The time is 1998. Every living soul jumps at every chance to make quick money before the Portuguese colony ushers in a new era under the Chinese rule. For the jaded hit men, they wonder where this journey will end. Against this background of fin-de-siècle malaise come two hit men from Hong Kong sent to take out a renegade member trying to turn over a new leaf with his wife and newborn baby. They soon find themselves in the throes of a dilemma when two of their former associates also show up, intent on thwarting them at every cost.
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This Special Edition of Johnnie To's Exiled comes with various extras, including trailers and making-of features, and is packaged in a handsome three-ring diary, featuring many photos, a full 2007 calendar, and even Exiled-branded note paper! The film has also been re-rated Category III, as it includes a few shots depicting triad sign language which were excised from the original theatrical release.
After the hugely popular Election series, Johnnie To offers Exiled, another astounding piece depicting triad characters. The film was rumored as the sequel to To's acclaimed The Mission which features the same cast and a similar situation of brotherhood running into conflicts with triad regulations. Simon Yam, Anthony Wong, Francis Ng, Roy Cheung, and Lam Suet from The Mission return to team up with Nick Cheung, who has gained much acting experience through his supporting roles in Johnnie To movies like Breaking News and Election.
Wo (Nick Cheung), a gangster who went into exile for a few years after attempting to kill Boss Fay (Simon Yam), returns to Macau with his wife (Josie Ho) and their newborn baby, hoping to settle down. There he meets his four friends, two commissioned by Boss Fay to kill him and the other two coming to aid him. The five hitmen open the film with a carefully designed gunfight that brings out both enormous tension and peculiar elegance. The brilliantly choreographed gunplay in Exiled promises to offer a stunning experience.
Apart from the action, Johnnie To's strength lies in bringing out the humane side of the action heroes, who in this film are doomed to be Exiled with their buddies. The strong bond among them simultaneously manifests in hard-boiled masculinity and sentimental emotions, a theme that is apparently contradictory but indeed recurs in many acclaimed Hong Kong action movies. From John Woo's A Better Tomorrow to Johnnie To's The Mission and Exiled, the alliance among action heroes remains a fascinating subject in Hong Kong cinema.