Spirit's Analysis of So Close

This is a detailed analysis of the film So Close. If you wish to remain free of spoilers before watching it, do not read further.

My analysis is based on viewing the film in Mandarin with English subtitles.

Before continuing, please read my notes about Chinese character names in So Close.

General information

Shu Qi and Zhao Wei speak Mandarin, and Karen Mok speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese. So if you listen to the Mandarin version, you'll hear the real voices of all three lead actresses. Karen Mok voices her character on both the Mandarin and Cantonese audio tracks, but Shu and Zhao's roles are dubbed on the Cantonese audio track.

Some scenes sound better with the Mandarin audio track, some sound better with the Cantonese audio track. Neither is perfect, and neither completely matches the actors' mouth movements throughout the film (although the Mandarin audio track comes much closer). So Close doesn't have a true audio track, simply a set of imperfect ones.

In my humble opinion, the English audio track sounds wretched, but I will give them credit for coming up with dialogue which matches the actors' mouth movements reasonably well.

If you want to make the story really trippy, listen to the English audio track and turn on subtitles simultaneously. You will hear one movie and read another; whole conversations are sometimes completely different.

Karen Mok also speaks English, but I can't find any evidence that she voiced her character on the English audio track.

A handful of minor characters are American, and they have a few lines of dialogue which they genuinely speak in English. So for those lines of dialogue, English is what the viewer hears even when watching the film with the Cantonese or Mandarin audio track. The subtitles continue to appear for all dialogue spoken in English, which I find interesting.

During the first minute of the film, I'm pretty sure there are a couple of lines of dialogue spoken in Japanese.

Karen Mok sings the closing theme songs, "So Close" and "I Will Be Fine." She also wrote the lyrics to "So Close," proving that she is quite a talented woman. I find it interesting that the songs are in English.

Some people claim that Karen Mok sings the cover version of "Close To You" used in the film, but that is not correct. The singer is Corrinne May.

A So Close soundtrack was released, but it's out of print and hard to find.

1. Virus

Chow Lui is the CEO of a large, powerful and wealthy corporation based in Hong Kong.

His corporation falls apart at the seams when it is attacked by a computer virus and receives a ransom demand to make it stop. The corporation's IT professionals are powerless.

The room containing the server has a bank of large reel-to-reel machines along one wall, just like those seen in movies from the 1970s. There are actually rotating red warning lights and a blaring siren! Dozens of computer terminals explode in showers of sparks (and if I have to tell you why that's stupid, just please leave now, thanks).

At the beginning of the scene, Chow Lui's face is shown on the large monitor. The footage shown is that of him speaking to Lynn in his office several scenes later.

The executives discussing the emergency speak Chinese, Japanese and English, establishing that the corporation is global. Everyone seems to understand each other's languages quite well.

Just as Chow Lui decides to pay the ransom, a computer program calling itself the Computer Angel swoops into the server like a modern-day Lone Ranger and saves the corporation.

The computer graphics during this scene are typical for audiences which don't know any better: when the virus is winning, the lights are all red; when the Computer Angel is winning, the lights are all green. When the Computer Angel achieves victory, the words "System Restored" appear on the monitor in gigantic letters, because, of course, that would totally happen. My critique of the graphics is a minor nitpick because I understand why movies have to do that.

2. Computer Angel

The next day, Chow Lui's younger brother, Chow Nunn, tries to convince Chow Lui to buy $20 billion in Dragon stock, but Chow Lui isn't interested, calling it a bad investment. Chow Nunn isn't happy about this.

During their conversation, Chow Lui's wife sits in the background watching them. The actress playing the wife is so wooden she looks like she's on drugs.

Their conversation is interrupted when a mysterious woman calling herself the Computer Angel arrives at the corporation's building (a very skinny structure taller than all the other buildings in Hong Kong, so it looks like it should fall over at any moment).

The Computer Angel's real name is Lynn (Shu Qi).

As Lynn arrives, she becomes the camera's point of view, and the receptionist speaks directly to the viewer as if the viewer is Lynn. This is the first of three instances in the film that this point-of-view shift happens, but at least it happens for a reason: Lynn is so gorgeous that the director is building up to the reveal of her face, and a conversation with a mere receptionist is not the moment for a reveal of such majesty.

When Lynn tells the receptionist that her name is the Computer Angel, the receptionist acts as if this is a perfectly ordinary name. Maybe that's just how they roll in Hong Kong.

Nothing against Shu Qi, who is a remarkably attractive woman, but the big reveal of Lynn's face is a let-down, despite the fact that the director edited the absolute hell out of that special moment.

When we finally see Lynn's face as she steps off the elevator, her hair is blown back dramatically by a convenient wind, the type of wind a beautiful woman normally finds inside an office building when she wants to make an impression.

The building is chock full of security guards. Seriously, as we'll see in the rest of the movie, this building has more guards than the Death Star had stormtroopers. For now, a modest number of about six security guards arrives to greet the Computer Angel.

The CCTV camera scans Lynn for hidden weapons. I can only assume that this groundbreaking technology will be installed in airports any day now. (I'm sure the script was written this way because forcing Lynn to endure a pat-down would have been very unseemly and would not have fit the scene.) When the guards determine that she is unarmed, she is escorted to the office of Chow Lui, who is eager to meet her.

Lynn tells him that there was never any battle for the corporation's computers. She claims that she created the virus, then pretended to fight it off. Chow Lui is notorious for being heavily guarded and seeing no one except those already close to him, so she pulled this stunt so that she could finagle her way into his office and get close enough to assasinate him, because his empire is built on drugs and smuggling.

Chow Lui laughs and hits a button which lowers a transparent shield around his desk (no, seriously). But this is no ordinary assasin, this is a woman who came prepared. She pulls some dazzling stunts and some clever moves to neutralize the guards and kill Chow Lui anyway.

The heel stilleto sticking into the ceiling was unnecessary (and no, I'm not explaining that), but it sets up a funny scene with the police inspector later. And where does one get boots with concrete-puncturing blades, and sunglasses which release large amounts of cyanide? Is there a catalog where assasins can buy these gizmos?

People on the internet who claim to know such things state that cyanide poisoning does not look like a bunch of large yellow warts. I believe them.

Lynn refuses to look at Chow Lui as he dies. She also refuses to kill any of the guards; she just shoots each one in the leg. So right away we can see that at least she's an assasin with a conscience.

While Chow Lui lies dead at his desk and guards lie on the floor clutching their legs, Lynn inserts a camera into the smoke detector on the ceiling (I think it's the smoke detector, it's hard to be sure). The camera is inside a replacement part which, naturally, is a perfect fit, as if she knew exactly what kind of smoke detector she would find in there. The ceiling is about 20 feet high, but the viewer sees Lynn only from the waist up as she tinkers with the smoke detector, so we can't see how she got up there. Unless there was a ladder just conveniently lying about in Chow Lui's office (there wasn't), this is impossible. But this is So Close, so we don't care. Onward.

3. Sisters

As soon as Lynn's secret camera is in place, she begins talking to someone else using a small headset. The someone else turns out to be her sister Sue (Zhao Wei), sitting at home in front of a table full of super computer equipment and a gazillion monitors. Sue has hacked into the corporation's computers, so she is not only able to tell Lynn everything she needs to know to get out of the building safely, she can feed false information to the security guards who are dependent upon that same computer. Wonderful!

The computer knows the position of each security guard in the building (which is technically possible if each one wore a GPS, but...whatever). Sue tells Lynn where the guards are, which enables Lynn to avoid them or overcome them (more shooting only in the leg). Lynn is such a bad-ass that she looks like she would have overcome the guards, anyway.

And here we get the first clue that this is more than just a run-of-the-mill action flick. Sue takes over the guards' communication network, but Sue has a tremendous sense of fun, so instead of simply silencing their communication, she gives the guards an old love song to listen to while they're being shot in the legs. The song is "(They Long to Be) Close To You." I am not making this up. And I don't care how corny it sounds, it actually works.

The song plays while Lynn engages in her violence. Lynn walks in time to the opening piano notes. The opening lyric, "Why do birds suddenly appear," accompanies Lynn's sudden appearance in front of some guards. See? We're being poetic, not just action-y.

The song is, presumably, the inspiration for the completely stupid title of the movie.

Lynn pulls some more clever moves and makes a clean getaway by falling off the building's roof. She can do this because she has a utility belt which fires wires at high speed. Each wire is tipped with a metal stud which embeds itself into the side of the building.

How does a belt contain so much wire? How can the belt unwind the wire yet still shoot it at such high speed? How can the wires support Lynn when the metal studs embed themselves only about a quarter of an inch into the concrete? How could Lynn possibly have aimed such a device, while falling, so that it embedded itself into concrete instead of just going through a window? Ah, who cares. Mission accomplished.

The entire job was child's play to the sisters. They were in total control every moment. As Lynn plummets to freedom, Sue reminds her to pick up her cake order from the bakery on the way home. Lynn simply smiles. Just another day at the office for the best assasins in Hong Kong.

Sue is adorable when she turns off her video camera and says, "Cut!" , but it's pretty stupid to film oneself committing a crime.

So Close was filmed in 2002, and all the technology is either fictional or cutting edge for the time. When showing off the sisters' hi-tech satellite connection, the viewer sees a satellite orbiting the Earth and hears the sound of a dial-up modem! The scene is slick and fast, and the sound effect blends with the visuals seamlessly, so even years later, it works, and it has the bonus of throwing some nostalgia your way if that's your thing.

4. Sue

Zhao Wei can do photogenic and quirky quite well, perfectly bringing to life the playful, fun-loving Sue. This is immediately established as Sue visits the cemetery to leave flowers at her parents' graves, and to tell her parents the latest news of herself and her sister. We see the sisters' love for each other, and some of their history, in a flashback. We also see that Sue has a passion for video recording just about everything she does.

In the flashback, we learn that when the girls were little, their father was developing a device that would allow a person to look through any CCTV camera anywhere in the world via satellite.

Two immediate thoughts spring to mind, in no particular order. First: Ewww! And second: I'm pretty sure that's one of the 20 dumbest things I've ever seen or heard of in a movie. That's right up there with utility belt wires which can support a person's weight after embedding themselves only about a quarter of an inch into concrete.

Inventing a device which will suddenly give every CCTV camera in the world the ability to show you what it's looking at over a satellite connection is like inventing a device which will suddenly give every hammer in the world the ability to do the cha-cha. If a piece of hardware does not have the necessary components, or the capability, to do the thing you want it to do, it will not do it. So, no. Just...no.

Also, the "CC" in CCTV stands for "closed-circuit." If CCTV video feeds were suddenly available worldwide, I'm pretty sure the cameras would have to be renamed.

(Trivia for the day: CCTV doesn't just stand for Closed Circuit Television, it is also the acronym for Chinese Central Television. I'll leave you to determine if there's any deep meaning in that.)

At the end of the scene in the cemetery, the subtitles move from the bottom of the screen to the top for no apparent reason.

5. Yen

As Lynn leaves the bakery, she bumps into an old love interest, Yen, by complete happenstance. When Lynn sees his face, the pretty music starts, and the movie suddenly switches genres to melodramatic soap opera romance. (Yen's opening line is, "Do you remember me?" It's so painful it's actually kind of numbing.) Because I hate compartmentalization, I love the fact that So Close just jumps genres like this. It does it magnificently, with no apology and with purest innocence. It's one of those things that makes it a strange movie, and yet, somehow, it seems so natural that I always forget to cringe.

Shu Qi is an okay actress, but I have yet to see her have chemistry with anyone she was supposed to, and that includes the lame romance in So Close. In her scenes with Yen, she always looks like that person at a party trapped in a corner with the boor that everyone avoids, and because everyone avoids him she knows no one is coming to her rescue.

Yen senses awkwardness. Lynn doesn't really want to talk to him. He gives her his number and tells her he's flying to New York at noon the next day.

6. Kong Yat-hung

The police do not know about the camera Lynn placed in the smoke detector, so they have no idea that Lynn and Sue are watching them as they investigate the crime scene.

One inspector, Kong Yat-hung (Karen Mok), has noticed the hole in the ceiling made by Lynn's special boot (and no, I'm still not explaining that; I'm just not). A funny scene introduces both her and her male assistant, Ma Siu-ma, and we quickly learn that she is extremely intelligent and a martial arts expert. As her sidekick, Siu-ma mostly exists to ask questions and act as comic relief. (I could almost say "bumbling sidekick," but mercifully, Siu-ma stops short of bumbling.)

One of the little things I love about this movie is the exciting music that starts the moment Hung jumps off the ladder.

Hung introduces herself as someone who works in forensics, yet throughout the film she behaves like an ordinary police inspector who does absolutely no forensic work whatsoever.

Hung has the exact same birth date as Lynn, and Sue becomes intrigued by the policewoman. While Sue investigates Hung, we see that Hung wears a necklace with a distinct shape.

The recording of Lynn's face was wiped from all the computers, so the police have no visual image of the killer. However, the corporation's computers recorded the song Sue used to jam the communication network, and the corporation gives this recording to the police. Hung listens to the song.

7. Lynn and Yen's past

As we hear "(They Long to Be) Close To You" again, Lynn lounges teasingly in a bubble bath.

A flashback, along with Lynn's narration, tells us how she originally met Yen years ago, and hints that they were tragically separated before they could have a real relationship. It's not really important so I'll skip it.

8. Lynn is better than Sue

Sue interrupts Lynn's bath to complain that she, Sue, is always the one stuck at home operating the computer, and that she never gets to assasinate anyone. Lynn says she's too emotional and not good enough.

Sue playfully videos Lynn in the bath, acting as if she's going to use it to blackmail her. Lynn tries to stop her. The sisters have a playful fight, full of titillation for all the viewers who like ogling women. Lynn takes Sue's video camera away from her and defeats her easily.

9. Hung is a bad-ass

Hung and Siu-ma walk through a ratty tenement for reasons that are not explained. (They talk about the Secret King, a man Hung wants to meet, so this might be the building in which he lives. But it doesn't seem like it, especially as later in the movie, I get the impression that Hung doesn't know where the Secret King lives.)

Hung has a photographic memory. In the elevator, by happenstance, are some hardened criminals, and she recognizes them from the thousands of mug shots she has seen. A fight breaks out for no discernible reason, and she singlehandedly defeats all of them. This scene exists solely to show the viewer how bad-ass she is.

Look for the continuity error, from the moment they enter the elevator to the moment when Hung is going through her memory.

The family waiting to get on the elevator is a nice moment of comedy, but it's amazing they didn't hear the gunshots.

10. Don't let Yen slip away

The sisters enjoy a nice lunch, although Lynn is distracted and downcast. Lynn keeps looking at her watch, noting that noon is fast approaching.

Sue is enthusiastic about the anthology of romance stories she's reading. Each story she describes to Lynn reminds Lynn of her meeting with Yen the day before, and she gets more agitated. Finally, Lynn can't stand it, and she dashes to the airport, dragging Sue with her.

Yen hasn't left yet, and Lynn finds him. He's relieved that Lynn came, because it means she still has feelings for him. He'll stay in Hong Kong instead of flying to New York.

Lynn introduces Yen to Sue.

Lynn and Yen really deserve each other, since each has the personality of a brick.

11. That pesky Dragon stock

Chow Lui's younger brother, Chow Nunn, is the new CEO, and he's still trying to get the corporation to invest $20 billion in Dragon stock. But one of the board members, Lai Kai-joe, is dead set against the investment and will not vote for it.

Chow is furious, and we learn that he is the one who hired the sisters to kill his brother. Even with his brother out of the way, Chow doesn't have the power he wants, so he plans to kill Lai, also.

We also learn that Chow Lui's widow was in on it, and was having an affair with Chow Nunn all along.

The widow tells Chow Nunn to ignore Lai. She says that when the time comes, she'll transfer all their stock to Dragon, and then they'll be even stronger. Chow Nunn doesn't argue.

Well, if that's all they have to do, why do they go through with the assasination of Lai? This is never explained.

Whoever is in charge of lighting the scenes inside the office building makes great use of the windows' patterns, causing the shadows to add a sharpness to the scenes. Well done.

12. The Secret King

The Secret King is an old and crafty secret agent, and Hung wants to talk to him in case he knows anything about the killers.

While waiting in a car for the Secret King to join them at a rendezvous, Hung teases Siu-ma about his sex life.

The Secret King arrives and tells Hung that he doesn't know who made the hit. However, he mentions that a large amount of hi-tech satellite equipment was sold about 15 years previously, but to a middle-aged man, not a young woman.

First, any sale of satellite equipment seems like an awfully trivial thing to mention. Second, any young woman would have been a little girl 15 years previously, so why does he feel the need to point out that she couldn't have been the buyer?

When the Secret King says, "Where in the world would we be without secrets?", Hung has a revelation. She kicks the Secret King out of the car and races back to the corporation's office building.

The scene with the Secret King feels odd because it could have been cut from the film very easily. It has little to do with the story and delivers information which ranges from trivial to nonsensical. The conversation between Hung and Siu-ma, before the Secret King arrives, shows a little bit of their personalities, but not much, and it isn't a bonding moment by any stretch of the imagination. The only thing noteworthy about the scene is the way it ends with Hung's revelation, but that could have been rewritten quite easily.

13. Hung's revelation

Hung has suddenly realized that the hit was so perfect, and the assasin so knowledgeable, that it had to have been an inside job. She pulls a trick to get up to Chow Lui's old office (which is now Chow Nunn's office) without any of the corporation's employees accompanying her, where she finds that someone erased crucial data from the computer the night of the murder. Chow Nunn is the only one who can access the computer, and Chow Nunn is the person who stands to gain the most from his older brother's death. It's not proof, but it's a major sign that she's on the right track.

Chow Nunn almost catches her in his office. Hung says her visit was nothing more than routine police procedure and leaves.

Chow and his bodyguard aren't buying it. They know Hung is on to them. Chow notices Hung's footprints in the soft carpet by the computer terminal.

I really like the way the shadow moves across Chow Nunn's face when he looks into the room, and the lighting in the scene in which he is sitting at his desk a few moments later.

14. Hiring the sisters again

Chow Nunn instructs his bodyguard to hire the sisters again. After the sisters kill Lai, his own men will kill the sisters to cover their tracks. They hire the sisters by sending them an unencrypted e-mail (although in the e-mail's text they use euphemisms rather than explicitly stating that they want someone killed).

The sisters act like giggling teenagers, one of them on the phone to her new boyfriend, when they accept the contract for another assasination. It's just one of those things which makes this movie so surreal.

While talking to her boyfriend, Lynn looks over the data they have been sent: a photo of Lai; key data about him; schematics of the building he will be in when the client wants him assasinated. (And since when does a client get to tell an assasin where and when the assasin should strike? Shouldn't that be at the assasin's discretion?)

The sisters' house is immaculate. The carpet is perfectly clean, the rooms are incredibly neat. They look like they live in a real estate agency's demonstration house.

15. Reading parts of e-mails

The police have scanned the corporation's e-mail. The message to the sisters is flagged as unusual.

When the police technician tells Hung about the e-mail, Hung smiles as if the technician said something amusing. I have no idea why.

Hung reads the e-mail (whose text is different in this scene than it was in the scene in which it was sent). It says something like "Kiss Lai's ass for his birthday."

Hung asks the police technician for the e-mail recipient's address.

"I can't help you," the technician says.

"You're kidding," Hung replies.

I agree. They have intercepted an e-mail, but they cannot read the address of the e-mail's recipient? That is just so gobsmackingly asinine that I can't even get worked up about it.

Not only that, but the e-mail doesn't seem to have any attachments. So how did the corporation send all that data, which we saw in the previous scene, to the sisters? If they sent that data via another method, why not contact them in the first place using that same method instead of sending an unencrypted e-mail?

All I can think is that So Close takes place in an alternate universe where the internet works differently. This is reinforced by the next scene, in which...

16. Hung goes shopping

Hung doesn't want to overlook any possible clue, so she investigates the song Sue used to jam the guards' communication network.

So Close is set in the present day, which at the time was 2002. And in 2002, if you wanted to investigate a song, what did you do?

That's right – you looked it up on the web!

Can Hung do this? Sure! Does she do this? Hell no! This is So Close! We don't have logic here. Hung instead goes to a music store and browses thousands of CDs at random, searching for the song in question.

Luckily, she doesn't have to browse for an entire month because, being a movie, something interesting happens. You see, by complete coincidence, Sue is in the same music store at the same time. Hung doesn't know who Sue is, but Sue knows who Hung is. When Sue sees Hung, she smiles, for she knows instantly why the policewoman is there, and that's when the fun begins.

The music store scene is one of the most fun scenes in the film. Part of this is due to the direction and the upbeat soundtrack; part of this is due to the acting of Zhao and Mok, who get their first scene together. In particular, the playful looks on Sue's face are adorable.

The store has listening stations so people can sample CDs. Sue pretends to listen to a CD at one such station, then hands the headphones to Hung, who politely accepts them to listen to whatever she has chosen. Of course, because Sue can't resist toying with the policewoman, the song Hung finds herself listening to is "(They Long to Be) Close To You." After listening to a few bars, Hung realizes what song she's hearing, and she knows that this can't possibly be a coincidence. She whips off the headphones and looks madly around for Sue, but Sue is long gone.

This scene is not only fun, it's important, for it enables Hung to see the face of one of the perpetrators. This is a crucial plot point, one of the few which the film actually upholds.

While Hung listens to the song, we see a flashback of Lynn shooting security guards earlier in the movie. I used to wonder what the point of the flashback was, then I realized that the director really had nothing else to do, because it was either that or watch Hung's unmoving face for half a minute. Flashback it is.

Why does it take Hung half a minute to realize that she's listening to "(They Long to Be) Close To You"? She has a photographic memory and she's super brilliant, but the plot called for Sue to have time to disappear, so Hung is conveniently a little slow on the uptake, here.

I'm pretty sure I read an article which stated that an earlier draft of the script called for Hung to chase Sue from the music store, and she and Sue fight briefly outside.

The CD which plays the song "(They Long to Be) Close To You" is shown to be the album Perfect Crime by Mai Kuraki. This album has no such track, and a cursory Google search shows no connections between Mai Kuraki and the film. When filming this scene, I think they chose a CD at random.

17. Yen accepts Lynn unconditionally

Lynn and Yen walk in the rain, and Yen wonders what Lynn does for a living. Lynn says she can't tell him because it's complicated.

They are conveniently attacked by muggers at that moment. Yen gallantly tries to fight them off, but he's not a fighter. Lynn, however, kicks their collective ass within microseconds, then pulls a gun.

As the muggers run off, Yen looks at Lynn in astonishment. She dejectedly says, "Now you know what I do."

That's not true, of course. She could be an assasin, or she could be a government agent. There might even be a third choice, but I'm too lazy to think of one. The point is, just because Yen sees her fight off some muggers, he does not suddenly know what she does. But whatever.

Lynn and Yen ride in a taxi, unable to look at each other (and oddly enough, this is the only scene in which they seem to have some chemistry). They get out at what seems to be a random street corner; it's not clear where they were going.

Yen tells Lynn to wait, so she just stands in the rain while he runs to a convenience store. Yen buys a bottle of something, probably water, and heats it up in a microwave. He brings it back out to Lynn and hands it to her. This gesture means something incredible. They look into each other's eyes. The soundtrack is a heavy saxophone. Yen is basically telling her without words, "I don't care what you've done or what you do, I love you." Lynn holds him.

Like almost everything in this movie, this scene makes no sense, but it is presented with such style that most viewers probably don't notice anything amiss until later. The scene actually has some powerful emotion, but most of it comes from the music and from Corey Yuen's direction, a little comes from Shu Qi, and practically none from the pretty face playing Yen, who looks like he just stepped out of every Asian soap opera ever made.

What is the significance of heating a bottle of water in a 7-Eleven microwave and giving it to one's girlfriend? I don't know, and neither does the internet. People have asked this question on forums, and even people familiar with Asian cultures don't seem to know the answer. It's just this weird stupid thing which the movie presents with complete honesty, asking the viewer to roll with it.

When Yen hands Lynn the water bottle, the imagery looks phallic. Maybe that's intentional, maybe it isn't. But that's how my mind works.

Some people have said that director Corey Yuen has a cameo as the mugger who begs Lynn not to shoot, but I can't confirm that.

18. No! Don't you know what's going to happen if you quit?

Sue works at her supercomputer, putting together the assasination plan. We see that the sisters' house has security cameras and computer alerts everywhere.

Lynn comes home and says she wants to cancel the contract, and she wants both of them to give up their life of crime. She told Yen the truth about their lives, then Yen asked her to marry him and she said yes (and boy, wasn't that fast?). She's ready for a change.

Now, in every movie ever made, what happens when one of the main characters decides to give up a life of crime and go straight? That's right, something not good at all. The moment Lynn utters those words, she has a target on her back.

However, I still didn't anticipate any tragedy because the movie is so fun, and almost lighthearted.

Sue congratulates Lynn on her engagement and says she'll cancel the contract. But the look on Sue's face says it all – this is her opportunity to carry out a job by herself. Lynn doesn't notice this.

One of the images on Sue's gazillion monitors is a traffic cam. Why? Just...why?

Sue does her work in front of a very large window with no blinds or curtains, and the sisters' heavy armaments are also sitting in this window. It makes a great visual, but realistically, anyone spying on them with a reasonable set of binoculars could see what they're doing. That's pretty careless for, supposedly, the best assasins in Hong Kong. The heavy sniper rifle hangs on some hooks behind the shades; it is out of sight of anyone in the house, but again, completely visible to anyone looking in the window.

When Sue turns off the computer and stares out the window in the darkness, the gazillion monitors behind her all go blue. This, too, is a great visual.

Overall, the lighting throughout this scene is striking.

Everything that happens for the rest of the story is a direct result of what Sue's about to do. If Sue had just let everything be and moved on with her life like Lynn suggested, everything would have been fine.

19. Sue begins her deception

The next day, Lynn is all set to spend more time with Yen. When she says good-bye to Sue, Sue doesn't hear her at first because she's sitting at her desk listening to a CD on headphones.

As soon as Lynn leaves, Sue begins playing a video which shows her sitting at the desk listening to a CD on her headphones.

Some of Sue's monitors now show the interior of a convenience store. I have no idea if that's intended as a joke or not.

20. Set up for the big battle

Lai Kai-joe is at the Magic Ocean Disco with a bunch of hookers, planning to get drunk for his birthday. The disco is on the top floor of a tall building. Hung and Siu-ma are there, keeping tabs on him. Because the e-mail which the police intercepted said, "Kiss Lai's ass for his birthday," Hung knows the assasins are going to strike tonight. She just doesn't know when or how.

While Hung sits at the bar waiting for the assasins to show themselves, don't miss the not-so-subtle product placement for a brand of beer.

Every time the scene comes back to the disco, which happens over a span of several hours in terms of story time, the same music is playing.

Lynn and Yen are having a painfully awkward dinner date in a quiet restaurant, and the sad thing is, it isn't supposed to be painfully awkward. We learn that tomorrow is Lynn's birthday (which means that it is also Hung's birthday).

Lynn worries because Sue hasn't called her all day, which is unlike her, so she calls Sue, but Sue doesn't answer. (The first time she calls, she only lets it ring three times before giving up. I understand why, because audiences don't want to sit there for half a minute listening to a phone ring, but it's still weird.) Lynn pulls a fancy gizmo out of her purse which allows her to access all the security cameras in her house. She thumbs through the images until she sees the video of Sue sitting at her desk, listening to her CD with the headphones on. This explains why Sue isn't answering the phone. There's nothing to worry about; Sue's fine.

But wait – Lynn sees that the heavy sniper rifle is gone! Instantly she knows what Sue is up to. She bolts from the restaurant, leaving poor Yen in her dust.

How does Lynn see the two empty hooks where the sniper rifle is supposed to be? The hooks are behind the shades. This is never explained.

Sue arrives at a high-class night club across the street from the Magic Ocean Disco. The club is also on the top floor of a tall building, slightly higher than the disco.

Sue has reserved a private room which faces the disco across the street. She tells the waitress that her friends will arrive much later, and that she is not to be disturbed until they do. Alone, Sue turns down the lights, cuts a hole in the window, and settles down with the rifle, waiting for a clear shot at Lai.

Chow Nunn's henchmen are also at the disco. They spot Hung, and they decide to kill her tonight, as well, since they're already planning to kill the sisters, too.

21. Elevator tension

Hung has cased the disco thoroughly but can't find the assasin. Desperately trying to out-think the killer, Hung suddenly realizes that the only place she can possibly be is in the night club across the street, and that the assasination will come in the form of a sniper shot. Hung and Siu-ma race across the street.

Lynn joins Sue and sharply commands, "Let me do it." Ashamed, Sue stands back and lets Lynn take over the rifle. Lynn apparently assasinates Lai (his death is heavily implied, but never explicitly stated).

Hung and Siu-ma are too late. When they arrive at the room facing the disco, they see the hole cut into the window, but the assasins are gone. Hung and Siu-ma race back to the elevators.

What follows is one of those scenes which don't make sense but which look stylish and visually compelling.

As Hung and Siu-ma stand in the elevator, the elevator directly across from them opens and Hung suddenly finds herself looking directly at Sue and Lynn, as well as a handful of other innocent people. Sue and Hung look at each other; their eyes meet. Hung recognizes Sue because of the stunt Sue pulled in the music store.

Hung desperately forces open the door of her own elevator and races across the landing to get into Sue's elevator, but the other elevator has already shut again.

But then it re-opens. Conveniently, in the background in Sue's elevator, there was a young man who was confused as to what floor he was on. This plot device allowed Sue's elevator doors to open dramatically when they did even though no one got in or out, and allows the doors to re-open because the young man has suddenly realized that this is his floor and he wants out of the elevator. Because he does that, Hung and Siu-ma are able to get into Sue's elevator.

This all takes place on the same floor with the room from which the assasination took place. Therefore, presumably, the sisters entered their own elevator on this same floor. So why is the sisters' elevator still there when Hung and Siu-ma get into a second elevator moments later? It's all a real stretch, but because it looks so good visually, it's hard to care.

The upshot is that Hung and Siu-ma now share an elevator with Lynn and Sue, and all four of them are perfectly aware of each other (even though Hung has never seen Lynn's face before, she senses that Lynn is with Sue). But there are other innocent people in the elevator, so no one says or does anything.

The tension within the elevator is so palpable you can almost touch it. After several seconds pass, Lynn and Hung both reach out to press the button for the bottom floor of the parking garage, as if they telepathically agreed at the same moment to take their upcoming fight away from any innocent people. Hung looks at Lynn out of the corner of her eye. Lynn stares straight ahead. The tension ratchets higher.

The elevator reaches an upper floor of the parking garage. Lynn, Hung, Siu-ma and Sue each politely step aside so everyone else can exit the elevator. They are now the only four left. The elevator continues its journey downward. The tension ratchets even higher as all four people stand perfectly still and look straight ahead, each waiting for someone else to make the first move.

Of course, it's Sue who panics and strikes first.

22. Hung vs. Lynn

Suddenly, all hell breaks loose in that elevator. Fists fly, guns are pulled, people are held. When it reaches the bottom floor, Hung has Sue hostage and Lynn has Siu-ma hostage, with guns pointing at each other. They all walk out of the elevator together in a connected chain of four people holding onto each other, and there are three or four continuity errors in about as many seconds.

No one else is around. It's a complicated standoff, which Lynn and Hung carefully defuse by letting everone go and slowly laying their guns on the floor at the same time. Then the guns end up in the hands of Sue and Siu-ma (it's complicated so I'm not going to cover the details).

What stops either Sue or Siu-ma from just pulling the trigger and gaining the upper hand? Normally, I would say, "Beats me," but actually, I genuinely get the feeling that none of these people really want to kill each other, and furthermore, they all know this. Remember, Hung knows that Lynn refused to kill any guards when she assasinated Chow Lui. During this fight, there is an astonishing level of trust and mutual respect among the combatants.

And finally, Hung and Lynn go at it! While Sue and Siu-ma point guns at each other, Hung and Lynn have a kung fu fight. This level of the parking garage is deserted, so they have the whole space to themselves.

The two are evenly matched, although Hung succeeds in locking a set of handcuffs on one of Lynn's wrists. Lynn uses the handcuffs as a weapon. Hung parries the handcuffs with her arm, and the other end of the set of handcuffs snaps shut around Hung's wrist. Suddenly, Lynn and Hung are literally locked together, and the fight becomes even more complicated.

They trade more kicks and punches, neither gaining the upper hand.

Sue notices a new danger approaching. The funky camera angles, slow motion, and zooms into random points in the distance make it seem as if Sue is psychic. I don't know why the director couldn't just plainly show that Sue saw some men with guns taking up positions, which I presume is what happened.

Anyway, Sue calls out a warning. They have company. A horde of Chow Nunn's thugs has arrived to finish off both the sisters and the policewoman. The thugs begin firing, and suddenly Lynn, Sue, Hung and Siu-ma are allies. Still handcuffed to each other, Hung and Lynn have no choice but to work together. Hung saves Sue's life, and Sue gives her a little smile of thanks. Lynn aims a gun straight at Hung's face, but then shifts her aim slightly and blows away a bad guy who was right behind her, and Hung gives her a little smile of thanks.

The goons keep coming, and the main characters keep fighting. The main characters only have two guns with which to defend themselves, but those two guns never run out of bullets.

Just before Sue fires her first shot, one of the thugs fires his gun, and although there is a flash at the muzzle, there is no sound.

At one point early in the gun battle, Sue calls Lynn by her name. Not a wise thing to do when the policewoman who's hunting you is right next to you. Also, the editing makes it seem as if the 7th and 8th shots which Sue fires were aimed in Lynn's direction (and maybe they were aimed in her direction because she's really upset with Lynn?).

Sue gets into a car. Conveniently, it's the only car parked on an otherwise empty level, and I'm not sure if it belongs to Sue or if Sue just knows how to steal it (this is not the parking garage level the sisters had originally been intending to get out on, so I think Sue is stealing someone else's car). Sue drives around to pick up Lynn and Hung. While they're getting into the car, Siu-ma uses a fire hose to keep the remaining bad guys at bay. Sue waits for Siu-ma to get into the car (which I think is sweet, since they're really enemies), and takes off. They all get away, partially because the thugs can't hit the broad side of a barn.

Inside the car, Lynn fires a bullet through the handcuff chain, breaking the link holding her to Hung. She points the gun at Hung and orders her and Siu-ma to get out of the car as soon as they reach the road, which they do. The sisters drive off. Hung can only watch as her prey slips away.

Siu-ma's ankle is injured, but it's not clear when that happened or what caused it.

I can only presume that the bullet which Lynn fired inside the car to sever the handcuffs didn't hurt anything else. This is another instance in which moviemakers, and audiences, tend to forget that bullets go places and do stuff.

All in all, this whole fight scene is just the bomb for me. The tension is high and the overall situation is just fun to watch. Part of the reason I love it is because I enjoy stories in which enemies temporarily work together when faced with a common foe, because the relationships become much more interesting. The moment Hung smiles at Lynn is the moment the movie's entire dynamic changes. Forcing Lynn and Hung to cooperate because they're handcuffed together is a fantastic bit of writing, and we never get to see which one of them would have won the fight.

The entire sequence, from the tension in the elevator to the moment the sisters drive off, is just wonderfully directed. For me, this sequence is the heart of the movie and its true highlight. Part of the reason I feel this way is because it's the only time Hung, Lynn and Sue appear together.

The relationship between Hung and the sisters – particularly Sue – is really the main story. But that isn't apparent until this fight sequence, halfway through the film, when they are forced to work together.

23. Lynn is pissed off

Lynn and Sue return home and have an argument, in a scene which is actually genuinely emotional and very well done.

Lynn is furious that Sue didn't cancel the contract and tried to pull off the assasination on her own. Sue is furious that Lynn treats her like a child. Sue wants to continue being an assasin, and doesn't need Lynn's permission to do that. Lynn points out that Sue wouldn't have gotten away tonight had she not been there.

At one point in the argument, Lynn says, "If you were any good, you would have hit the target with one shot." Since Sue didn't fire any shots at Lai, I don't know what this line of dialogue refers to.

Lynn says that she just wants Sue to have a normal life. Sue lashes back with, "Not every woman needs a man to protect her like you do!" and storms off to her room.

The sisters spend the night in their bedrooms crying their eyes out.

Sue's remark about not every woman needing a man is the first ambiguous indication that she might be lesbian or bisexual.

24. The sisters' past

Yen and Lynn talk on the phone. Lynn tells Yen about her argument with Sue, and tells Yen what happened to their family years earlier. Thus we get the third and final major flashback of the film.

When the girls were teenagers, their father was almost finished with his CCTV invention, which he called World Panorama. He had intended to give his invention to the police, but a bunch of ruthless businessmen came to their house in order to murder the family and steal it. The killers gunned down their parents in front of their eyes, but one of the killers apparently drew the line at children, and killed the other assasins in order to save Lynn and Sue. Lynn says, "It was he who taught me to fire my first shot."

The implication is that the sisters then became assasins themselves, using their father's World Panorama. What motivation they had for becoming assasins is anyone's guess. They seem to have gone straight from giggling teenagers in a happy household, to traumatized teenagers, to professional hitwomen in two quick steps. One would think that, having felt firsthand the pain of having their own loved ones assasinated, that creating that same pain for others would be the last thing they would want to do. Their transition couldn't have been that simple, so it seems like there's room for fan fiction in there somewhere. Perhaps they went after the ones who hired the hitmen who killed their parents, and things escalated from there.

Also, Lynn's line at the beginning of the film – that she's going to kill Chow Lui because he has amassed an evil fortune through drugs and smuggling – seems to suggest that the sisters accept jobs only when they agree that the target deserves to be killed.

All in all, the movie is just extremely vague about all of this, but because this is all backstory, it can afford to be vague; trying to fill in every little detail would probably bog the story down. These two sweet, fun-loving women are actually professional killers. The story makes no apology for this oddity, and because it's presented with perfect innocence and straightforwardness, it actually works.

Lynn reveals that she wants to make sure Sue never kills anyone. Lynn is burdened with guilt because she has killed people, and she doesn't want Sue's soul to be burdened the same way. Lynn's number one goal in life is to protect her younger sister at all costs.

If Lynn feels guilt over being an assasin, why is she an assasin? Someone with her intelligence, talent, and resources could have been just about anything. Again, this is not explained.

25. Good-bye anonymity

One of Chow Nunn's henchmen was able to follow the sisters home after the shootout. Chow Nunn now knows who they are and where they live.

26. Hung gets chewed out

Hung's supervisor chews her out, because in any cop movie, the cop's boss has to be antagonistic instead of actually supporting his officers. He's upset that her actions resulted in a gun battle which shot a parking garage to hell and back. He doesn't order her off the case, he just blames her for everything.

He also says, "I'll forget the Secret King case, as it ended today." The Secret King was simply a person she spoke to, not a case she was investigating, so I don't know what he means by that.

27. Chow Nunn brings in the pros

Chow Nunn tried to kill Hung and the sisters but failed, and he's very worried that they'll now come after him, so he hires a couple of top people. One is a security specialist. The other is an American computer specialist whom he hopes will counter the sisters' hacking abilities.

Chow Nunn's henchmen tell him that they've made the arrangements for the policewoman.

28. Hung's apartment

The next morning, we get our first look at Hung's apartment, and it's pretty nice, with a great view overlooking a large park. We also get a completely gratuitous view of Hung in her underwear, and she looks pretty fine.

The outside of the apartment building looks as crappy as the inside looks nice. The outside is a dingy, grimy slum.

After Hung leaves, some mysterious men pick the lock to her apartment and let themselves in. They take some hair from her bed, and they take the necklace we saw her wearing in her first scene.

29. Have some birthday cake

Hung arrives at work and is mystified by the fact that everyone is being friendly to her. Then she finds out that everyone knows it's her birthday, and the reason everyone knows it's her birthday is because someone sent her a cake. A plain white box sits ominously on her desk.

While the viewer screams "Don't open it, you idiot!", she opens it. But it's not a bomb, it really is a cake. As she looks at it, her phone rings. She answers it, and Sue begins singing "Happy Birthday" to her.

Hung figures out that Sue can see her and hangs up. Hung realizes that the only way Sue can see her is that she must have hacked into the police department's security camera, pointing right at her.

Hung approaches the camera. She holds up the cake and takes a bite of it (looking sensuous as she does it), showing Sue that she's not afraid. Sue just smiles. Even after the fight in the parking garage, Sue still can't resist toying with Hung.

30. Sue apologizes

Lynn wakes up to find Sue already gone, but in her closet is Sue's video recorder. On it is a recorded message in which Sue apologizes to Lynn for their argument the night before.

31. Don't mess with Hung

Sue arrives at the bakery to pick up another cake (is cake all she eats?). As she does, her phone rings. She answers it, and Hung says, "Well, do you know who I am? What? Are you afraid?" And suddenly Sue finds out what it's like to be the one who is toyed with by an adversary who is secretly watching her. The look of slow, subtle fear on her face is very well done.

Hung tells her that she likes to eat cake, too, and that when she took a bite of the cake, she knew instantly that it came from Orchid Bakery. From there, it was easy to find out who had ordered it and get her number.

"Look outside," Hung says.

Sue looks outside, and sees Hung standing across the street. Hung waves at her, and Sue smiles back. It's a great moment, well acted by both women.

I love that moment when Sue leans backward to see out the window, and the music starts to play. The look on her face says so much.

I also love the fact that even though she's in a world of trouble, Sue runs back to the counter to get her cake.

32. Car chase

But the moment of friendliness between the two adversaries passes, and Hung moves in to arrest Sue. Sue has no way out of the bakery except through the front door...or by breaking through the front window, which she does as Hung runs in. Sue carjacks someone. Evidently not having a police car of her own, Hung also carjacks someone, and the car chase is on.

Hung calls for backup, and suddenly, Sue is running from what looks like the entire Hong Kong police force. Sue activates the cell phone embedded in her watch (seriously) which sends an emergency call to Lynn, who is back home getting ready for another big date with what's-his-name. It's Lynn's birthday, and her fiance has planned a really special day.

Sue tells Lynn she's being chased by the cops. Lynn rushes to the computer, hacks into a satellite, and uses its imagery and some snazzy software to plot escape routes for Sue. She gives Sue directions.

At that moment, a gazillion of Chow Nunn's thugs converge on the house and attack.

For the next few minutes, Lynn multitasks. She alternates between defending herself and typing at the keyboard to help Sue escape. She could probably run easily, but that would mean abandoning Sue, which she would never do. Sue doesn't know Lynn's under attack. Lynn mows down one bad guy after another, even though some of the things she does (like hanging upside-down from a windowsill by her toes and then levering herself back up) are simply impossible, but she does them anyway. Between bullets, she continues to find escape routes for Sue.

Finally, the police have Sue surrounded. Hung gloats, and mouths the words, "Got you!" Lynn finds an escape route for Sue, and tells her to crash through the two police cars behind her. Sue does this, leaving the police behind. Hung can only look on furiously as Sue gloats back at her, pointing her finger at Hung like a gun.

Unfortunately, the fact that Lynn had to help Sue that final time means that she had to stay by the computer too long. The security professional whom Chow Nunn hired hits Lynn with two shots. Lynn shouts Sue's name and dies.

The entire chase would have been unnecessary if Hung had simply walked into the bakery behind Sue instead of toying with her by calling her, but I can forgive that.

I can only assume that the phone Sue used to call the bakery was a burner phone.

33. Sue's grief

Sue comes home, giddy that she got away from the police. She carries her cake and some flowers, presumably for Lynn, both as an apology and for Lynn's birthday. (Considering the fact that at one point during the chase Sue's car rolled upside-down, I can only presume that the cake is smeared all over the inside of the box, but I'm sure it's the thought that counts.)

Her joy turns to sorrow in just a few seconds as she takes in the chaos. Their home no longer looks like a real estate agency's demonstration home; it's been properly shot to hell by about a million bullets.

Sue finds Lynn's body and loses it.

The next few minutes are genuinely moving and heartbreaking, almost exclusively due to Zhao Wei's excellent acting. The editing and music here are also very well done.

Because the sisters' house is covered with security cameras tied to their supercomputer, the entire murder was recorded on video. Evidently, the killers were not aware of this, despite, you know, the cameras and all, so Sue is able to replay the entire thing and watch her sister die.

The recording also shows the bad guys tossing Hung's necklace into the crime scene.

34. Yen

Yen stands on a sidewalk, looking at his watch, wondering where Lynn is.

35. Lynn's final words

Sue has no choice but to leave Lynn, the house, and everything behind. She picks up her favorite video camera, which we've seen her use a few times, and films Lynn's body. She takes the camera to the cemetery and, in a heavy rain, buries it in the mud next to her parents' graves. While burying the camera, she accidentally activates a recording and hears Lynn's voice.

It turns out that after Sue left the camera for Lynn to find that morning so that Lynn could view her apology, Lynn, in return, made a recording for Sue. Sobbing, Sue now views that recording. In it, Lynn apologizes for not treating Sue like an adult, and says that she'll never blame Sue for anything again, no matter what.

These final words rip open the guilt Sue feels a second time, and she cries out in anguish and sobs.

Their harsh words to each other the night before were the final words they spoke to each other in person.

36. Alliance

The police arrive at Hung's apartment and arrest her for Lynn's murder.

The sisters' home was shot to hell and back from a thousand directions. Lynn killed about five thousand thugs before they finally got her. About ten billion bullets were fired. And about the time the murder occurred, Hung was engaged in a car chase elsewhere, along with the rest of the police department, who, you know, saw and spoke with Hung during and after the car chase. Hung's necklace and a few of her hairs were found at the scene of the murder, in an obviously clumsy frame attempt. But the policeman who arrests Hung says...

...wait for it...

..."Much of the evidence at the scene of the crime points to you."

Wow. There's...really not much to say, is there?

So Hung has been framed for Lynn's murder. Just as she's being loaded into the police car, she's rescued by...Sue!

Sue holds a gun on Hung. Sue says that if Hung stays and allows herself to get arrested, she'll be killed. Sue also says she has the evidence which will clear Hung's name, but in order to earn it, Hung has to help Sue take down the bastards who killed her sister. Sue claims that Hung's only real option is to come with her.

Siu-ma shows up. He says he received a visit from Anti-Corruption, who told him that a lot of money was deposited in Hung's bank account. But he doesn't believe that Hung could be corrupt. He frees Hung from her handcuffs, and says that only she can help herself now.

Hung and Sue run off into the night. Now, they are both fugitives.

They hole up somewhere, it's hard to be sure where. It looks like an abandoned construction site, or perhaps a little-used maintenance area under a bridge. All we can see is that it's beside the water.

Sue tells Hung that once this is over, she'll submit to arrest and cooperate fully with the police.

"Why are you so sure I'll cooperate with you?" Hung asks.

"I understand you," Sue replies. "We're opposites, but I think you're somehow attracted to me."

Later, Hung says, "I won't help you kill anyone. I'll only help you work the computer."

"That's all I need," Sue replies.

Hung's statement makes no sense, as she knows perfectly well Sue's intention is to kill people. By working the computer, she'll be helping her kill people, the very thing she just said she won't do.

Everything Hung does for the rest of the story is also the opposite of this statement, so this is either a production mistake, poor editing, or poor translation.

37. Chow Nunn is worried

Chow is angry that the younger sister is still free, and now apparently Hung is free and they are working together. He won't rest until they're dead, because he knows they're coming for him.

Chow's bodyguard suggests that the simplest course of action is to wait for the women to arrive and take care of them then, rather than engage in an expensive and fruitless search across the whole city. Chow agrees.

38. Sue and Hung have feelings for one another

Sue upgrades the World Panorama and teaches Hung how to use it. During this time, they begin to bond. Hung steals a few appraising looks at Sue. Sue lovingly adjusts Hung's blanket while she sleeps.

During one of their software training sessions, Sue asks Hung if she would be attracted to her if she was a police officer instead of an assasin. Hung laughs, embarassed.

Dejected, Sue says, "Never mind. Actually, I didn't need to ask. When you were dreaming yesterday, you already said it. You're a soldier, and I'm a bandit."

The fact that Hung said something about this in her sleep must mean that the subject is important to her, too.

39. The big battle

But never mind all those gooey feelings, it's time to shoot people. The bad guys need to pay.

Sue and Hung attack the corporation's building, with the objective of taking out Chow Nunn. Hung says Chow Nunn is not worth protecting with the law.

The camaraderie between Sue and Hung is nice. They tell each other good luck, and the attack begins.

Basically, it's like a video game. The women pull some clever moves, and work their way up level by level, overcoming more and more guards. They finally reach Chow Nunn's office, where they have to overcome the biggest challenge of all. The computer expert whom Chow Nunn hired throws a major wrench into Sue and Hung's meticulous plan, forcing them to improvise. I won't describe the whole battle, I'll only say that it's one mother of a fight, with some outstanding action scenes. It lasts for 17 minutes.

Many of the guards are no doubt thugs whom the world will not miss, but some of them seem like ordinary security guards, the type employed by office buildings the world over, who don't deserve to die. Sue and Hung don't care; there's no more shooting guards in the leg just to get them out of the way like Lynn did, now it's shoot to kill. They just mow down everyone. Hung is a police officer, yet she doesn't appear bothered by any of this in the slightest.

The countless thugs still can't hit the broad side of a barn. At one point, about 20 goons are firing repeatedly at Sue as she runs away, and not a one of them can hit her.

The elevators apparently don't have emergency brakes.

Sue's neck wound – which would have sliced open her jugular – changes position several times throughout the sword fight. After the fight, it suddenly looks like a small scratch.

At one point in the battle, Sue breaks off a thick bamboo stalk to use as a weapon. If there's one thing bamboo does not do, it's break off conveniently at the stem.

At another point in the battle, Sue has what fans call her "Die Hard moment," when she swings outside the building and shoots her way back in through a window on another floor. This doesn't bother me, because I think Corey Yuen would have choreographed that even if Die Hard never existed; I don't feel that anyone was copying anything.

However, we have those wires on the utility belt again. Once again, the metal studs embed themselves about a quarter of an inch into the concrete. That's not enough to support anything; they wouldn't be able to hold a bag of feathers, much less a person. When Sue kills Chow Nunn with the utility belt wire, the metal stud embeds itself only a tiny bit into his forehead, yet it kills him instantly. This is never explained.

The camera which Lynn inserted into the smoke alarm in Chow Nunn's office at the beginning of the movie saves Sue's life at the end. Sue calls it a blessing from Lynn in heaven.

On the DVD, the chapter which contains Chow's death is titled, "Ciao, Chow."

40. Good-bye, Hung

With their mission accomplished and all the bad guys taken care of, Sue hands Hung the video recording of Lynn's murder. It will clear her of the crime. Sue says she is ready to come with Hung and pay for her crimes.

Hung is no longer interested in arresting Sue. She knows Sue won't commit any more crimes.

Sue gives Hung the World Panorama to help her in her job as a police officer.

They shake hands, then Sue slowly leans forward and kisses Hung on the lips. It's hardly a kiss, more like a quick touch which lasts less than a second.

Sue walks away, with Hung looking after her longingly. Both women know that because one of them is a soldier and one of them is a bandit, their relationship can never be (although since Sue is now on the straight and narrow, I don't see why it would be a problem).

I find the kiss a little awkward. Either have a real kiss or none at all. The weird, chaste, almost-kiss feels like Yuen is embarrassed to suggest a lesbian relationship, like he doesn't actually know how to handle it. I'm not sure if this is because of cultural mores in Hong Kong or for some other reason. It just feels really strange.

41. Good-bye, Lynn

Sue lays flowers at Lynn's grave. Lynn has been laid to rest beside her parents.

Sue says good-bye to Lynn, and says she will never disobey her again. She also says she will break the news to Yen, and tell him that he will always be her beloved.

The way the sunshine lights this scene is beautiful.

Sue walks away as the sun sets behind her. This shot is supposed to be lovely, but it doesn't work for me. First, it bugs me that Sue wears sunglasses as she walks away; there's no need for her to wear sunglasses at sunset, and they obscure her face. Second, Sue just looks awful. She looks like a celebrity who goes out in public in a giant pair of sunglasses and a horrendously tacky wig. It ruins the ending for me, especially since she was so beautiful during her soliloquy just seconds earlier. This should have been a better closing shot.

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