Chungking Express (1994) (PG-13)
"Chungking Express" by Kar Wai Wong (or Wong Kar Wai) is a ferocious and quite pleasantly frazzled story that seems conjured up on the spot. It meanders from one story to the next, leaving certain moments unfinished; yet the end result of everything included is a blinding masterpiece.
Beginning with a psychedelic prologue, we are introduced to a very young cop who is trying to rekindle his romance with his ex-girlfriend, May. This young cop (Takeshi Kaneshiro) has a birthday that is coming up on the first of May and he has decided, irrationally, that the best way to handle things is to buy a can of pineapple that expires on May 1st, thus proving his love to his ex. This is an odd thing to do and his old girlfriend has moved on by then—he vows that he will fall in love with the next woman that walks into the bar that he's occupying.
Enter the mystery woman with a blonde wig and a rain coat.
Sporting sunglasses and a hectic temperament, she is part of a drug racket that blends into the rest of the stories. She has been recruiting people to help her smuggle drugs through the airport; but something goes wrong and she is left out on her own, hiding from the long arms that don't belong to the law.
It's sickly ironic that this is the lady that the young cop should try to fall in love with. He hits on her at the bar, but he gets nowhere, though she doesn't dismiss him totally. The two get drunk and fall asleep at the bar before getting kicked out.
The second part of the movie segues to a different story. This one deals with romance and attractive.
A young girl works a small restaurant and a police officer, number 663 (Tony Chiu Wai Leung who would later do "In the Mood for Love", reuniting with Wong Kar Wai) often comes and orders the chef's salad.
She is an odd sort of girl. She plays "California Dreamin'" so many times during the movie that anyone would get sick of the tune. She likes to dance and shout, it helps her stop thinking. She is a fidgety girl who doesn't like to stay still for too long. Her name is Faye (Faye Wong).
She falls in love with the cop, but he doesn't realize her affection towards him.
As beautiful as it was, "In the Mood for Love" is a very bleak picture that doesn't indulge in romanticism. Thankfully, this movie has the irrationality to give us a little sweet love.
It's a crime movie, a hectic druggy, romance.
While it would be easy to get swallowed up by the visual aspect of the film alone, "Chungking Express" is fueled by its actors, characters, and its plot. Even as random as it seems, the plot is razor sharp and often makes several self-referential comments...it's almost too good to be true.
But the style is amazing.
Predating movies like "The Celebration" and "Slumdog Millionaire", there is no wonder that the digital sweep would come just a few years after "Chungking Express". It's a blend of everything—visuals, sounds, sound effects.
The result is kaleidoscopic and comprehensive.
"Chungking Express" is a movie that never oversteps itself and leaves you breathless.
A spine-tingling, thrill ride and a sweet, sweet movie.
This is entertainment at its best.
Posted by Micah Jones