To Wong, love isn't something you can talk about; words are inadequate, empty, inevitably reductive. Love is something you see, sense, feel, and Chungking Express is one of Wong's purest evocations of its excitement and heartbreak.
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Overall, Wong’s movie doesn’t leave as big a wash behind it as the more ambitious “Days” and his “Mean Streets”-like debut, “As Tears Go By,” but it’s an enjoyable cruise.
ReelViews by James Berardinelli
Wong infuses his films with style and energy. His hand-held camera is restless, always moving and shifting. The action sequences are punctuated with unusual shots and stop-motion jumps. By filming Chungking Express in such rich, vibrant manner, the director uses visual images to underscore his themes.
The New York Times by Janet Maslin
While its slender, two-tiered plot links love affairs that happen largely by accident, the film's real interest seems to lie in raffish affectation. Mr. Wong has legitimate visual flair, but his characters spend an awful lot of time playing impish tricks.
Los Angeles Times by Kevin Thomas
Chungking Express ravishingly, seductively exudes the immediacy of everyday life as its spins its classically timeless tales of love lost and almost regained.
Chicago Tribune by Michael Wilmington
Chungking Express is a breezy little Hong Kong movie that has more life, energy, humanity and sheer visual zing than most other shows you'll see in a month or so. And, an hour after watching it, you may indeed be hungry for more. Not necessarily because the show is shallow or unsatisfying, or doesn't leave a strong impression, but because the spontaneity and high energy of it is what's so much fun.
San Francisco Chronicle by Mick LaSalle
For all Wong's energy and virtuosity, the relentless stylishness and whimsicality of Chungking Express become irritating. The cast is appealing -- particularly the forlorn young cops. But the velocity of Wong's attack seems out of proportion to the airy, lightweight quality of the stories.
Chicago Sun-Times by Roger Ebert
This is the kind of movie you'll relate to if you love film itself, rather than its surface aspects such as story and stars. It's not a movie for casual audiences, and it may not reveal all its secrets the first time through, but it announces Wong Kar-Wai, its Hong Kong-based director, as a filmmaker in the tradition of Jean-Luc Godard.
San Francisco Examiner by Walter Addiego
This is filmmaking of high energy and wit. What it adds up to is debatable. You can view it as a bright twist on the being-a-cop-is-lonely sort of police picture, or as a mini-anthology of quirky not-quite-love stories. If it's hard to say where Chungking Express arrives, the trip is still exhilarating.
Unlike Wong Kar-Wai's "Happy Together," which has an unflinching camera and features moments that are as moving as they are difficult to watch, Chungking Express is immediately more familiar as a film, with an everyman protagonist and a mysterious woman donning a blonde wig, trench coat and sunglasses. The audience is drawn in through intrigue rather than exposition. But this film is anything but unoriginal, and the audience is treated to eccentric delights of human nature. Although heartbreak remains the linking through line, the second story is more joyful than it first seems.
Chungking Express is one of the few films that can make me laugh as much as it makes me cry. Moments of lighthearted humor find their way ever so naturally into this nostalgic, rhythmic, and colorful portrayal of 1990s Hong Kong and its people for whom the daily struggle is coping with loneliness and a burning desire for connection. Wong Kar Wai's iconic cinematography and editing shine in this masterpiece, creating a unique and unforgettable viewing experience.
The characters in "Chungking Express" don’t seem to know who they are. They wander around as loose individuals without families or homes, struggling with heartbreak and desperate for lovers they can never have. All in all, this film is ridiculously beautiful, haunting and surprisingly funny. It's one of my all-time favorites.