One of the knocks against Hong Kong art-house film director Wong Kar-Wai is that he often throws in enough plot for three or four movies, not just one.

Who knows if he took that criticism to heart when making the wild, New Wave noir thriller-dark comedy "Fallen Angels"? But the film is a companion piece (if not an outright sequel) to his most acclaimed work, 1994's "Chungking Express," and one of its prominent plot threads was originally intended to be part of the earlier movie.

Yet, to its credit, "Fallen Angels" doesn't feel like cinematic leftovers. Instead, it has a life of its own, thanks to Wong's over-the-top blend of John Woo-like violence and almost surreal humor.

The first half of the movie follows Wong Chi-Ming (Leon Lai, from "Comrades, Almost a Love Story"), a hitman who's trying to get out of the business. However, his partner, known only as the Agent (Michele Reis), isn't keen on letting him go.

In fact, the Agent is deeply in love with her partner, and sneaks into his apartment to clean it while he's away on "business."

Things only get wilder from there, as the filmmaker shifts his focus to He Zhiwu (Takeshi Kaneshiro), a young mute who breaks into other people's businesses and operates them after hours.

As you can tell, the two storylines seem unrelated, but Wong ties them up neatly with a somewhat unexpected twist at the end.

Admittedly, Wong's kinetic visual style (done with acclaimed cinematographer Christopher Doyle) can be a distraction or a complete turn-off. But it seems entirely appropriate with the tone of the material here.

Wong also benefits from having cast charismatic leads. Lai sends up Chow Yun-Fat's "cool killer" routine with his performance, while Kaneshiro manages to make his character sympathetic — despite the fact that he is such a loon.

"Fallen Angels" is not rated but would certainly receive at least an R for violent gunplay, gore, vulgar gags and references, sex, profanity, glimpses of nude artwork and use of a couple of racial epithets.