Falling from grace

A friend introduced me to Wong Kar-Wai's masterpiece, Chungking Express, a number of years ago.  I got it on laserdisc, then on DVD (twice; once US, once HK), and finally on Blu-ray.  So I'm a little bit of a fan.

But I've known for a long time that it was split, during production, into two pieces.  One was the actual Chungking Express release, and the second was later released as Fallen Angels.

I've had the latter for a while; my in-laws brought me over a copy from Hong Kong quite some time ago.  But for some reason, it took me a long time to remember it was there.

Well, I finally remembered a week or two ago, so I took the opportunity to watch it.

I was glad I did, although I wish I'd rewatched Chungking Express more recently.

What really struck me about the "sequel" was how dysfunctional the new people were.  The originals were an interesting cast, with some unusual quirks, but the newly introduced ones?  Very strange.

One was a hit-man, who didn't want to make any decisions.  Another was his... agent, for lack of a better term.  Another had no regular occupation, but got by by opening (other people's) shops at night, and "selling" goods and services (really closer to blackmail, the way he did it).

There were a couple of others.  And some of the original cast came back (one, in particular, but others made cameos, or appeared differently).

It was really striking, how similar the parts with the same cast members were, which contrasted pretty harshly with the other parts.

As usual, the camerawork was very... experimental.  It worked, but gave an otherworldly feel to some of the movie.

Another thing that struck me was how old the movie was.  Not that it's ancient, but just how much some of Hong Kong had changed since then (being there earlier this year helped a lot with noticing that).

In the end, I found it interesting, and mostly enjoyable (some of the music was particularly good), but it lost most, if not all, of the charm of the original.  So while I can see myself watching it again (in particular, I want to watch it back-to-back with Chungking Express), I don't see myself watching it repeatedly, as I've done with Express.  And I probably will just stick with my HK DVD, instead of getting the blu-ray I linked up above.

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