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  • Mr. Long (Chen Chang) is a highly successful knife assassin working for a Taiwanese crime boss. A job in Japan goes sideways and he's forced to hide in the slums of the city to avoid capture by his would-be targets, psychotic criminals in their own right.

    And from that we get one of the weirdest examples of the fact that it's not always a bad thing to straddle genre lines. Because this film goes from a straightforward Asian action blast to a nihilist drug drama to a sappy romantic comedy, and then all back again. And yes, it is jarring from time to time, but it's meant to be. Life goes from incredibly sappy to gut-wrenching sadness, and sometimes it does so with no warning whatsoever.

    It also helps to have such a crew behind this genre hopping. SABU, the director, has a reputation as a storyteller of the bizarre, this film being a fine example of that. Chen Chang also shines as the silent main protagonist. Long is a man of few words, but this merely enhances his performance, affording him an aura of mystery, danger and solution.

    Is the film for everyone? No, it's not. Is it a bit artsy? Kinda. Is it really good? Absolutely.
  • As I was looking through the comments of this fantastic film I came across a comment which stated "Mr. Long" as being "John Wick" if directed by Kore-eda, to which I couldn't agree more! but then I realized this wasn't being stated as a complement, but it should, because it's exactly what this is in the best possible way.

    I was hooked from the moment I read the synopsys, a trained assassin ready to leave his life behind and start over after a job gone wrong, but this was SO much more than I could ever expect, when this film needs to be ruthless it is without a shed of mercy, but when it needs to be tender, it is with all it's kindness, this is above all else a study on human emotion, whether it's rage or compassion, it's done with so many care you can't help but feel deeply connected to every single character, and you can feel that everyone envolved is giving everything they have.

    The acting is suberb, for a film with minimal dialogue the acting team does a wonderful job at delivering every string of emotion to the screen, Mr. Long himself who doesn't speak a word of japanese spends most of the film completly mute and serious but you can still feel everything he's feeling, giving special props to the ending that gave these intense goosebumps.

    Usually I don't like writing reviews for films liked as much as I did this one because I don't feel I can do them justice, or I can say anything that hasn't been said already, but I can't help but write one for "Mr. Long" because I feel it doesn't get enough praise as it should, it's a project filled with dedication and love, the director obviously thought about even the tiny details, small things you might not get at first but will definitly hit you days after you've seen this because trust me it's a film you will be thinking about days, if not weeks down the road, it doesn't go without it's flaws obviously, but it's damned worth it, if you're in the fence about watching this don't be, you will not waste your time!
  • I was lucky to catch this film at Berlinale Film Festival and when the film ended, there was a sudden eruption of applause that went on for about a minute. Half the crowd stayed behind until the credits rolled and again another round of applause when the final curtain came down. It was THAT good.

    The film was shocking at times of the brutality, heart warming, some really laugh-out loud moments mixed with gut wrenching sadness. All 3 leads playing Long, Jun and Lily were excellent in their portrayal of the characters and you do feel for each of their struggles.

    When a movie really touches you it stays in your mind and I'm still thinking about the film even now after I saw the movie several days ago.
  • dragoslt10 January 2019
    9/10
    Great
    SABU is one of the most fearless and creative filmmakers these days. Most of his movies were comedies and this one is a bit more serious but his style is just as evident. Definitely of the most inspiring and emotional movies I have seen in a while. Absolutely recommended.
  • kluseba12 August 2019
    Let's address the elephant in the room right away. Mr. Long is much too long for its own good, exaggeratedly plodding and frankly tedious throughout about two thirds of its running time. And yet, the opening twenty minutes and closing twenty minutes, the excellent actresses and actors and the unusual genre mixture make this movie still watchable. Sabu's greatest movie so far was intellectual horror movie Miss Zombie which was equally artistic, emotional and quiet as Mr. Long but the main difference was that Miss Zombie is only eighty-five minutes long while Mr. Long has a whopping running time of one hundred twenty-nine minutes. Less would have been so much more and if Mr. Long had been forty-five minutes shorter than it turns out to be, it would have deserved at least two extra points in the final rating.

    Let's introduce the interesting plot. Our silent titular anti-hero is a professional Taiwanese hitman who is particularly handy with knives. He stabs six thugs in the first five minutes alone. He is then sent on a mission abroad in Japan which goes terribly wrong. He has to go into hiding and ends up in a filthy and poor neighbourhood. What started as an action-thriller now turns into an intellectual drama. The protagonist is nursed back to health by a young boy whose mother is a drug addict. The hitman feels obliged to help the boy but soon starts to befriend him and ultimately becomes his father figure. He cooks for him, helps his drug addict mother to come clean and even gives him baseball lessons. The neighbourhood also starts to accept, befriend and support the quiet stranger as people discover the hitman's talent as a cook. They help him start his own business with a food stand and the quiet anti-hero accepts in order to amass enough money to return to Taiwan before the thug he tried to kill might come back for revenge. The movie works like a circle in that regard as the final twenty minutes are as intense as the opening twenty minutes.

    The greatest element about the movie are the stunning characters and the brilliant actresses and actors who play them. Chang Chen barely speaks in the movie and looks cool, indifferent and tough but he occasionally shows his affection for others in heart-warming ways. Yao Yi Ti plays a drug-addicted hooker who manages to turn her life around in an impressive way. Her character is emotionally fragile, meandering between timid joy and profound despair. One can't help but root for the unlucky outsider. The greatest performance however comes from child actor Bai Run-yin who is the element that links the other two protagonists. He plays a quiet child desiring to help his sick mother and the mysterious stranger in a selfless way. There are few films that include such a good-hearted, likable and pure character.

    There are numerous little details that rate this movie up. The two main action scenes are quite iconic and make think of South Korean masterpiece Oldboy with the difference that a knife takes the place of a hammer. The camera work is calm and precise which is a rare treat in contemporary cinema. The locations are authentic and diverisfied. The soundtrack blends in perfectly and accentuates the emotivity of the different scenes. The movie avoids using flashy special effects which gives the movie a particularly realistic touch not a far cry from a documentary.

    In the end, Mr. Long includes enough positive elements with outstanding actresses and actors portraying fascinating characters in a genre-bending plot to be watched at least once. The overlong story, slow pace and at times pointless slice of life elements prevent a good idea from coming to full fruition. Fans of action films should rather stay away as Mr. Long is rather a profound drama with some sudden brutal outbursts.
  • This movie reminded me this quote from Apocalypse Now - and it is an excellent point!

    Quickly labelled as an action movie - and despite really nicely made scenes, this is absolutely not an action movie. SABU twists genre movie and manages to create an art piece that can relate to other Japanese feats, like some of Kitano's movies. The start as genre movie and the violence inherent of that world and of the first 20 minutes is not free violence but necessary to act as a counterpart of the main part of the movie: the meeting of that lone wolf with humans, with solidarity and how it changes him, how he is actually enjoying such a life.

    Of course we can feel a lot of influences, in the choregraphy of action scenes - worthy of asian action movies, in the burlesque comedy (Kikurijo), in the relationship between a child and a killer (Léon). But SABU really proposes a movie on his own, mixing tragic, harsh realities with beautiful moments and does not forget to show hope and good in the heart of men.

    A great piece, go for it!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    About 6.5 for me, round it up to 7.

    First off. This isn't really an action film. The whole action sequence probably only lasted for like 5 to 10 minutes. So if you are in solely for the bloodshed, combat and violence then you would probably find this film to be long and boring.

    This movie takes its time to develop its characters, especially the protagonist. It is a story that shows the human side of an otherwise professional assassin.

    There are a few aspects of this movie that could have been improved on. A few of the scenes dragged on for too long, mainly the starting scene with the bunch of guys talking and the 'acting competition?'. The other issue was the soundtrack which I felt was a bit off during the chase and during some of the combat scenes. A smaller issue was that the ending felt rushed but I had no complaints there as the bulk of the movie was invested in character connections.

    It is a heart wrenching and heart warming movie at the same time. Definitely not just your typical action flick. Would have been closer to a masterpiece if there was an even heavier focus on protagonist's personal growth on top of his daily casual interactions with the locals, but that's probably asking too much.

    Some compare this to John Wick but to me, while their motives may be somewhat similar, John Wick focuses more on the action side of things while Mr.Long on the character itself. As such, I found that this movie offers more depth compared to John Wick.

    Definitely worth a watch and deserves more recognition.
  • This movie is nothing but a long string of cliches, gangster movie cliches, feel-good movie cliches, etc. This may sound interesting, but as the movie isn't doing anything with these cliches other than - most likely unintentionally - being made up of them, it's not.