T, an experienced hit-man (Francis Ng) is forced to work with a group of young bumbling gangsters. T is more or less a honorable man who is contracted to kill via names written in little red packets – commonly associated with gifts given during Chinese New Year. The draw of this movie no doubt is Francis Ng. T’s perfection in a world that is very far from perfect, professionalism in a criminal underworld that suffers from bureaucratic bungling and a lack of thieves’ honour, will lead him to tragedy. However, while the dialogue does have its moments, such as a particularly informative conversation on the finer points of making a cup of tea, most of it is faux-cool and decidedly average.
Featuring a Chinese and American cast, a Brazilian director, and shot on location in Singapore, this film offers something for just about everyone. The drawback in these ingredients, is I know this film is meant to be “pieces of a puzzle” and as much as I admire the ambitious attempt it seems to needlessly clutter the production. It’s definitely an original piece of work, is entertaining, and features some scenes of true cinematic beauty. I do applaud the ‘Memento’ like concept of story telling, and the anonymity of the setting, but I just wish it was a bit cleaner around the edges.
It takes a very special breed of hitman to perform these executions – some of which involve his friends and colleagues. One wishes they focused more on Francis Ng’s character other than Joseph Quek, who attempts to provide the film with a dose of humor but misses the mark more often than not. Another annoyance is the films use of computer generated blood, which, quite simply, looks terrible. Another pity too is that we got to watch the movie in the dubbed Mandarin track instead of Cantonese. I await the day when these types of movies are allowed to be shown in its native tongue, and get classified as a “foreign” movie, as do the French, German, Russian, Japanese, Korean, etc which do not get dubbed at all here.
Irony at its best, Harvey Keitel delivers some advice to Ko in the movie about not mixing two incompatible gangster cultures together, but the director fails to recognize the flaws dealt to his film by mixing two incompatible film genres together. Good hit-man movies are stylish, smart, and cool, but for all its glossy trickery and pop-culture references, One Last Dance is not. If you need something to watch, this film should hold your attention, and in between the cringe-worthy special effects you should enjoy the acting as most of the actors put their best foot forward.