Uncle Tak, the old martial-arts master and medicine in normal life has severe problems with his former student Jonny, who wants nothing more than to kill his old master to show everyone who... See full summary »
400 million dollars are hidden in a boat in some harbor in South America, hidden by Dani Servigo's brother. When his brother gets killed, Dani is a wanted man - by undercover DEA agent Cole... See full summary »
Mario Van Peebles,
To payoff his second girlfriend's debt, hitman Melvin Smiley undertakes a kidnapping job with his usual associates. In a world of prospective Jewish in-laws and late movie fees, the hitman ... See full summary »
Lou Diamond Phillips,
Tyler is a restless, streetwise 21-year-old Hong Kong native who's had trouble gaining the trust of others all his life. He secretly fantasizes about living the good life in South America. ... See full summary »
The movie is set in chaotic 1920's China, when warlords fought each other for power while Sun Yat-Sen's underground movement tried to establish a democratic republic. The movie tells the ... See full summary »
In 1937 Shanghai, a soon-to-depart soldier meets a young woman under a bridge during a Japanese air raid. They vow to meet after the war ends, but they don't each other's name or face. Ten ... See full summary »
A priest hears a prostitute's confession, a tale which has a 200,000 HK$ debt as its centerpiece. The prostitute accidentally leaves behind an envelope with her address in the confessional.... See full summary »
Shanghai's good old days - weren't all that much fun
Kirk Wong has probably the darkest vision of any Hong Kong director working on crime thrillers; even Ringo Lam desperately clings to some hope that heroes actually exist and will prevail. But Wong's heroes are really very commonplace men, with all the faults and flaws we can expect of them, while his villains are as vicious as nay we could imagine. The high point of Wong's career has been "Crime Story", the only Jackie Chan film that can actually be considered depressing.
Gunmen is a very dark tale of Shanghai "after the Chinese civil war", and I put that in quotes because it is never clear whether this is directly after the intra-party strife between two Nationalist factions during the twenties and thirties, or the revolution of Mao tse Tung that ended in 1949. The identifiers that would clarify this (references to the Communist party) are entirely missing, and intentionally so; Wong doesn't want us to see this story in those terms, but rather in terms of cultural tensions that somehow run deeper than economic politics or historical theories. It is exactly this particularity - of people rather than parties - that drives the characters towards almost certain destruction.
Politics aside, if what the viewer wants is a tense, brutal, violent gunplay crime film, look no farther. Just don't expect a happy ending.
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