Vengeance (Fuk Sau) ~ (Hong Kong, 2009) ~ Netflix Stream

“What does revenge mean when you’ve forgotten everything?” But Johnny Hallyday, the European icon virtually unknown in the US, hasn’t forgotten at 66 (when this film was made) how to bring his considerable screen presence to bear on a very stylish gangsta thrilla.

Playing Costello, a french chef who owns his own restaurant in the Champs Elysses, he is called to Macau when his son-in-law, two grandchildren and very nearly his daughter are assassinated by a group of hit-men. Costello wants revenge. But his mind is disintegrating. With a bullet in the brain from an old confrontation, he’s slowing losing his ability to remember things. Only with the aid of a Polaroid camera, writing captions on them, can he keep straight who is the enemy and who are the good guys. Shit, it’s tough enough anyway in the underworld.

Hong Kong Director Johnny To has filmed a very stylish and never run-of-the-mill thriller. It contains several unique scenes and a satisfying conclusion. And Hallyday has a face just made for films like this. You have got to admire cinema of this nature: so visually robust, and executed to perfection. It’s genre film-making at its best.

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