THE HANDCUFF is a surprisingly decent kung fu film, directed by popular Hong Kong personality Wu Ma, who's well known to this viewer for playing the funny old guy in many a film over the last thirty to forty years. This film tells the true story of Chen Hui Man, a real-life gangster who had enough of his life of violence and decided to quit the mob and move to Europe, only to discover that leaving the organisation isn't as easy as all that.
The film has a modern setting and a stern lead actor in Chan Wai-Man, a guy usually cast as the bad guy in the movies due to his hard face. As such, I didn't find Wai-Man's character to be particularly sympathetic in this film - he's far too rough and tough for that - but he's an energetic screen presence who convinces in his action scenes. A surprising number of familiar faces show up in support too, from Nora Miao to Philip Chan, and Lo Lieh as the inevitable 'guest villain'.
THE HANDCUFF has a rather slow first half which is filled with talk and undistinguished action; not bad, but distinctly average. However, things definitely pick up as the running time goes on, with an incredibly shot bust up in a gym which is the film's undoubted highlight. After that we get chases, rooftop showdowns, and a gripping climax, so it turns out pretty good in the end.
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