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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy from Shaw)

In Mandarin with English subtitles
Director: Soi Cheang
Cast: Louis Koo, Richie Jen, Michelle Ye, Lam Suet, Fung Shui-Fan
RunTime: 1 hr 27 mins
Released By: Shaw
Rating: PG (Some Disturbing Scenes)

Official Website:

Opening Day: 24 September 2009


A self-styled “accident choreographer,” the Brain is a professional hitman who kills his victims by trapping them in well crafted “accidents” that look like unfortunate mishaps but are in fact perfectly staged acts of crime. Perennially plagued with guilt, he is also suspicious and morbid by nature. The recent avalanche of memories of his lost wife does not make things any easier.

After one mission accidentally goes wrong, causing the life of one of his men, the Brain is convinced that this accident has been choreographed: someone is out there plotting to terminate him and his team. He becomes increasingly paranoid, walking on the thin line between reality and delusion.

When he discovers that a mysterious insurance agent Fong is somewhat related one of the “accidents” he has staged, the Brain becomes obsessed that this man must be the mastermind behind a conspiracy to take him out. To regain his sanity and to save his life, he must strive to kill Fong before he makes his next move.

Movie Review:

Soi Cheang’s latest thriller is really no "Accident"- here is a tautly crafted and meticulously executed film that emerges as one of the best Hong Kong movies of the year. Indeed, thanks to the creative inspiration of producer Johnnie To’s Milkyway team, "Accident" is a crowning accomplishment for the director better known for some rather bizarre early works ("Horror Hotline…Big Head Monster", "Diamond Hill") and more recent over-the-top action flicks ("Dog Eat Dog", "Shamo").

Like many of To’s Milkway efforts, "Accident" boasts a high-concept premise- a group of professional assassins led by The Brain (Louis Koo) who stage elaborate accidents to disguise their crimes. In a brilliant opening sequence, the team take out a triad boss through a string of seemingly random, carefully choreographed events that to the police can only be described as accidental death.

Their next job is the wheelchair-bound father of a bespectacled man, their employer the old man’s very son, for reasons unknown to the team. Each step of their planning process is deliberately explained- from surveillance to brainstorming to practice to execution, director Soi Cheang fastidiously lays out each detail to emphasize the diligence they employ with each job. This first half of the film is a tense, gripping affair, as the Brain and his team (and the audience) are kept waiting for that opportune moment to put into action their plans.

But when it does happen, things go awry, and the Brain is convinced someone is out to get him and his team. His suspicion falls on one insurance agent (Ritchie Ren) whom he becomes preoccupied with, following, observing and noting down his perceived nemesis’ every move. Ever so effectively, director Soi Cheang shifts the tension built up in the first half of his film to a well-calibrated tone of obsession and paranoia in the latter half.

Is Ritchie Jen’s insurance agent a brilliant mastermind the likes of 'The Brain'? Or is it all a figment of The Brain’s own imagination? The question "Accident" poses is this- how can a person who has built his life on staging accidents be convinced that not all the world is a stage? Yes, like the "Final Destination" films, "Accident" flirts with the intriguing conundrum of whether the seemingly accidental, unfortunate events in our lives can in fact be deliberate and choreographed.

But "Accident" brings its own take on that subject in a very uniquely Johnnie To-ish way, right up to its love-it-or-hate-it climax (which this reviewer must admit he loved) that is most akin to that of previous Milkyway films "Running on Karma" or "Eye in the Sky". Fans of To will probably already spot similarities in their themes, but "Accident’s" finale is surprisingly intimate, moving and ultimately thought-provoking.

The real star of the show here is really Louis Koo. Not only does he appear in almost every scene of the film, his character is also both the lynchpin of what happens and also the movie’s emotional core. In "Accident", Louis Koo gives a solidly restrained performance that is always engaging and captivating to watch- first as the cool, calculated leader of the pack and then as the disturbed individual all alone with his doubts and fears.

There is really no "Accident" here how impressive this well-assembled film has come together. A confident turn by director Soi Cheang, a mesmerizing performance by lead Louis Koo and of course, the assured guidance of producer Johnnie To make this a pure-breed Milkyway classic. This is the kind of film that made To’s Milkyway the brand name it is today, and the kind of film that will give the flagging Hong Kong film industry a much-needed shot in the arm.

Movie Rating:

(Vintage Milkyway par excellence, this meticulously crafted and tautly executed film is also one of the best Hong Kong films of the year)

Review by Gabriel Chong


. Overheard (2009)

. The Sniper (2009)

. Triangle (2007)

. Exiled (2006)

. Tactical Unit: The Code DVD (2008)

. Shamo DVD (2007)

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