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Review Bullet for Hire a.k.a. Zi dan chu zu (1990): Decent action!

genre: bullet ballet, action, crime







Bullet for Hire is not a film you watch for it's story or characterization. The people who made this film were very aware of this and therefore did not even attempt. Whatever there is story wise it's a downright mess. First it is asked of you to sympathize with main character Han (Simon Yam) and his friend Ngok (Lieh Lo) who are assassins for hire. They are absolutely ruthless and have very little to no conscience at all. All they care is about themselves and each other. At least that is what it seems like the majority of the film until a plot twist later in the film puts a spin on that. But before that they don't have qualms about killing people or showing mercy to women and children. There isn't a single trade about Han that is likeable. It is pure the charisma of Simon Yam alone that make you accept that despicable character. 

For some reason Jacky Cheung is thrown into the mix as the rookie Shan who is entrusted as Han's pupil by big boss Dick Wei. Naturally Shan fumbles and stumbles at first but becomes as good and efficient as Han. Shan is more fleshed out character and has more likeable characteristics but despite these I hardly cared about him. There are two scenes with him that stood out for me. One that is a blatant rip off from Scarface. The other is a scene where Shan and his girlfriend are having dinner in a restaurant. They are sitting at a very large table where a big vase of flowers is put in the middle blocking Shan's view. He tries to communicate with her but obviously that is hard to do with that big vase in the way. I am not sure but it reminded me of the dinner scene in Batman. But it could very well be that it's lifted from another film. This last scene is one of the many comedic scenes in the film that don't mix well with the action and the brutal violence. 

Tonally the film is all over the place and it's best to shut of your brain since it is rather pointless to make sense of it. A lot of the events in the film are illogical and don't flow right. Could be that scenes were cut or they simply didn't care that much to make work of it. I guess it's the latter. The main focus is the action and while not that stylish it was decent and enjoyable. Most of the choreography was done well. The action is fast and exciting while it lasts. Typical bullet ballet shootouts and some fighting. 

Bullet for Hire is one of those dime in a dozen films that can be very enjoyable late at night and in quiet weekends. Other than that is has very little to offer. 



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