One Last Dance (DVD)

A soulful lead performance by Francis Ng as a disillusioned hit man is the main reason to see One Last Dance, a Singapore-set tribute to Hong Kong gangster movies from maverick Brazilian-born scribe-director Makowski. This muted, atmospheric exercise is a culturally mixed grab-bag of genre references, over-the-top violence and occasionally broad humor that no doubt will find a niche among Asian-cinema extremists on DVD.

Ng plays T, a shadowy assassin who becomes embroiled in a confusing web of kidnappers and Italian mobsters (one played by Keitel). Time-shuffling structure, cartoonishly stylised bursts of blood and a suitcase whose contents are never revealed suggest a lingering Pulp Fiction residue, albeit in a moodier, less virtuosic key. A sensitive soul who plays correspondence chess with the captain of the police force (Lung), T falls in love with a beautiful waitress (Vivian Hsu), the sister of gangster Ko (Quek), as the film mutates — with ample assistance from John Swihart's lovely score — into an awkwardly poignant study of a killer's longing for lost innocence.

EXTRAS Zilch...

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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