When three close friends escape from Hong Kong to war-time Saigon to start a criminal's life, they all go through a harrowing experience which totally shatters their lives and their friendship forever.
A near retired inspector and his unit are willing to put down a crime boss at all costs while dealing with a replacement inspector who is getting in their way. Meanwhile, the crime boss plots a killing spree on them.
In this prequel to Mou gaan dou (2002), Chan Wing Yan has just become an undercover cop in the triads while Lau Kin Ming joins the police force. Both the triads and the police find an enemy in a rival crime boss.
Anthony Wong Chau-Sang
In 1967, on the way to the wedding of a friend a young man is accosted by a local gang member. Later, the three friends administer justice, in the process of which the gang member is killed, so they leave Hong Kong to avoid the police and the gang. They run black market supplies to Saigon and get embroiled in the war, being arrested as Viet Cong, then later captured by the Viet Cong, and find that their friendship is tested to the limits as they try to escape. Written by
Ed Sutton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Like Woo's previous film, The Killer (1989), this did not do well in Hong Kong because audiences didn't like the allusions to the Tienamen Square massacre during the riot scenes. Woo was deeply affected by the massacre and felt badly that he touched such a raw nerve in people, but at the same time he felt the Chinese people should react and not hide from it. See more »
When the action moves to Vietnam the movie posters ('Dien Bien Phu', etc.) shown are films that came out well after the Vietnam war was over. See more »
[pointing a gun at Paul]
You shot Frank, now I'll shoot you! But since you're my friend, I'll fire a lethal shot!
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In 1989, John Woo made a film that would simultaneously redefine and reinvent the action genre forever. The film I speak of is, of course, The Killer. Blending a touching storyline with exuberant gunfights, The Killer worked through excess and it was an absolute delight to be behold. It's hard to follow up on something like that, and for his next A-class feature; Bullet in the Head, John Woo wasn't quite able to recreate that what he did so incredibly well a year earlier. However, what he has created is still an excellent thrill ride and one that fans of The Killer wont want to miss! Woo is keen to keep that gang element from The Killer, except this time he fuses it was action from the Vietnam war, and as the story spans across many different locations, it can aptly be considered an epic. We follow the stories of three young men who leave Hong Kong after two of them kill another gang member. They decide to become smugglers and take advantage of the Vietnam War, but little did they know that they would end up in the thick of it.
The film takes obvious influence from the classic Vietnam war dramas such as 'The Deer Hunter' and 'Platoon', but through Woo's stylising, it takes on a life of it's own and stands apart from those films that influenced it. Woo is known for going over the top, and seeing three men in suits in the middle of the Vietnam war is over the top alright! However, also going over the top is the sentiment and I don't know if it's just the way that Chinese translates into English or what, but this film is definitely cheesy! The sentiment boded well in The Killer, but here it definitely doesn't and the film would be a lot better if the amount of sentiment was more realistic. The sentiment messes up the characters as well as the film too, as seeing one or more of them break into great long speeches undermines the fact that they're supposed to be criminals. However, all this doesn't matter once you get into the gun battles; which are incredible to say the least. If it wasn't for the sentiment, it would have been a complete whole; but it's still a damn good movie regardless.
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