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Johnnie To's "Exiled" (2006) - essential viewing...& R3 HK DVD now available

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Johnnie To's "Exiled" (2006) - essential viewing...& R3 HK DVD now available

Old 12-28-06, 08:00 AM
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Johnnie To's "Exiled" (2006) - essential viewing...& R3 HK DVD now available

There isn't already another thread on this, is there? Anyway, this will be rather brief in comparison to some of my more long-winded posts, but I just wanted to give a quick plug to Hong Kong director Johnnie To’s “Exiled” (2006); it was just released on Hong Kong DVD. As for the movie…….wow! Following on his earlier 2006 release “Election 2”, I really must salute Director To for releasing two high-caliber efforts in the same year.

As much as I enjoyed the two “Election” films, I’d say that “Exiled” is now my favorite amongst his recent crime film catalog mainly due to it having a higher “fun” factor and thus, for me, more comfortable replay value. Don’t get me wrong though….”Exiled” is a deadly serious tale but it is also devilishly playful with the material. In a way, Johnnie To is sort of in Tarantino “Kill Bill” mode. By that I mean that while being respectful of the material he is also having fun with it while sending winks and nods in the direction of Sergio Leone’s Westerns, John Woo, and others of the same ilk. At the same time, Johnnie To does handle everything freshly enough that he creates something of his own that is original and unique. If you are one who might have been disappointed by the low action factor of the “Election” series then Director To has made up for it here. The film features beautifully choreographed gunplay galore as it moves from one impressive set piece to another. I was most certainly impressed by the level of excellence from start to finish.

I thought the cast (re-united from To’s earlier “The Mission” (1999)) was in top form and worked together like a well-oiled machine. It wasn’t so much about the individual performances but much more so about how in-synch they were in working together as a team. Everything was so well-executed it was as if the cast were a bunch of family circus performers who had been working together for their entire lives. The excellence of the cast and To’s directing is further enhanced by the musical score and the Macau setting which both fit very well with the material.

Deep or meaningful it may not be, but “Exiled” is damned entertaining, fun, and way cool. It is clearly one of my favorite films of 2006!

The Hong Kong Region 3 is now available in two forms. The first release (about a week ago) came in some special packaging which is basically a one-inch thick, DVD case-sized, ringbinder notebook with some postcards, calendar, and notepaper held inside by the rings (all in a slipcase). It is only a 1-disc release with some extras (which may not be English-subbed). I’m not wild about the package design in that the disc is held in this notebook binder by a cardboard sleeve attached to the back inside cover of the mini-notebook binder. It’s just a bit of a nuisance to slide it in and out of the cardboard sleeve. I believe the second release just came out and, while I’m not certain, it seems to be the same exact disc, except without the fancy (or nuisance, depending on your point of view) packaging.

Hmmm…maybe this wasn’t so “brief” after all. I really need to find something else to occupy my free time.
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Old 12-28-06, 08:27 AM
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thanks for the comments. I always appreciate when people write more than one line. Do you know which version cd-wow currently has?
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Old 12-28-06, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by BuddhaWake
thanks for the comments. I always appreciate when people write more than one line. Do you know which version cd-wow currently has?
they seem to be listing the 'standard edition' which i would recommend because the initial 'special edition' has really naff packaging.

good film, certainly not quite as dry as either 'election' films, more fun but still a sober buddy drama with lots of gun action... worth seeing.
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Old 12-28-06, 02:16 PM
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BuddhaWake, I'm not really sure which version is listed right now at CD-WOW. I'd guess it might be the second plain version. I pre-ordered my copy from CD-WOW when it first went up and thus received the first fancy (nuisance) packaging, and it was listed at the same price as the one there now. I don't recall though if the current listing is the same as when I ordered. However, my order confirmation e-mail from CD-WOW says "Exiled: Uncut Version: Limited Edition (DTS)" so maybe that is how it was listed on their site as opposed to now which says "Exiled: Uncut Version (DTS)" but I'm really not sure.

As for the film, now that I think about it, I wonder if, in addition to Sergio Leone and John Woo, Sam Peckinpah's "Wild Bunch" might have also been an influence on Johnnie To and "Exiled".

Also, and this is in no way a spoiler as the context is completely different and insignificant in "Exiled", but one thing that gave me a bit of a laugh in "Exiled" and due to the fact that I watched the Shaw Brothers "Bells of Death" the night before, was the re-appearance in this film of the same/similar "Bells of Death" object. I'm not saying there is any connection because it is a rather common object but it definitely played into the feel I came away with that To was, in a small way, paying homage to a lot of films which might have influenced him. Actually, instead of the packaging offered with the DVD, it might have been neat if they had offered "Bells of Death" as part of the special packaging. I wouldn't mind having some "Bells of Death" to wear on my wrist so that I could annoy and get back at all those nitwit cellphone addicts I run into in stores/restaurants....I'd love to jangle the bells to disrupt their conversations.
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Old 12-28-06, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by flixtime
BuddhaWake, I'm not really sure which version is listed right now at CD-WOW. I'd guess it might be the second plain version. I pre-ordered my copy from CD-WOW when it first went up and thus received the first fancy (nuisance) packaging, and it was listed at the same price as the one there now. I don't recall though if the current listing is the same as when I ordered. However, my order confirmation e-mail from CD-WOW says "Exiled: Uncut Version: Limited Edition (DTS)" so maybe that is how it was listed on their site as opposed to now which says "Exiled: Uncut Version (DTS)" but I'm really not sure.
The pic on cd-wow seems to be missing the cast list at the bottom so I'd suspect it's the second edition plain version.
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Old 12-28-06, 05:37 PM
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I've also seen "Exiled" and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was as if Johnnie To knew how much a lot of people were clamoring for a film that had the spirit, camaraderie and excitement of "The Mission." The loyalty & relationship between these characters are equally depicted and the gunplay action are certainly much more than any Johnnie To film I can recall. Seeing this group of actors under To's direction is like seeing an old group of friends that you missed, eventhough they've only been together in one film.

Flixtime's assessment that it feels like a Sergio Leone film is right on...Exiled is like watching a western. Highly recommended film that harks back to the days when Hong Kong film industry was unparalled in handling the action/gunplay drama genre!!!
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Old 12-28-06, 09:40 PM
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wow, what a great movie that was. i have been waiting for my copy from yesasia to show and today it finally did. normally, when i get a dvd i'll a little bit then take it out to watch it later on in the evening but i threw this one in and kept on watching it.

now just give us a remastered dvd of "the mission" and i will be happy.
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Old 12-29-06, 01:20 AM
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Is EXILED the next S.P.L. - full of hype and excitement after just coming out, and then soon forgotten?
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Old 12-29-06, 05:10 AM
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Originally Posted by toddly6666
Is EXILED the next S.P.L. - full of hype and excitement after just coming out, and then soon forgotten?
you cant judge a film as either good or bad because any given person (or any group of people - whatever that / they may be) has apparently 'forgotten' about a film. nor is it particularly fair to directly compare two films so randomly on an abstract element such as your individual opinion. i think.
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Old 12-29-06, 09:10 AM
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logboy, so EXILED is totally worth the purchase? I hear there is a lot of original choreographed violence eye candy in this flick. Is that true?
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Old 12-29-06, 11:33 AM
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its got some gunplay sequences that a reminiscent of old john woo films, but theyre used sparingly. its a film thats quite spaghetti western in style, so its calm, moody, minimalist but its got slight light touches of comedy and melodrama in it, some sentimentality. good film. prefer 'election', but still a film thats very much worth seeing.
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Old 12-29-06, 04:04 PM
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I had given up on Johnnie To, but after reading this I might have to give him one last chance.
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Old 12-30-06, 05:49 AM
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I saw the movie last night...and I was not impressed at all. I thought it was supposed to be a serious action movie, but instead, it was like a comedy. They had one scene where a character were shot numerous time, but he woke up in a getaway car just to say "go home". I was like "huh"...that was lame. How about the guy with the sniper rifle? He had a cigarette in his mouth the whole time while he shot 10 guys down. I guess they wanted to show how cool he is with a bud in his mouth. And the list goes on and on....

Anyway....that's just my opinion.... I enjoyed Election from Johnnie To...but this one was bad...as in terrible.
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Old 12-30-06, 12:45 PM
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I have a feeling that I won't like it then, thanks for everyone's input!
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Old 12-30-06, 03:32 PM
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Everyone has different opinion and taste in movies. You have to watch it for yourself and make your own judgement. The set is not too expensive for an import DVD.

Originally Posted by toddly6666
I have a feeling that I won't like it then, thanks for everyone's input!
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