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Film / Accident

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Accident (originally titled Assassins) is a 2009 Hong Kong action thriller film directed by Soi Cheang, produced by Johnnie To and starring Louis Koo, and Richie Jen.

A self-styled “accident choreographer,” the Brain is a professional hitman who kills his victims by trapping them in well crafted “accidents” that look like unfortunate mishaps but are in fact perfectly staged acts of crime. Perennially plagued with guilt, he is also suspicious and morbid by nature. The recent avalanche of memories of his lost wife does not make things any easier.

After one mission accidentally goes wrong, causing the life of one of his men, the Brain is convinced that this accident has been choreographed: someone is out there plotting to terminate him and his team. He becomes increasingly paranoid, walking on the thin line between reality and delusion.


When he is accosted by a mysterious insurance agent Fong who happened to be on the scene of the “accident” as well, the Brain becomes obsessed that this man must be the mastermind behind a conspiracy to take him out. To regain his sanity and to safe his life, he must strive to kill Fong before he makes his next move.

Accident contains examples of:

  • Accident, Not Murder: The Brain is an an "accident choreographer" who specializes in killing people by arranging freak "accidents". During one his assignments, something goes wrong an actual freak accident results in one of his men being run over by a bus. The circumstances of this accident are so similar to the ones he arranges that the Brain becomes convinced that this was a deliberate attack aimed at him. His obsession drives him into paranoia, but as the viewer learns there never was a conspiracy, this really was just a freak accident.
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  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: When the Triad boss is killed by falling glass, his blood pools on the sidewalk and spills into the water in the gutter.
  • Convenient Eclipse: An eclipse prevents the Brain's plan for killing Fong (which relies on reflected sunlight) from working. When the eclipse ends, the sun comes out and the plan triggers, killing Fong's wife.
  • Dead Man Honking: The opening credits end with the car crash that kills the Brain's wife. She is shown smashing through the windscreen, followed by a prolonged blaring off the horn.
  • Driven to Suicide: The pawnbroker's son throws himself off the roof of the insurance building: presumably because of a combination of guilt at having ordered his father's death, and the possibility that he might not receive the insurance payout.
  • Forgetful Jones; Unknown to the rest of his team, Uncle has a medical condition that is causing him to lose his memory. This ultimately has tragic consequences.
  • Grave-Marking Scene: The Brain visits the road near the airport where his wife died in a car crash.
  • High-Voltage Death: The pawnbroker is electrocuted when the crew drape a wet kite string over a tram cable and on to his wheelchair during a rainstorm.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Two of the Brain's gang are known only by their nicknames: Fatty and Uncle. The third member is a case of No Name Given. (The Brain, however, does have a real name: Ho Kwok-fai).
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: This movie is about a group of assassins who specialize on creating very cunning circumstances that lead to a target's death.
  • Necro Non Sequitur: The film is about a gang of Professional Killers who specialise in creating these. The murders are assumed to be accidents because the circumstances are so unlikely it doesn't seem feasible that anyone could have orchestrated them.
  • No Name Given: The female member of the gang is never addressed by name (or nickname). In the credits, she is referred to as 'the Woman'.
  • One-Word Title
  • Planning with Props: When planning how to murder the pawnbroker and make it look like an accident, the gang constructs a detailed model of the block where his shop is located, using props including dice, cigarette packets, masking tape, etc.
  • Posthumous Character: The Brain's wife is dead at the start of the film. In fact, the first scene shows the accident that caused her death.
  • Professional Killer: The Brain leads a crew of professional killers who specialize in killing their victims using elaborate schemes that mask the murders as if they were accidents.
  • Roadside Wave: Several pedestrians get soaked when the Triad boss pulls over to the side of the road; driving through the water the water Brain's crew have spilled on the road as part of the plan.
  • Room Full of Crazy: As the Brain's sanity slips, he starts detailing the connections of his conspiracy theory—interspersed with pages from his notebook—on the walls of a room in the flat he is renting below Fong's.
  • Rube Goldberg Hates Your Guts: The Professional Killers specialise in engineering deaths like this so they look like improbable accidents; although the team are always on site to ensure that each step goes off without a hitch. The murder the Brain engineers solo at the end of the film is even more like this, as he is acting on his own and several of the steps are things that could not have occurred by accident.
  • Sanity Slippage: Following Fatty's death (which he is convinced was aimed at him), the Brain begins a rapid descent into paranoia: seeing conspiracy at every turn.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Ho Kwok-fai is known as 'The Brain', and whenever anyone refers to him by his nickname, it always includes the definite article.
  • Tragic Keepsake: The Brain treasures the shattered wristwatch his wife was wearing when she died in a car crash. When his safe is robbed, he thinks the thieves deliberately left the watch behind as a taunt at him. They actually just did not consider it worth taking.


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