Can we talk about that scene? Francis Ng in Line Walker
'Can we talk about that scene?' is a periodic instalment where memorable scenes are discussed. Given the nature of these pieces, we will be entering major spoiler territory and the film(s) in question will be stated upfront. For additional entries, please click here.
SPOILER ALERT for Line Walker (2006) and 2000 AD (2000).
Let me preface this article by saying that Francis Ng is one of my favourite actors of all time. I like this guy so much that I've already forgiven him for ruining my memory of Triumph in the Skies by signing up for its sequel. And then ruining it some more by signing up for the unfortunate 2015 film iteration. Everyone's got to make a living, and as bad as the sequel and movie were, Francis Ng was not part of the problem.
So moving on, can we talk about that scene in Line Walker? Yes, the death scene that throws back (I'm assuming intentionally) to a similar scene at the end of 2000 AD. This might sound like a bit of an obscure association, but considering that Francis Ng picked up a few awards for his role in that movie, I doubt I'm the only person to make the association. His mid-dialogue death scene in 2000 AD is the only reason I have a strong recollection of the movie, and although not identical and certainly not nearly as effective, Line Walker knocks on the memory bank with something very similar. And what was most striking about this scene was that it came out of no where. The movie surpassed my own personal expectations, but was certainly not amazing in any way and I definitely wasn't expecting a nice homage like this. And to be completely frank, it was just nice seeing Francis Ng die like that on screen. A bit morbid, I know, but stated with complete honesty.
Throw backs are always nice in cinema, and when it happens in Hong Kong cinema it's particularly potent. I can't remember another instance where an actor paid tribute to one of their previous death scenes in a subsequent movie, so this is pretty awesome. And it's true that I might be reading into this more deeply than intended, but I'm okay with that even if it were the case. I'm also more inclined to believe that this was the work of Francis Ng himself, as a nice nod to those who appreciate his consistently nuanced method of acting.
**unfortunately, I couldn't find a decent quality picture of Francis Ng in 2000 AD**