films seen
57
average score
3.13*
nationality
Hong Kong - 65 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Master of the Hong Kong Triad cinema, though To's arsenal is way broader than the crime films that brought him international fame. Offbeat soundtracks, stylish cinematography and absurd touches make his films stand out from the competition.

Rare treats

Sparrow

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Man Jeuk
Specifics
Hong Kong [2008] - 87m
Genre
Comedy, Crime
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Sparrow poster

To's passion for the job shows in every scene, in every choice and in every detail. The film has its very own, unique flow and knows to charm from the first minute.

Exiled

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Fong Juk
Specifics
Hong Kong [2006] - 110m
Genre
Action, Crime
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Exiled poster

One of the most stylish To films. The story is simple, but the cast is first class and every single scene is a little masterpiece in itself. Exiled is a string of iconic, vintage To moments that's even more impressive the second time around. An absolute must if you're a To fan, a good film to start with if you're not.

Mad Detective

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Sun Taam
Specifics
Hong Kong [2007] - 89m
Genre
Crime
More info on
rating
4.5*/5.0*
toplist position
Mad Detective poster

Together with Sparrow, To proves himself to be one of the most interesting directors in cinema today. His genre films are strong, original and seamlessly executed and seem to lack any weak points.

The good stuff

Flying Butterfly

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Hu Die Fei
Specifics
Hong Kong [2008] - 88m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Flying Butterfly poster

Triangle

by Ringo Lam, Johnnie To, Hark Tsui
Also known as
Tie Saam Gok
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [2007] - 93m
Genre
Drama, Action
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Triangle poster

Turn Left Turn Right

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Heung Joh Chow Heung Yau Chow
Specifics
Hong Kong [2003] - 102m
Genre
Romance
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Turn Left Turn Right poster

Turn Left, Turn Right is a simple, light-hearted drama, but conceptually quite strong and pure. The film demands that you go along with its concept and leave it at that.

Fulltime Killer

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Chuen Jik Sat Sau
Specifics
Hong Kong [2001] - 102m
Genre
Action, Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
Fulltime Killer poster

One of the films that foreshadowed a new beginning for Johnnie To. Stylish action, brooding crime and quirky details would come to define his films in the 00s. Fulltime Killer puts the most emphasis on action, but all the elements that would launch To as one of the prime HK directors of the decade are already present. Good stuff.

Vengeance

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Fuk Sau
Specifics
Hong Kong [2009] - 108m
Genre
Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Vengeance poster

A very solid film in all departments, allowing you to sink back into your couch and let the film drift over you like a warm, dark blanket.

Throw Down

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Yau Doh Lung Fu Bong
Specifics
Hong Kong [2004] - 95m
Genre
Drama, Action
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Throw Down poster

It's just a very fun and entertaining film with a good few memorable scenes. In the end it's not one of To's absolute bests, but definitely worth watching.

PTU

by Johnnie To
Specifics
Hong Kong [2003] - 88m
Genre
Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
PTU poster

PTU is first class film making. Lam en Yam are good actors and know how to play their parts. The soundtrack is solid and the film is visually impressive.

Election 2

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Hak Se Wui Yi Wo Wai Kwai
Specifics
Hong Kong [2006] - 95m
Genre
Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Election 2 poster

The ultimate proof that To can do serious crime cinema. It's a stylish and intriguing crime drama surrounding the chairman election of a Triad organization. It's a definite step up from the first film, with a powerhouse performance of Louis Koo, an amazing soundtrack and slick visuals to boot.

Drug War

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Du Zhan
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [2012] - 107m
Genre
Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Drug War poster

If you like the HK police flicks Drug War is one of the best offerings around. It's a stylish, tense and strong crime flick, helmed by one of the most seasoned crime cinema veterans.

Blind Detective

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Man Tam
Specifics
Hong Kong [2013] - 127m
Genre
Comedy, Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Blind Detective poster

The package is stylish, quirky and fun at the same time. In the end I prefer To's more arthouse-oriented work, but a film like this is a welcome diversion, especially when executed so wonderfully.

Solid pieces

Chasing Dream

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Chihuo Quan Wang
Specifics
China [2019] - 118m
Genre
Romance, Sport
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Chasing Dream poster

Decent To/Ka-Fai collaboration, but a little too safe and expected to compete with their high profile work. It's obvious the film was made by competent people with a long history in the business, but maybe that's finally starting to work against To, as there are very few surprises left. Still, the execution was top-notch, so To fans should surely seek it out.

Three

by Johnnie To
Also known as
San Ren Xing
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [2016] - 88m
Genre
Action, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Three poster

Office

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Hua Li Shang Ban Zu
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [2015] - 119m
Genre
Comedy, Romance, Musical
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Office poster

High Altitude of Love II

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Gao Hai Ba Zhi Lian II
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [2012] - 111m
Genre
Drama, Romance
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
High Altitude of Love II poster

Life without Principle

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Dyut Meng Gam
Specifics
Hong Kong [2011] - 107m
Genre
Drama, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Life without Principle poster

Don't Go Breaking My Heart

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Daan Gyun Naam Yu
Specifics
Hong Kong [2011] - 115m
Genre
Romance
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Don't Go Breaking My Heart poster

Yesterday Once More

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Lung Fung Dau
Specifics
Hong Kong [2004] - 99m
Genre
Comedy, Romance, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Yesterday Once More poster

Breaking News

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Daai Si Gin
Specifics
Hong Kong [2004] - 90m
Genre
Drama, Action, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Breaking News poster

Help!!!

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Lat Sau Wui Cheun
Specifics
Hong Kong [2000] - 92m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Help!!! poster

Running Out of Time

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Am Zin
Specifics
Hong Kong [1999] - 93m
Genre
Drama, Action, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Running Out of Time poster

Where a Good Man Goes

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Joi Gin A Long
Specifics
Hong Kong [1999] - 90m
Genre
Drama, Action, Thriller
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Where a Good Man Goes poster

A Hero Never Dies

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Chan Sam Ying Hung
Specifics
Hong Kong [1998] - 86m
Genre
Drama, Action, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
A Hero Never Dies poster

The Longest Nite

by Tat-Chi Yau, Johnnie To
Also known as
Am Faa
Specifics
Hong Kong [1998] - 81m
Genre
Action, Mystery, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
The Longest Nite poster

Tat-Chi Yau. Who is he, where did he come from and where did he go? That's what I've been wondering after seeing two films of him last week. I've seen quite a few Hong Kong films the past couple of years, but somehow Tat-Chi Yau never appeared on my radar. That's more than just a little odd, considering the talent he worked with (Tony Leung Chiu Wai, Simon Yam, Eric Tsang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Ching Wan Lau, Francis Ng). And that's just for a total of 4 feature films, directed between 1997 and 2001.

If you know a thing or two about Hong Kong cinema, you may look at the dates and think "Oh, but that's a pretty dire period for Hong Kong films". Fair enough, but apparently Yau's films didn't suffer from the industry's local depression. The two films I've seen so far (that's 50% of is his feature film oeuvre) are well above average, even signalling Hong Kong's return to form during the early '00s. So why didn't Tat-Chi Yau's career take off? Well, your guess is as good as mine, the fact of the matter is that he made at least two worthy films, one of which is Um Fa [The Longest Nite].

Um Fa feels almost like a stepping stone to Johnnie To's '00 successes. That's not even all that far-fetched if you consider To produced Yau's first feature film only one year earlier. At its core, Um Fa is a pretty simple Triad film, resulting in a game of cat and mouse between the police and a killer hired by the Triads. Tony Leung Chiu Wai takes on the role of stone cold cop, Ching Wan Lau is the ruthless killer.

Leung and Lau are excellent, but it's Yau's deliberate direction that stands out. A remarkable soundtrack and lots of visual prowess complement Yau's flair and make Um Fa a film to remember. All of this comes together in a kick-ass finale, where the stand-off between Leung and Lau reaches a more than satisfactory conclusion. It would take To a couple years longer to reach the quality of Um Fa's finale, which is saying something.

Tat-Chi Yau is one of the mysteries of Hong Kong cinema. If you're a fan of Johnnie To's 21st century films then I can wholeheartedly recommend Yau's films, Um Fa in particular. I'm not sure why his films haven't garnered a greater following or how I could've missed his films for so long, but I'm glad that wrong has been righted once and for all.

Loving You

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Wu Wei Shen Tan
Specifics
Hong Kong [1995] - 84m
Genre
Drama, Action, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Loving You poster

The Mad Monk

by Siu-Tung Ching, Johnnie To
Also known as
Chai Gong
Specifics
Hong Kong [1993] - 89m
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
The Mad Monk poster

Justice, My Foot

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Sam Sei Goon
Specifics
Hong Kong [1992] - 102m
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Action
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Justice, My Foot poster

The inoffensive

Election

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Hak Se Wui
Specifics
Hong Kong [2005] - 100m
Genre
Drama, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Election poster

1:99 Shorts

by Fruit Chan, Teddy Chan, Stephen Chow, Wai-Keung Lau, Joe Ma, Alan Mak, Johnnie To, Brian Tse, Hark Tsui, Ka-Fai Wai, Mabel Cheung, Alex Law, Dante Lam, Adam Wong, Peter Ho-Sun Chan, Gordon Chan
Specifics
Hong Kong [2003] - 70m
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Animation
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
1:99 Shorts poster

Commissioned anthology that was made to lift the spirit of Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic. The who's who of Hong Kong cinema participated, but the result is a little uneven. Not too surprising considering the exterior motives behind this anthology, and there are a couple of worthwhile entries, but overall it's probably best to lower your expectations when watching this.

Running on Karma

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Daai Zek Lou
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [2003] - 93m
Genre
Drama, Action, Thriller
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Running on Karma poster

Fat Choi Spirit

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Lik Goo Lik Goo San Nin Choi
Specifics
Hong Kong [2002] - 96m
Genre
Comedy, Romance
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Fat Choi Spirit poster

My Left Eye Sees Ghosts

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Ngo Joh Ngan Gin Do Gwai
Specifics
Hong Kong [2002] - 98m
Genre
Comedy, Romance, Horror, Family
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
My Left Eye Sees Ghosts poster

Love on a Diet

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Sau Sun Nam Nui
Specifics
Japan, Hong Kong [2001] - 94m
Genre
Comedy, Romance
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Love on a Diet poster

Wu Yen

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Chung Mo Yim
Specifics
Hong Kong [2001] - 123m
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Wu Yen poster

Running Out of Time 2

by Wing-Cheong Law, Johnnie To
Also known as
Aau Chin 2
Specifics
Hong Kong [2001] - 95m
Genre
Action, Crime
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Running Out of Time 2 poster

Needing You

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Goo Laam Gwa Lui
Specifics
Hong Kong [2000] - 101m
Genre
Comedy, Romance
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Needing You poster

The Mission

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Cheung Foh
Specifics
Hong Kong [1999] - 84m
Genre
Drama, Action, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
The Mission poster

Heroic Trio 2: Executioners

by Siu-Tung Ching, Johnnie To
Also known as
Xian Dai Hao Xia Zhuan
Specifics
Hong Kong [1993] - 101m
Genre
Comedy, Sci-fi, Action
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Heroic Trio 2: Executioners poster

Casino Raiders II

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Zhi Zu Wu Shang II Yong Ba Tian Xia
Specifics
Hong Kong [1993] - 91m
Genre
Drama, Action, Crime
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Casino Raiders II poster

The Barefoot Kid

by Johnnie To, Patrick Leung, Johnny Mak
Also known as
Chik Geuk Siu Ji
Specifics
Hong Kong [1993] - 90m
Genre
Drama, Action
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
The Barefoot Kid poster

Lucky Encounter

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Ti Dao Bao
Specifics
Hong Kong [1992] - 88m
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Lucky Encounter poster

Worthy but flawed

Don't Go Breaking My Heart 2

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Daan Gyun Naam Yu 2
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [2014] - 113m
Genre
Romance
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Don't Go Breaking My Heart 2 poster

A Moment of Romance III

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Tian Ruo You Qing III: Feng Huo Jia Ren
Specifics
Hong Kong [1996] - 95m
Genre
Romance, War
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
A Moment of Romance III poster

The Heroic Trio

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Dung Fong Saam Hap
Specifics
Hong Kong [1993] - 88m
Genre
Fantasy, Action
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
The Heroic Trio poster

The Royal Scoundrel

by Ki Yee Chik, Johnnie To
Also known as
Sha Tan-Zi yu Zhou Shih-Nai
Specifics
Hong Kong [1991] - 89m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
The Royal Scoundrel poster

The Fun, the Luck & the Tycoon

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Ji Xing Gong Zhao
Specifics
Hong Kong [1989] - 90m
Genre
Comedy, Romance
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
The Fun, the Luck & the Tycoon poster

Dubious filler

Love for All Seasons

by Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Also known as
Baak Nin Hiu Gap
Specifics
Hong Kong [2003] - 93m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Love for All Seasons poster

The Story of My Son

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Ai De Shi Jie
Specifics
Hong Kong [1990] - 75m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
The Story of My Son poster

All about Ah-Long

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Ah Long dik Goo Si
Specifics
Hong Kong [1989] - 95m
Genre
Drama
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
All about Ah-Long poster

The Enigmatic Case

by Yeung-Wah Kam, Johnnie To
Also known as
Bi Shui Han Shan Duo Ming Jin
Specifics
Hong Kong [1980] - 91m
Genre
Action, Mystery
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
The Enigmatic Case poster

Plain forgettable

Fireline

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Shi Wan Huo Ji
Specifics
Hong Kong [1997] - 108m
Genre
Action, Thriller
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Fireline poster

The Eighth Happiness

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Ba Xing Bao Xi
Specifics
Hong Kong [1988] - 91m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
The Eighth Happiness poster

Happy Ghost III

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Kai Xin Gui Zhuang Gui
Specifics
Hong Kong [1986] - 89m
Genre
Comedy, Fantasy, Crime
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Happy Ghost III poster

Big nopes

The Big Heat

by Yeung-Wah Kam, Johnnie To, Hark Tsui
Also known as
Seng Fat Dak Ging
Specifics
Hong Kong [1988] - 98m
Genre
Action, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
1.0*/5.0*
The Big Heat poster

Seven Years Itch

by Johnnie To
Also known as
Qi Nian Zhi Yang
Specifics
Hong Kong [1987] - 82m
Genre
Comedy, Drama
More info on
rating
1.0*/5.0*
Seven Years Itch poster