A graying black-clad swordsman slays palace guards, as he flies through the air to an uncertain purpose. Centuries (or is it days?) later, gun-toting, Armani-clad super policemen -- Hong ... See full summary »
Providing an image of the daily life of ordinary Shanghai people, the story is carried out over two periods: from the 1960s to the mid-1970s, the end of the Cultural Revolution; and from the 1980s to the start of the 21st century.
A low-level triad "big brother" has a hot-tempered "little brother" who can't keep out of trouble, and consequently is in constant need of being bailed out by his protector. The "big brother" is super cool, but lacks the ambition to rise in the ranks of the triad societies - and once he meets his cousin from Kowloon and falls in love with her, he even thinks about leaving "the life". Written by
L.H. Wong <email@example.com>
In a scene Wah incidentally encountered Mabel which was supposed to rain heavily, there were many people across the street seen walking nonchalantly, suggesting that the rain was in fact a custom set. See more »
Wong Kar-Wai's feature debut is essential viewing for anyone who's been beguiled by his more recent work, but it is really just a slightly more existential take on the standard HK gangster pic. It has more commercial considerations, less emotional complexity (or navel-gazing, if you side with Jackie Chan, who called him "the most boring film-maker on the planet")* than 'Fallen Angels' or 'In the mood for love', but there's much to admire in his idiosyncratic digressions from generic conventions. Maggie Cheung, surely one of HK's finest actresses, but so rarely allowed to prove it, is slightly wasted here. Her performance is pleasingly internal and understated, far-removed from the pseudo-comic mugging she made to enact in the Police Story movies which made her famous, but her character is really just the pining girlfriend, an iconic figure of a better future. I can fully accept Cheung as the embodiment of all that is feminine and comforting in the world, but her role is a slight disappointment given the screen-melting roles Wong handed to Brigitte Lin, Faye Wong, Karen Mok and Cheung herself in later films. And, by the way, this is very violent.
* Jackie Chan also said that Amy Yip was the ugliest woman in the world and that ladies shouldn't fight in movies.
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