Monday, 21 November 2011


Chief Sparrow Simon Yam
The mysterious Kelly Lin.

Sparrow" is Hong Kong street slang for "pickpocket" and this film from Johnnie To is about a gang of four such sparrows. They work together as a team lifting wallets from unsuspected tourists until one day the mysterious and beautiful Chun-Lei suddenly appears, requesting the gang to steal a key for her. They find her request irresistible. However the set-up begins to unravel itself when they complete their task, realizing that the exotic beauty has been slowly leading them onto a path of no return.

Johnnie To shot Sparrow (2008) during work on other projects and therefore took a total of three years to bring to fruition. Its stars To regular Simon Yam as the leader of the criminal gang and Kelly Lin as Chun-Lei who was in Johnnie To’s collaboration’s with Wai Ka-Fai, Mad Detective (2007) and Fulltime Killer (2001). This light hearted comedy is not what I’ve come to expect from the brilliant Hong Kong mucho action director, believe me you don’t normally describe the mans films as romantic and emotionally expressive? As with all his films its well made and the cinematography shows both old and new Hong Kong to its advantage, but nowhere near his best work.

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