Excuse me for giving only three stars for this film, for I know "Fulltime Killer" is, good as it is, NOT the best of Johnny To, a Hong Kong director whose intense style is not be missed. His best remains "Running Out of Time" (starring the same cool Andy Lau), or "The Mission," especially the latter one. See them first, and remember his name.
"Fulltime Killer" is in fact co-directed with Wai Ka Fai, but the subdued style is definitely that of Johnny To. The film traces the two free-lance killers, "O" (Takashi Sorimachi, popular Japanese actor), and Tok (Lau). O is the top dog of the killers, but Tok, confident of his professional skills, wants to bring him down in his own style. In between comes a female cleak working at a rental video store (beside the escalator which was shown in one famous Hong Kong film), Chin (Kelly Lin), and the determined policeman Lee (veteran Simon Yam).
The gun action of the film is an average one, but sadly, as the story lacks coherent developing, it is often hard to follow what is going on. Johhny To's cool style and oddball humor are not given much chance to be shown, and the result is curiously devoid of tension, even though the actions themselves are decetly done.
Some people might find the languages it uses slightly troublesome, for Andy Lau often speaks Japanese, which is very hard to understand (I am a Japanese, and watched it in the origiunal language). But more lamentable thing is the lack of charisma of Sorimachi as "O" whose one-dimentional performance as a killer with a heart lacks convincing power. And as for Andy Lau, he was much better in "Running Out of Time."
The film is a result of recent Hong Kong film industry, which tries to capitalize on the name of Japanese actors who are gaining popularity in Hong Kong. But I think the casting here has backfired. I do not say "Fulltime Killer" is bad. I only say you can get better ones from To, underrated Hong KOng filmmaker, and that is "The Mission" which you should see first.