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"Flip for it."
If "Election" and "Triad Election" were Johnny To‘s succinct Hong Kong slant on the "Godfather" trilogy, "Exiled" is his luxuriant, entertaining Sergio Leone riff, set in a 1998 Macau preparing for its handover back to the PRC. Years ago, Wo (Nick Cheung) tried to assassinate Triad boss Fay (Simon Yam) and was forced to flee when he failed. His return draws four of his old colleagues out, two, Blaze (Anthony Wong) and Fat (Lam Suet), arriving with the orders to kill him, and two, Tai (Francis Ng) and Cat (Roy Cheung), hoping to protect him. There seems to be more backstory than that, but you get what you can from quick exchanges between gunfire — "Exiled" is a film content to leave its characters’ motivations to be inferred while keeping its outrageous gun battles fully articulated in slow-mo and blood that explodes like bursts of powder into the air. The first unfolds before we have any chance to figure out what’s going on — four hitmen gathering in a courtyard outside of Wo’s house, exchanging silent acknowledgments and glowering through sunglasses before leaping into a skirmish that kicks doors up through the air but leaves everyone, miraculously, unhurt. The revelation that Wo now has a wife and child gives everyone pause, and while they figure out what to do, the five move furniture into the house, have a raucous dinner and reminisce about when they were all young gangsters together. Wo has to die, it’s decided, but before he does perhaps they can do one last job to get him some money to leave his wife and child.

As in last year’s "Triad Election," the shadow of China looms over "Exiled" with a "party’s over" vibe. To’s gangsters, laconic in suits and cigarettes, have triangle standoffs, shootouts in restaurants and a chance at stealing, of all things, gold, but they’re fast running out of wild west to revel in, and when they find themselves having to flee town, they decide on a direction with a coin toss — it doesn’t really matter.

After the ruthlessness with which the "Triad" films demolished the mythology of brotherhood amongst criminals, the genuine, goofy allegiance and fondness "Exiled"’s hitmen have for each other is welcome, if shot through with melancholy. The weary criminals aren’t the only ones indulging in nostalgia — the whole film evinces a wistfulness for the type of melodramatic, bombastic shoot ’em up John Woo put on the map, in which loyalty and honor were loyalty and honor, and a man could jump through the air shooting two guns in slow motion without provoking snickers or eye rolls. The gun battles are the best part of To’s film, which, despite its refreshingly tender treatment of male friendship, seems attenuated otherwise, the pensive final chapter of some longer epic that was never made. When the bullets fly, though, it’s riveting and just as often funny, To adding enough winking touches (a doctor struggling to sew up one man’s groin wound as he shoots at targets through a window, a get-away vehicle that has to be pushed to a start, "Little Miss Sunshine" style) to chase away the ghosts of Hong Kong action films past.

"Exiled" opens in New York on August 31st.

+ "Exiled" (Magnolia)

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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