A gang of pickpockets roam the streets of Hong Kong.

Director:

Writers:

(as Chan Kin Chung), (as Fung Chih Chiang)
Reviews
1 win & 15 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

San taam (2007)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A rookie cop teams up with a former detective with a supernatural gift to hunt down a serial killer.

Directors: Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Stars: Ching Wan Lau, Andy On, Ka Tung Lam
Dyut meng gam (2011)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Three people - a criminal, a bank officer and a cop - end up in a catastrophic situation in the midst of a global economical crisis and are forced to betray any morals and principles to solve their financial problems.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Ching Wan Lau, Terence Yin, Felix Wong
Dai si gin (2004)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

When an ambulatory TV news unit live broadcasts the embarrassing defeat of a police battalion by five bank robbers in a ballistic showdown, the credibility of the police force drops to a ... See full summary »

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Richie Jen, Kelly Chen, Nick Cheung
Fuk sau (2009)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A French chef swears revenge after a violent attack on his daughter's family in Hong Kong, during which her husband and her two children are murdered. To help him find the killers, he hires three local hit-men working for the mafia.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Johnny Hallyday, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Simon Yam
PTU (2003)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

Over the course of one night, a team of cops frantically search for their colleague's missing gun.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Simon Yam, Suet Lam, Ruby Wong
Hak se wui (2005)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Rival gang leaders are locked in a struggle to become the new chairman of Hong Kong's Triad society.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Louis Koo, Suet Lam, Tony Ka Fai Leung
Fong juk (2006)
Action | Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A friendship is formed between an ex-gangster, and two groups of hitmen - those who want to protect him and those who were sent to kill him.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Nick Cheung, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Francis Ng
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Two very different hitmen find themselves to be in each other's way. They use all their skill to solve the problem.

Directors: Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Stars: Andy Lau, Takashi Sorimachi, Kelly Lin
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As election time nears, current Triad chairman Lok (Yam) faces competition from his godsons. At the same time, Jimmy (Koo) looks to increase his business relations with mainland China.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Louis Koo, Simon Yam, Nick Cheung
Man tam (2013)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A cop is forced into early retirement due to retinal damage. But after witnessing a bank robbery along with a female inspector - who believes he has acute senses - they team up in hope to solve the case.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Tao Guo
Daai zek lou (2003)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A monk turned body-builder, with the gift to see into people's lives, befriends a female cop, and uses his gift to change the force of Karma and her destiny.

Directors: Johnnie To, Ka-Fai Wai
Stars: Andy Lau, Cecilia Cheung, Siu-Fai Cheung
Cheung foh (1999)
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Triad boss Lung, who has just escaped being killed in an assassination, hires five killers for his protection. Their grown solidarity is under compulsion when Lung gives a special order.

Director: Johnnie To
Stars: Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Francis Ng, Jackie Chung-yin Lui
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Kei
...
Chung Chun Lei
...
Bo (as Lam Ka Tung)
Hoi-Pang Lo ...
Mr. Fu Kim-tong (as Lo Hoi Pang)
Wing-Cheong Law ...
Sak
Moon-Yuen Cheung ...
Mac (as Kenneth Cheung)
...
Lung (as Lam Suet)
Chun-Shun Lo ...
Mr. Fu's Henchman (as Lo Chun Shun)
Jonathan Yat-Sing Lee ...
Boy in Cap (as Jonathan Lee)
Jackson Ha ...
Mr. Fu's Bodyguard
Ka-kit Cheung ...
Mr. Fu's Bodyguard (as Jeff Cheung)
Wai Leung Hung ...
Policeman (as Hung Wai Leung)
Yee-Yee Yeung ...
(as Yeung Yee Yee)
Chiang Lo ...
Old Pickpocket (as Lo Hau Keung)
Chi Ping Chang ...
Old Pickpocket (as Cheung Chi Ping)
Edit

Storyline

A gang of pickpockets roam the streets of Hong Kong.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Free as a Bird...

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

19 June 2008 (Hong Kong)  »

Also Known As:

Sparrow  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The title, Man jeuk which means Sparrow in Cantonese, is a slang for pickpockets who are very good at what their job. See more »

Connections

Featured in Johnnie Got His Gun! (2010) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Playful and grand
19 October 2008 | by (http://www.onderhond.com/archive/onderhond/category/movies) – See all my reviews

Johnny To is quite a veteran, Sparrow being his 49th film already. But even though he has made quite a few films in the 80s and 90s, it's only recently that he got his international break. Before mostly known to Hong Kong action die-hards, both his Election films elevated him above his peers. And even after all that time, he still has quite a few surprises left in him.

I've been tracking To for some time now and even though he's made some fun films in the past, he really raised the bar after making the Election twins (and Exiled in between). Since then, he's been making films that are more than just simple genre works. With Sparrow, he goes beyond and delivers what might well be his best work to date.

It's difficult to explain the flow and feel of Sparrow. In some ways it feels a lot like classic cinema, but made with a classy smirk. The tone is light, the setting and characters elegant, the humor never feels out of place though it usually is. And beneath all that is a pretty smart play of cat and mouse, adding another layer or wit to the film.

Simon Yam is perfect in his role of elegant gang leader. He's an actor that's been around and really cut out for a job like this. His character is always in control, stylish and elegant. Behind him is a team of trainee pickpockets, learning the trade from the master. All is well until they are played in return by a lady, drawing them into a neat little showdown with a senior pickpocket artisan.

Visually the film is remarkably neat and clean. Every shot shows detail and consideration, the use of color is spot on and the film features some awesome shots of Hong Kong (showing quite a few sites reminiscent of the Ghost In The Shell cityscapes). In between To even finds time for several playful tricks reminiscent of Kar-Wai's In The Mood For Love. To shows himself a master of visual storytelling, which is needed as the film itself features little dialog.

Even more remarkable is the soundtrack. A combination of classic Chinese music and jazz, quite upbeat and always playfully out of place. It gives the film its flow and gives many scenes and extra quirky dimension. Even though the story itself could allow for some tense scenes, the soundtrack never allows this to happen. Not a soundtrack that'd work outside the film (at least for me), but crucial to the fun and pleasantly different.

It takes about 5 minutes to get into the film, it takes about 70 to get hooked. But its those 5 final minutes, bringing a climax that will make this film remembered by all those who've seen it. The finale of the film is really out there, showing nothing but visual poetry and umbrella action. It's an amazing scene drawing a lot from classic western stand-offs, but given a whole new dimension. I've watched the scene a couple of times over since, and just about everything is perfect (it's even said To hired dance choreographers to get the whole flow of the scene right).

Hardcore To fans might find themselves on shaky grounds with Sparrow when they are expecting another gritty action adventure, but all those with a love for cinema should at least try this film. 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. And to top it all, it boasts one of the most stunning finales ever seen in film. Sparrow's getting a well-deserved 4.5*/5.0* and I can only hope To's box of tricks isn't emptied yet.


10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?