Director: Wai Ka Fai
Writer: Chow Yun-Fat
Producer: John Woo
Composer: Cagne Wong
Stars: Chow Yun-Fat, Cecilia Yip, Lawrence Ng
A man (Chow) takes revenge on the gang who raped and (supposedly) killed his wife. His viciousness and disregard for life earn him the nickname "The Killer." After wiping out the gang, The Killer has a change of heart and turns the inn where he killed the last of the gang into a haven for fugitives known as the Peace Hotel. All goes well for ten years until a mysterious woman (Yip) shows up and says she's The Killer's long-lost wife. She fools the hotel's residents, but The Killer knows something is up. Eventually, the truth comes out when a local gang leader (Ng) comes looking for his "property." The gang gives The Killer a week to decide between the girl and his hotel before unleashing an attack. Will The Killer save the girl or his haven?
A lot of people were expecting Peace Hotel to be The Killer set in the Chinese Old West, especially with it being Chow's last HK movie before moving to America and John Woo producing. While there are Woo-like touches (like slow-motion), in actuality Peace Hotel comes closer to the "spaghetti westerns" made in Italy during the 60's and '70's (such as Django and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly) than the heroic bloodshed of the '80's; in fact some people have gone so far as to term this movie a "ramen western." As such, it may put off those looking for the typical Chow Yun-Fat action movie with a constant flow of violence. Not to say there isn't a good deal of gunplay in Peace Hotel, but it's not as over-the-top as many other HK movies.
The emphasis in Peace Hotel is the relationship between the characters, most notably between Chow and Yip. Both turn in great performances, but Chow's in particular really stands out, especially when compared to his later US films. He communicates more with a simple look than the overwrought speeches in The Corruptor could ever hope to. When you combine the performances with great cinematography, a outstanding soundtrack and a strong script that features a ending that may truly surprise many viewers, Peace Hotel is a great new take on a classic genre.
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