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Genre: Drama
Starring: Simon Yam, Kelly Lin, Lam Ka Tung, Lo Hoi Pang, Law Wing Cheong, Kenneth Cheung
Director: Johnny To
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2008



- Trailer




Languages: Chinese
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: -
Sound: -
Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East




Sparrow is Hong Kong street slang for pickpocket. Kei (Simon Yam) is an experienced 'Sparrow'. He and his team make a living by pick pocketing from unsuspecting pedestrians. One day a dashing beauty, Chun Lei (Kelly Lin), suddenly appears, and requested the gang to steal a key for her. The set-up begins to unravel when the mission completes, as the 'Sparrows' realise that this exotic beauty has been leading them onto a path of no return.


This reviewer isn’t exactly the jetsetter he wishes to be, but for the first time in his 27 years of existence, he went to Hong Kong recently and found the country extremely charming. On one hand, there is the modern architecture boasting of the urban area’s high density and tall skyline. Then there is the contrasting aspect of the country’s lovely historical and cultural assets like its rundown buildings. And this Johnnie To directed movie has fueled his desire to return to Hong Kong soon, although it has only been a few months since he returned.

A familiar face of To’s movies, Simon Yam (Election, Exiled) plays an experienced pickpocket who goes round the streets of Hong Kong, well, picking people’s pockets with his three partners in crime, played by the underrated Lam Ka Tung (Mad Detective, Exodus), the resident uncle Law Wing Cheong (Election, The Mission) and the pretty face Kenneth Cheung (Playboy Cops). The trio spends happy and carefree times along the streets and tea cafes of Hong Kong, until a girl played by the elegant Kelly Lin (Triangle, After This Our Exile) appears in their lives. Her mysterious past soon shakes things up a little on the charming island of Hong Kong where the four men call home.

Those familiar with To’s works will be pleasantly surprised with this film which premiered and was selected for competition at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival earlier in February this year. The usual testosterone filled themes of masculinity and male bonding is approached from another angle this time round, and the result is an elegant film which any fan of Asian cinema will fall in love with. Just the title “Sparrow” (a Cantonese slang for pickpockets who are very good at what they do) is an indication of how the 90 minute movie is a gracefully stylish affair.

The cast delivers light hearted and pleasing performances, and although this film was shot between their other movies throughout a three year period, you can feel the joy and sincerity of the filmmakers who put this together. Watch out for the extraordinarily unique “umbrella fight” that takes place at the end of the film. It really takes a genius to conceptualize something so enchantingly poised. Those who have visited Hong Kong would be pleased to see scenes shot at locations like Causeway Bay and Central too.

The movie almost feels like the filmmakers’ love letter and ode to Hong Kong. It may be To’s most personal yet affecting work yet. If it has made this reviewer want to visit Hong Kong for its charm and allure again, then the country should be very pleased with what To’s contributions to both the film industry and the tourism scene.


This Code 3 DVD only a theatrical trailer.


The disc’s visual transfer makes Cheng Siu Keung’s cinematography look gorgeous, while there is only a Chinese audio track available on the disc.



Review by John Li


. Sparrow (Movie Review)

Other titles from Scorpio East:

. Chaos

. Midnight Eagle

. The Leap Years

. Ancient Chinese Sports

. There Will Be Blood

. The Nanny Diaries

. The Magic Gourd

. Death Proof

. Dead Air

. A Tale of Mari and Her Puppies

. My Wife is a Gambling Maestro

. Fatal Move

. An Empress and the Warriors

. Ah Long Pte Ltd

. Talking Cock The Movie

. 2 Faces of My Girlfriend

. Lust Caution

. 881

. Brothers

. Ratatouille

. The Invisible

. The Lookout

. Alone

. Bar Paradise

. China Vampire

. Hooked On You

. Underdog

. Keeping Up With The Steins

. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

. High School Musical 2: Extended Edition

. Pixar Short Films Volume One

. Who Slept With Her?

. The Jungle Book

. Disney Princess Enchanted Tales

. Meet The Robinsons

. Goal II: Living the Dream

. Hanna Montana

. Meet The Robinsons

. Wild Hogs

. Breaking And Entering

. Jump In

. Primeval

. Forest of Death

. The Fox and the Hound 2

. The Fox and the Hound

. Dumbo

. One Last Dance

. Protege

. The Curse of the Golden Flower

. A Battle Of Wits

. Rain Dogs

. Heavenly Mission

. Exiled

. Operation Undercover

. Diary

. Fatal Contact

. Singapore Dreaming

. Rob-B-Hood

. On The Edge

. The World's Fastest Indian

. Dragon Tiger Gate

. Unarmed Combat

. Crazy Stone

. Election 2

. We Are Family

. I Not Stupid Too

. The Shoe Fairy

. 2 Becomes 1

. 49 Days


. Dragon Eye Congee

. A Chinese Tall Story

. Perhaps Love


. Election

. The Myth

. Wait 'Til You're Older

. The Maid


This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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