Brotherhood, honor, loyalty, assassination - which one is the strongest?
The time is 1998. The setting is Macau. Every living soul jumps at every chance to make quick money before the Portuguese colony ushers in a new era under the Chinese rule. For the jaded hit men, they wonder where this journey will end.
Against this backdrop come two hit men from Hong Kong sent to take out a renegade member trying to turn over a new leaf with his wife and newborn baby. They soon find themselves in the throes of a dilemma when two of their former associates also show up, intent on thwarting them at every cost.
Exiled was shown in Competition at the 2006 Venice Film Festival. It was also shown at the 2006 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2007 Bangkok International Film Festival, 2007 8th Jeonju International Film Festival and the 2007 Seattle International Film Festival.
Exiled was released in Hong Kong on October 19. The film, on opening weekend, grossed a total of HK$47,533. The film's total HK box-office take was $687,434.
It was later released in the United States with an R-rating by the MPAA 'for strong violence and some sexual content.' Following its limited released in the United States, Exiled grossed US$20,351 on opening weekend. The film's total gross was $49,413.
The film is currently one of the highest-rated limited-release films of 2006 on Rotten Tomatoes at 81%. Critics often made comparisons to the early spaghetti western pictures made by filmmakers such as Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah, hailing the film for its action sequences and dark humour. Newsweek Magazine even awarded the film at number 4 as one of 2007's 'Best Action Movie Scenes'.
The film was awarded a Category III rating (18+ restriction), particularly for one scene showing Simon Yam's character shaking hands with another gangster with their left hands turned around, making a triads agreement handshake. The scene is present on the Mega-Star uncut Limited Edition DVD. However, only the Category IIB cut version was released in Hong Kong theatrically.
Exiled contains one jarring cut, of a handshake between two characters. Reportedly, the cut was made because a triad handshake was going down between the characters, which Johnnie To has denied. The censors have taken issue, claming that a Category III-level handshake was occurring. To make everyone happy, the scene was trimmed, and the movie is now rated IIB.
«"Exiled" is a tonic — a film that delivers all the visceral satisfactions of a super-macho action picture (close-quarters gun battles; slow-motion “Wild Bunch”-style side-by-side struts) and unabashedly sentimental depictions of loyalty and tenderness as well as plot twists that are surprising, often bizarre, yet feel just right.»
«While the spaghetti Western maestro's influence is unmistakable in "Exiled's" long-wait takes, cigar-chomping gunslingers and Mexican standoff compositions, To quickly incorporates all that into his own urban, kinetic and bloodily beautiful view of the underworld.»
«If one approaches Exiled as a fan of Hong Kong Cinema and Johnnie To in particular, then there's only one way to say it: Exiled rocks. The gunplay is exciting, the themes familiar and resonant, and the actors insanely charismatic, with most of them (save perhaps Simon Yam, who's pointedly over-the-top) adjusting their performances to the film's particular cadence. ... With Exiled, Johnnie To has given his faithful fans a gift, complete with bullet-ridded wrapping paper and bloodstained, personally-addressed card.»
«At this point in his career, To can put together a movie like “Exiled” over a weekend and not break a sweat. The man has done this type of film so many times, with the same characters (and heck, even actors), that it’s second nature. In that respect, is “Exiled” a great Johnnie To movie? No. But it’s a good Johnnie To movie, and considering the dreck coming out of Hong Kong in recent years, that’s saying a lot.»
«Returning with many of the same actors and structured as a loose sequel of To's 1999 claim-to-fame The Mission, To has come full circle with his genre exercises, excessively placing dollops of humor and Western criticism throughout the banter and gunfights.»
«The formula seems to be: 20 minutes of talk followed by eight minutes of hyper-kinetic insanity -- and repeat three times. While certainly an entertaining enough romp through the world of bullet-defying tough guys, the movie could use perhaps 10% more action or 15% less chit-chat. It's a minor complaint, given the juicy stuff up on the screen, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't shift in my seat and check my watch once or twice.»
«With the cacophony of chaos, the symphony of the score and the solemnest of silence, To pays tribute to the power of sound in his movie. His gun battles are so highly stylised and removed from reality that one can’t help but be spellbound by the graceful velocity of his camera’s movement and the visual gambits undertaken.»
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