Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Cast: Nicolas Tse, Wu Bai, Anthony Wong
Extras: Commentary Track, Trailers, Filmographies
Trying to explain the plotline of a Hong Kong film is difficult in any case but trying to do so without making the movie sound ridiculous to those unfamiliar with the genre is next to impossible. Please keep an open mind while digesting what follows and believe me, in the end the plot is a mere vehicle used to propel the non-stop action from scene to scene and shouldn’t be examined with any great attention to detail or believability.
Tyler (Nicholas Tse) is a bartender who impregnates a lesbian policewoman, Ah Jo (Cathy Tsui), during an alcohol-fueled one-night-stand. Trying to do what is right, he’s stopped at every turn by the woman who now wants nothing to do with him. Determined to provide for his unborn child, the restless Tyler hooks up with Uncle Ji’s (Anthony Wong) bodyguard service to score some quick cash.
Got all that straight? No? Well, good. "Time and Tide" is an action film in the truest sense of the word and the plot is there only to provide a backdrop for Tsui Hark’s imaginative and technically superb action sequences. Some wire work ala "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is employed, as is some CGI used primarily for pyrotechnical effects, but the vast majority of the action is good old fashioned stunt choreography accompanied by Tsui Hark’s very active and unusual camerawork. The end result is a film that manages to bring some fresh ideas and a new look to what was fast becoming a very stale genre.
The cast is quite experienced and they tackle the story seriously enough that viewers should have no problem accepting the admittedly bizarre goings-on. Nicholas Tse and Wu Bai provide very strong performances but they are almost upstaged by the two female leads who lend both comic and tragic aspects to the tale. The rest of the cast are the usual motley assortment of Hong Kong regulars who, while not quite able to deliver their lines with any great conviction, can still take a fall out a window like nobody’s business.
Black levels are usually solid but some scenes do tend to look a little washed out. There is also a fine degree of film grain evident throughout and I can’t say for sure whether or not this was an intentional decision on the director’s part but I’m willing give him the benefit of the doubt. The source elements are free of physical defects and the overall image is nice and sharp. A bit of edge enhancement is noticeable in a few scenes but, on the whole, the video transfer looks very good for a Hong Kong film.
The primary bonus feature on the DVD is a running commentary with director Tsui Hark. I was looking forward to hearing the man speak and this track doesn’t disappoint. His English is very understandable as he delves into all the minute details of the many action sequences and he talks almost non-stop from beginning to end.
Also included on the disc is the film’s theatrical trailer as well as trailers for "Once Upon a Time in China," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," and "Miracles." Rounding out the extras are filmographies for Tsui Hark and Nicholas Tse (oddly enough, the image shown on Tse’s page is that of Wu Bai).
Don’t try to dissect the film, just sit back, crank up the sound, and enjoy a wholly visceral cinematic experience. "Time and Tide" is highly recommended.