Time review: Patrick Tse is a hitman on a peculiar mission in touching drama

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·3 min read
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Patrick Tse stars as the retired assassin Chau in Time. (Photo: Golden Village Pictures)
Patrick Tse stars as the retired assassin Chau in Time. (Photo: Golden Village Pictures)

Length: 99 minutes
Director: Ricky Ko
Cast: Patrick Tse, Petrina Fung, Lam Suet, Chung Suet-ying
Language: Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles

In theatres 16 September (Singapore)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Time follows the story of a trio of assassins Chau (Patrick Tse), Fung (Petrina Fung) and Chung (Lam Suet), who have now become redundant at work and at home, as old age approaches. An unexpected mission lands in their hands, and turns out to be an assisted suicide. Thinking that he will be doing the poor and/or the elderly a favour, Chau decides to take on more of such assisted suicide cases as the “Guardian Angels of the Elders”. However, one day, a request comes from an orphaned 16-year-old Tsz-ying (Chung Suet-ying), who is tired of living.

The biggest selling point of Time is none other than its leading actor Patrick Tse, who turns 85 this year. Many would also know him as the father of Nicholas Tse (who recently applied to revoke his Canadian citizenship). It is amazing to see Patrick Tse once again on the silver screen, and even more intriguing as the leading actor. To top it off, Patrick Tse shows that he is still nimble and swift with the knife in the film despite being in his eighties. Regardless of the storyline, having Patrick Tse as part of the cast is more than enough reason to not miss the film.

Time also marks the directorial debut of Ricky Ko, who has been in the film industry for more than a decade as an assistant director. Some of his past works include Ip Man: The Final Fight, 77 Heartbreaks, and The White Storm 2: Drug Lords. Joining him behind the scenes is popular Hong Kong actor Gordon Lam (known for his performance in Ip Man and Hand Rolled Cigarette), who produced and co-wrote Time.

Although Time has a simple title, the story is actually rather deep. Embedded beneath the black humour is a meaningful and touching message about the lives of the aged. As Chau carries out his assisted suicide missions, the lonely and depressing thoughts and feelings of their “clients” are unveiled in a heartbreaking fashion. Even the lives of the old assassins themselves are not going great.

As Time interweaves the individual lives of the trio of main characters, it may appear a little messy with no clear objective. But it somewhat manages to tie everything together, and create a happy ending for everyone that symbolises hope and positivity. Just like the tagline in the trailer says: “Even though life is near dusk, the afterglow can still illuminate others.”

Time may not have the best story flow, but it definitely throws light on some issues the elderly face. As it may be the last film that the famous Patrick Tse will star in, Time is possibly the ideal film to bring your parents or grandparents to go watch.

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