tarantino could not pick them? This movie, part of his collection of videos that form part of his collection is a visual stunner. Forged around an unconventional approach to romance, Chunking Express is really not the kind of movie you watch one time then walk away. Much like The Vertical Ray of the Sun (also available at Amazon.com) I was left stunned and wondering what I had just experienced. Anyway, I highly recommend it for its almost Trainspotting quality - the pace that is. Enoy it - I did.
Miguel Llora
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By M. B. Alcat TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:DVD
"Chungking Express" is one of Wong Kar Wai's best-known films, and it is a good introduction to the work of this Chinese director. If you only like traditional movies, you will probably not appreciate "Chungking Express". On the other hand, if you are open to the unexpected, you may well fall in love with it.

This film has two different stories, connected by the fact that they are both about love, isolation, hope and despair. The stories are part of the plot, but the important thing here are the characters, and their feelings. You learn about them, and even begin to understand what they feel, thanks at least in part to the fact that you can hear their inner monologues.

The first story is about Cop 223, He Zhiwu (Takeshi Kaneshiro), who has broken up with his long-term girlfriend May, and is terribly sad. He reflects on his love problems, saying that "We split up on April Fool's Day. So I decided to let the joke run for a month. Every day I buy a can of pineapple with a sell-by date of May 1. May loves pineapple, and May 1 is my birthday. If May hasn't changed her mind by the time I've bought thirty cans, then our love will also expire". What can you do, when you watch his character buy lots of cans of pineapple that expire on May 1, believing that doing that will help him to regain May's love? Or when he says things like "We're all unlucky in love sometimes. When I am, I go jogging. The body loses water when you jog, so you have none left for tears"? He is hopeful, but in despair, and the spectator cannot help but feel empathy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love and obsession.... May 7 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This movie brings together a great cast, including the legendary Brigitte Lin, and the indelible Faye Wong. Loosely speaking, Chungking Express is the unraveling of two not-so-separate stories about love and obsession. The connection between the two stories is like a subtle undercurrent. At more than one point we see the characters of the two stories cross path, much like anyone of us cross paths with hundreds of unknown faces everyday. They are unaware of each other...why should they?
The film explores the nuanced boudaries of love and obsession, of fantasy and reality. The characters are cops, a drug dealer, and a fast food clerk. Their lives occur against the backdrop of the urban jungle that is modern day Hong Kong, where escalators are built so close to apartment buildings that when you look out your second floor apartment, you see shadows of strangers riding up and down your neighborhood. In this postmodern and unreal landscape plays out the primal desires of love and obsession where hope, disappointment, rationality, irrationality, reality, and fantasy plays tricks on our minds. All this is well put together in a tantalizing and sexy film. (spoiler alert) It pits one conventional love story ending with one not so conventional. I've watched this film numerous times, and every time I come away with a reminder of how my desires is a delicate balance between sense and non-sense. Check this film out!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A true and honest HONG KONG movie Aug. 24 2003
Format:DVD
I am coming from Hong Kong. To the people outside Asia, the types of Hong Kong movies you may only know are Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Tsui Hark (maybe). Wong Kar Wai is a director who can truly give a real Hong Kong to the outsiders.
How does Hong Kong look like? The marine club as in 007 Die Another Day? As in Lara Craft? NO NO NO!!! The real Hong Kong is in Wong Kar Wai's movie.
Chung King mansion is a very special place, situated in the centre of the famous and glamorous shopping and commercial site Tsim Sha Tsui, is an old building full of mysterious people (mostly Pakistan)and events upspoken of. The outdoor escalator in the second story is in Sheung Wan. This is a monumental icon in HK, since the commercial sites are near the coast at the north side of Hong Kong Island, where the old and residential buildings are near south towards the hill. The escalator is for joining both areas for people. Wong Kar Wai is the only director who can bring these representable sites for foreigners. I highly recommend his movies to those who like to try a real taste of Hong Kong.
Finally, among all the Wong's movie, it is claimed that Chungking express is the easiest to understand. So give this a try, esp. if you have not watched any of Wong's movie.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing piece of filmmaking!
Amazing film. One that you can't get out of your head for years after.
Published 1 month ago by Stef
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie My Friends..
When self deprivation holds the most endearing thing to oneself,some times we explode other times
we endure what's given to us,this is what these two stories are trying to... Read more
Published 6 months ago by trek fan
5.0 out of 5 stars A tale of two cops
Chungking Express (1994)
Comedy, Drama, Mystery, 102 minutes, Cantonese Language
Directed by Wong Kar-Wai
Starring Brigitte Lin, Tony Leung, Faye Wong and Takeshi... Read more
Published on Feb. 29 2012 by Steven Aldersley
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful film, average disc
I love this film. And so when I heard that the film would be re-released in blueray I knew that I had to get it. Read more
Published on June 18 2009 by Dennis Chang
5.0 out of 5 stars Good (mostly unknown at the time) Cast.
Really nice characters being "showcased". Faye Wong, you will just love her, but the other actors are very good too. Read more
Published on May 23 2009 by Glenn Laycock
5.0 out of 5 stars Cute Love Story!
A cute and purdy love story, It was really good and I loved it! Its one of my favorite movies :).I loved everything about it and I loved the music they had in their, It was great! Read more
Published on Feb. 19 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Well, It looks good
It has Faye Wong in it. Enough said...
Published on Jan. 23 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and beautiful
If american filmmakers to the time to show the complexities of human through the everyday things like Wong does I wouldn't have to avoid so many u.s. films.
Published on Jan. 12 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Best HK movies!!
Not only did it swip away the Best Actor, Director award, this movie also opened the door to Faye Wong... the "DIVA" of HK. Read more
Published on Dec 3 2003 by Eun Jae Lee
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