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my top 5 all-time gangster flick all-time and from any country
i see that there is only one mediocre review and the rest were all good, so most people understood the story and what it was trying to say. the mediocre review came from an American who read only positive reviews for it, got hyped, went out and bought the DVD and then felt the only good thing about the movie was the final shoot-out. well...,he's partially right as the final shoot-out is awesome and serious fans of international gangster movies know about the shoot-out. the guy obviously has not watched a lot of movies or he would have also mentioned the helicopter scene that was ripped off in " the godfather 3 ".
if the movie were to be made here in America even at that time it would have costed between 10-15 million to make probably and johnny mak was able to make a great movie that stands the test of time for under one million. we in America get the best in every department and the most budget to make movies with. we make mediorce movies with no original ideas and then our citizens mock other countries motion picture gems!huh...go figure that out!
all-right...i'm done ranting, more about the movie. this movie was actually the first new wave gangster movie to come out of hong kong, a couple of years before john woo's " a better tomorrow ". it is based loosely on fact because during the 80's in hong kong the most ruthless gangsters were in fact the ones that snuck over the border from mainland china, did their crime and if they were smart got the hell out of there pronto. the movie is very bleak because its trying to show the mindset of the ruthless mainland criminals. life was pretty hard back then in mainland china, if you made 200 dollars us a month you had it pretty good. in the opening shots of the film showing guangchow city...well it really was like that. i've been to china multiple times in the 2000's and a lot of china still looks like that. the common people are very poor, there is no middle class. the reason the mainlanders went to hong kong to commit crimes was that it was easier, there were more targets and there was no death penalty, where-as in china they put you in front of a firing squad right away.
i don't condone robbing and killing if necessary as a way for your family to improve its lot in life but i can picture somebody doing it out of desperation. people get sick of being poor with no way out, how would you feel if a loved one was dying and you can't afford the medicine, or not being able to put enough food on the table?
so, the mainlanders go to hong kong and usually rob jewelry stores and banks. they were better criminals then the natives because they were ex- military and they were desperate. many of them wound up getting used by the local criminal elements.
they were so sick of being poor that they would put up their lives as collateral to the devil.
well...the crew make it to hong kong minus one member and something goes wrong right away. they were suppose to be on a planned timetable and nothing seems to work out. they get set up by the local criminal element that they are involved with and mayhem just follows and erupts.
i know that there were not any famous actors in the movie except for Lin Wei and none of the production was top notch and there wasn't enough character development as it was a short film, but the movie is an oh so compelling watch. the final 20 minutes was such a compelling watch and you could actually feel the grit and the desperation and it was filmed in the walled city which is like a ghetto times 10.
BTW...everything happens in the midst of two days, new years eve 1983 and then the next day which is new years 1984. that it happen then also played a part in the movie cause you could see how it didn't really mean anything to the mainlanders, but in the upscale whorehouse where they spent their last night there were no clients as everybody was home with their families.
this is must watch hong kong cinema and if your a gangster movie fan then that is a double bonus. this movie ranks very high in the best movies of the 80's from hong kong. i think it is in the top 5 and it is certainly in my top 5. enjoy it if you get the chance...and i have to say again it is very bleak, not a happy film.
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