Chungking Express - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Chungking Express Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ February 1, 2012
Fast paced cinematography adds a lot of rather good visuals to this movie. This film is a two parter. The first story ends abruptly, and without a clear resolution, and I can't say that cared for that one much. The second story, however, works a little better. Rather interesting, and quirky. This film was a little more "artsy" than I prefer.
Super Reviewer
September 10, 2011
Two police officers and two distinct, compelling, and peculiar stories of intimacy, The Chungking Express is a Kar-Wai Wong masterpiece that perfectly captured the Hong Kong night culture with inventive cinematography, exuberant music, and exceptional talent. Irresistible.
Super Reviewer
November 17, 2006
This wasn't an instant hit with me, it plodded along slowly and seemed to have little structure in storyline, however it does begin to grow on you as the characters develop and the plot thickens. The photography style also gives the film a very modern look.
Super Reviewer
February 17, 2011
Wong Kar Wai broke all kinds of cinematic molds with this Hong Kong black comedy about drug mules, expired pineapple cans, brief loves and twisted obsessions. Wong's frenetic stylistics and ostentatious use of music highlight Chungking Express, an international filmic pioneer.
Super Reviewer
½ September 27, 2006
Simply amazing! I loved every minute of this film. The whole storyline seemed familar, though, at times. I feel that is because Hollywood has used this type of film structure in many films that I have seen.

I enjoyed the storyline, two lonely cops both connected by a Honk Kong snack bar- just brilliant. Although I have to say the second part of the film was a lot better than the first and was the heart of the film for me.

Once again the cinematography was amazing and I've noticed re-accuring themes such as; love and connections in Wong's films. I'm certainly going to watch more of his films, as I've loved all that i've watched so far.

I wish we saw more original films in Hollywood today and why can't they all be as beautiful like this?

Some brilliant performances from Tony leung and faye Wong, which for me made the film what it is. Again, I'll be watching more og Leung's films as he is becoming one of my favourite actors.

Really, everybody should watch this film. I can't recomend this enough!
Super Reviewer
May 1, 2010
A fantastic and beautiful movie about loneliness in a big city. This film is split up into two stories about heartache. I would love to see this movie get released in the United States. It takes patience and while not giving anything away, you find the heartfelt but quirky ways that people deal with loneliness.
Super Reviewer
March 26, 2009
"If my memory of her has an expiration date, let it be 10,000 years..."

Two stories, two lovelorn cops, two objects of desire: one a big-time heroin dealer in deep trouble with her boss after the cargo disappears, the other a seriously flaky take-out waitress who inadvertently gets hold of the keys to her admirer's apartment, all shot in a breathless kaleidoscope of color and hand-held camera work to create a mesmerizing portrait of Hong Kong in the 1990s.

I finally got a chance to finish this movie and I have to say that I love it. It's a very expressionistic piece with a lot of attention to film details, such as editing, framing, camera-work, etc. that makes film geeks like me gush with enthusiasm. There's a buoyancy and an energy to almost every second of the film that makes the budget production quality seem like an enhancement rather than a problem--it's as though this film could only be made on a limited budget, using a hand-held camera, cheaper filmstock and so forth. First of all, this film is not about story or even characters in the traditional story sense, although there is a little character development, it's more about communicating the experience of the characters to the audience in a way that incorporates the entirety of the film. In that way, it reminds me of Jean-Luc Godard's Breathless. However, this film is a bit more centered on the characters' experience of getting over heartbreak and attempts to find new love amidst the heartbreak.

The acting in the film is just fine, although I'd have to give the upper hand to the second half of the film's duo over the first. However, despite the solid acting overall, this film is really a director's film. Some of the tricks that director Wong Kar Wai pulls are just so perfect in capturing mood and emotion. The writing is a little unspectacular, but then again, the use of voice-over and the simplistic nature of the dialogue all help drive the experiential effect of the film. There are weaknesses in the film, like the story and the occasional moments where my suspension of disbelief is tested, but these are minor details, since the film's emotional and experiential power had me feeling quite effervescent at the end of the film. I loved it.
Bill D 2007
Super Reviewer
November 3, 2009
The stylish but superficial Wong Kar Wai is the most over-rated filmmaker in Asia. He is Asia's answer to the clever but shallow Coen Brothers. With 1994's "Chungking Express," Mr. Wong bores us to tears by playing the song "California Dreamin" by the Mamas and the Papas about a dozen times.

Hearing the same song over and over is like Chinese water torture. Mr. Wong's screenplay is another form of torture. We meet four characters who have as much going on in their heads as the goldfish in the main character's aquarium. These human goldfish swim through life blithely and aimlessly, looking for the next scrap of mild pleasure to amuse themselves.

To them, relationships are mild trifles to be enjoyed before one moves onto something else. So we just watch them flit along vacuously. Yet Mr. Wong is not presenting this view of the world in a critical way. He intends his audience to have the same kind of mild pleasure as the characters on the screen do. He brings a sophisticated style of cinematography to the table, but his stories are even more shallow than the average TV sitcom. Why, oh why, does this filmmaker/goldfish continue to get great reviews around the world?
Super Reviewer
½ January 26, 2007
an innovative and captivating drama of heart break told as two short films that are loosely connected by coincidental circumstances. wong's characters are engaging and most of the dialogue was well done. unfortunately, the short story of the two featured that i most enjoyed was not fleshed out well enough and was the shorter of the two. the second story, which was also good but not as much so, was given most of the screen time and was fleshed out well. had the first story been given twenty or so more minutes this film could have reached masterpiece status for me, but even as it is i loved watching it and i highly recommend it.
Super Reviewer
½ February 11, 2008
Actually, I didn't get the story pretty well... I don't know that the main character is Tony Leung and Takeshi Kaneshiro... And I don't know this movie has two story... Even that, I enjoyed watching this movie... It was not bad, just a little weird... If in this movie Tony Leung Chi Wai not famous yet, then I think he should be famous after this movie because he played pretty well such in his young age... And Faye Wong, she's great too... Funny and a little wild I think... A pretty good one from Wong Kar Wai...
Super Reviewer
½ November 2, 2007
This movie is very disjointed and apparently without any sense of unity, but watching it you come to see the strange internal logic that drives the characters' individual stories. Gorgeously shot and masterfully acted, this film makes one man's consumption of a month's worth of expired pineapple into a truly epic emotional endeavor. I wish I could explain it better. You just have to see it happen to understand.
Super Reviewer
½ December 23, 2006
I like the second story from two disconnected stories in this film about a counter girl, who has a crush on a policeman, is subtly redecorating his apartment when he's not there.
Super Reviewer
½ July 9, 2006
Chung hing sam lamA beautiful lyric set of short stories. I am not sure the connection between the two is all that "loose." First, they are tied together by location--the onolicious Chungking Express--, and the principal male figures in each story work in law enforcement. Both have lost their girlfriends, and both embark on new love pursuits. All four principals, including the two women, exhibit signs of damage, the two men hurting from lost love, Lin somehow caught up, perhaps against her will, in a genuine life and death struggle for survival, and Wang having something in her history that drives her to escape in a Califonia dream. Both women also exhibit a kind of obsession. With Lin it is her work, which she is obviously well versed in, and her seeming frequent need to kill or be killed. With Wang, it is both her California dream and her fascinating drive to make over, in secret as best as she can manage, Chiu-Wai's apartment. Please stop me before I compare and/or contrast again.While the first love story does not appear to come to fruition, the second ends on a wonderfully upbeat (re)union of the two, topped off by Chiu-Wai's actually giving up his job and buying the Chungking Express, the locus of desire, and, happily, even ironically, redoing it, just as his own apartment was redone. If I'd had input on the script, I would have made one structural suggestion. The "other May," the one who works at the Express, would have filled out either a center love story segment, or perhaps the last segment. We would have a love story completely from a woman's point of view. For balance it would seem appropriate that this story would fill the center portion of the movie, with the men's stories framing hers. But for a real capper of a love story, I'd have hers be the final story. The previous owner of the Express, the one who is always trying to set up this May with his customers, would turn out, in the end, to be the object of May's desire, and at this bar where he is the new owner--having sold the Express to Chiu-Wai--May would enter, lay her cards on the table, and finally hook up with this gentleman who always thought highly enough of May that she would make a good love match for his customers, but never realized that May was a good love match for him as well. That would be a very cool ending, for my tastes.
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ November 4, 2012
Wong Kar-Wai's Chungking Express is a "feeling" film that will probably do many things to your body and mind. It will make you fall in love not only with Faye Wong's character (named Faye, ironically enough), but also with the song "California Dreamin", which is essentially the film's theme song. It is colorful, musical, magical; everything I look for in a motion picture. It's never boring and envelopes us in its characters. It's my first Kar-Wai film and most certainly not my last. A true find.
Super Reviewer
March 22, 2010
Crazy...confusing..insane...and at times...memorable...but then again...the pursuit of love is always like any language...Through any is a game of chase...and eventual surrender...IF you notice the signs....and you don't miss the love "express"...
Super Reviewer
November 25, 2007
I absolutely loved this film. There are some great visuals and strong performances.
Super Reviewer
April 21, 2012
I woke up the next morning after seeing this film with big, stargazing smile. The story at first may just seem sketched and brightly symbolic, but as I think about it more and more the stories are so rich with emotion, the film is a living thing with a throbbing heartbeat. But the story isn't the best thing about this film, the blood in the veins of the movie is the cinematography and direction. Not to sound pretentious, but this truly is one of those films that you can call poetic; every still of the film can be placed in an art gallery. Its weaving style was like Terrance Mallick on acid, so it has all his beauty but without the unrelenting slow pace. I would most definitely watch this film on a Sunday evening if you want to have a good week and I will also be watching it again pretty soon coz I saw know it will be more rewarding on my second watch. I will be seeking out more Kar Wai Wong films asap.
Super Reviewer
½ February 9, 2011
Filled with symbolism and expertly shot, you feel like you are walking the streets or eating the food of the restaurant. You are in it.
Super Reviewer
½ March 27, 2013
In the same year that Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction" has unexpectedly revolutionized an entire film culture, a film entitled "Chungking Express", directed by one of Tarantino's film heroes, Wong Kar-wai, came forth with a similarly unique visual flair but on a wholly different emotional scale, and the rest, folks, is cinema history. With an imagery that resembles that of paintings created by the most turbulent-minded of artists and with an emotional center that seems so innocent yet so knowing, the film is a stimulating reminder of how nice it is to live and, more importantly, to love. Well, and also maybe some hints of how lovely it really is to eat (the film, after all, is filled with endless shots of food).

Shot mostly within the confines of a cheap but suggestively lucrative lunch shack named "Midnight Express", the film chronicles, in achingly beautiful sounds and colors, the story of two lovelorn police officers, Cop 223 (Takeshi Kaneshiro) and Cop 663 (Tony Leung Chiu Wai), and how they painfully (and humorously) cope up with their romantic grief via their own personal idiosyncrasies. The first, a mid-twenties officer, is so pained by the estrangement of a certain girlfriend named May that he decides to buy a can of pineapple every single night until it piles up to 30. But the catch is that he only buys the ones that have an expiry date of May 1 (his birthday) so that when the said date finally comes and 'May' is still not back in his arms, it's only then that he can arrive at the conclusion that she really doesn't want him anymore, and that those fast-expiring pineapples need some desperate eating.

The second one, an officer literally living beside the airport, is silently devastated when her stewardess of a girlfriend has suddenly left him alone, needy and slightly schizophrenic, as he begins to talk to his stuff toys, console his towels and scold his soaps, among others.

But with utter disconnect, naturally, also comes a chance to connect anew. First, there's the mysterious, blond-wigged woman (Brigitte Lin), possibly a high-class low-life who has caught 223's love-hungry eyes. And then there's the infinitely quirkier Faye (Faye Wong), a short-haired young woman who's got this idiosyncratic affinity with the song "California Dreamin'". By emotionally patching these characters together to cope up with an increasingly apathetic Metropolitan existence with all their personal frustrations, vulnerabilities and imperfections intact, Wong Kar-wai has cleverly toned down "Chungking Express'" potentially overbearing angle on love to the point that the film itself is not anymore a dual tale of love but simply, in itself, a mere cinematic slice of life.

Well, granted, a more stylized version of life, that is, but still, with Wong Kar-wai's wisely organic yet weirdly fascinating approach on characterization and his purely artistic sensibility of merging his sometimes frantic but often times observant imagery with stirring music to create an audiovisual kaleidoscope, "Chungking Express" has attained a cinematic form that is wholly its own. Is the film a romantic fare? Sure, but it has something more to say than that. Is the film, then, an existential feature? Perhaps, but the film evokes so much joy and na´ve wonder that problems of existence just cannot seem to feign its enthusiasm and vigor for life (and love) at all.

With those certain indecisions about the film's real categorization, I think it's more than safe to assume that "Chungking Express", in the process, has created a new, specific type of cinematic language, specifically on how it has meandered and reflected on the qualms of love and life yet preserves its pristine affinity to just breathe, hope and desire. If "Chungking Express'" main intent is to shake me out of my apathy and convince me into wandering the streets of wherever to search for a person who may or may not repay the love that I may offer, then the film has failed. The film, after all, is never an operational 'how to' guide on finding a lost soul to connect to. Instead, it is, more significantly, a film that shows the leaps and bounds of how a certain love is lost and once again found; of a life merely wasted and a life well-lived. "Chungking Express" is just a reminder of how beautiful and reassuring it is to know that in every stream of people you may come across, there's always that one person who may just return your smile with an even bigger, more luminescent one. And better yet, there may also be that someone who may just go their way to draw you a crude boarding pass that may bring you somewhere worthwhile.

"Chungking Express", with its one-of-a-kind cinematic approach, is more concerned, in the context of love and existence, on how to say things rather than what to say, how to feel than what to feel, and how to properly enunciate emotions rather than how to choose the right words for it. And for that, I fully commend it. Only few films can make you feel so alive, and only few films, simply put, can make you feel very fortunate of having seen them. This counts as one, and I hope that its ability to make people feel may last more than 223's pineapples.
Super Reviewer
August 17, 2011
I love a lot of movies, but this may be the first time I've ever felt like I'm in love with a movie. With possibly the exception of Truffaut's 'The 400 Blows.'
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