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Film / A War Named Desire

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Anyone who saw more than 5 John Woo films would know what kind of movie this is.

A War Named Desire is a 2000 Hong Kong action drama starring Francis Ng, Daniel Chan and Gigi Leung. The movie itself is a Genre Throwback to older John Woo movies, particularly those of the 80s, with themes of brotherhood, bloodshed, and plenty of drama developing its main characters.

The Fong brothers, Charles Fong (Francis Ng) and James Fong (Daniel Chan) are raised by their grandmother after their parents' deaths, but when they were eight, Charles ran away from home and was never seen again. James despises his brother for leaving him, but life goes on anyway until decades later, after his grandmother's passing, James finds out Charles is now in Bangkok working as a hitman and assassin.


This film contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Gigi Leung’s Snow, a deadshot with her pistol who can kick plenty of ass on her own.
  • Ambiguous Situation: By the end of the movie, whether James dies from his injuries or not, and what will happen to Charles and James from then on, is never made clear. The last time audience sees them, they are Driving off into the sunset and then the film ends.
  • Anyone Can Die: Most of the named characters fail to outlive the credits. Charles survives for sure, but James on the other hand...
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Snow and Charles, in a nightclub full of mooks trying to kill them. They leave the place unscathed with a dozen bodies left behind.
  • Blood Is the New Black: James and Charles in the ending, after the vehicle chase.
  • Conspicuously Public Assassination: Snow’s assassination of Henry takes place in the middle of Bangkok’s Songkran Festival, in the midst of a massive parade where she stabs him from up close. It helps that she’s wearing the same attire as Thai local ladies and have an umbrella obscuring her hands when she stabbed him.
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  • Dance of Romance: Between Snow and Charles, in an empty nightclub which have closed down, both of them occupying the whole place. They are so absorbed in their dance that they don’t rrealize the team of hitmen being deployed to kill them approaching from every corner… or so it seems. Turns out they already anticipated the sneak attack beforehand, and quickly whips out guns mid-dance.
  • Guns Akimbo: Charles in the final shootout / car chase, firing two pistols out of the sides of his vehicle at pursuing mooks, while driving.
  • Handicapped Badass: York, who can take on mooks while being confined to a wheelchair, by shooting enemies with a gun on one hand while using another to steer his wheelchair.
  • Taking You with Me: York, anticipating that he will not have long to live, actually props a propane tank behind his wheelchair while enemy hitmen are coming after him. As he gets surrounded by mooks, York then fires a single shot through himself, into the propane tank leading to a massive explosion with him in the center which kills all the remaining hitmen.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Snow, who takes the bullet meant for Charles, during the parade scene.
  • How We Got Here: The movie opens with Charles, driving a truck with a bloodied James in the passenger seat, before flashing back to what leads to their situation a few weeks ago.
  • Mercy Kill: After her Heroic Sacrifice scene, Snow, who is suffering from blood loss and in Charles’ arms, needs to be finished off by Charles putting one more bullet in her.
  • Plucky Girl: James’ girlfriend Jess, a happy-go-lucky, cheerful Manic Pixie Dream Girl who spends most of the movie laughing, trying to making James happy and cheering him up at the prospect of meeting his long-lost brother.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The scene where Charles, during a restaurant meeting with multiple gang bosses, suddenly whips out his pistols and firing rapidly into the dinner table is lifted directly from A Better Tomorrow. Although unlike Mark Gor, he didn’t kill anyone, merely shooting at the bottles and plates as a sign of intimidation.
    • Henry’s assassination is based on Emilio Rebenga’s assassination in Scarface (1983), down to the part where the victim gets stabbed through the gut, the audience seeing a close-up on the victim’s face, and the victim slowly staggering through the crowded streets holding their stomach before collapsing in public. The main difference is that in this movie the murder takes place during a parade, not a riot.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Charles and James are brothers raised by their grandmother, but Charles runs away from home when he was eight without James knowing. They do not reunite until decades later, when both of them are adults.
  • White Shirt of Death: On Charles in the final scene. He wears a white tuxedo and shirt, which gets plenty of red when he’s shot. Subverted that he’s still alive in the final scene.