Nam opens a bar in Wanchai and continues his rise in Hong Kong's Hung Hing gang. His best friend, Chicken, needs to lie low, so he's sent to Taiwan to work for Lui, leader of the San Luen ... See full summary »
Nam opens a bar in Wanchai and continues his rise in Hong Kong's Hung Hing gang. His best friend, Chicken, needs to lie low, so he's sent to Taiwan to work for Lui, leader of the San Luen gang; there, he falls for the aging Lui's mistress, Ting Yiu. When Chicken returns to Hong Kong, he finds Nam in a struggle with long time rival, Fai Fat. Then, Lui shows up, demanding that Hung Hing sell him a half interest in their new Macau casino. When Chiang, the Hung Hing boss, wants to think about it, Lui threatens war, Chicken must choose sides, and Ting Yui sets up a meeting. Chicken's affections, Fai and Nam's rivalry, Lui's greed, and Ting's intentions are on a collision course. Written by
YOUNG AND DANGEROUS (Gu Huo Zi: Zhi Ren Zai Jiang Hu)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Mono
The end of Hong Kong's 'New Wave' revolution - initiated by Tsui Hark's THE BUTTERFLY MURDERS in 1979 and consolidated throughout the 1980's by the likes of John Woo, Ringo Lam, et al - was signalled by the inexplicable commercial success of Andrew Lau's YOUNG AND DANGEROUS, a visually frenetic melding of teen idol actors and old-fashioned Triad sensationalism, adapted from the graphic novels by Niu Lo (aka Kau Man). Ekin Cheng (known at the time under the English name Dior Cheng) plays a rising young star in the Hung Hing society who falls foul of rival gangster Francis Ng (GEN-X COPS), a psychotic killer who covets the Hung Hing leadership for himself. Betrayal and murder ensue, until Cheng and his loyal friends mount a counterattack against Ng, leading to a redemptive finale.
Director Lau also serves as cinematographer on this dog-eared potboiler, adopting a hand-held camera style which simply emphasizes the impoverished budget and hurried production schedule, and the decision to print key action scenes in the 'jerky-cam' style popularized by Wong Kar-wai in the likes of CHUNG KING EXPRESS (1994) is profoundly irritating. Manfred Wong's screenplay takes too long setting up the basic premise, and the film's opening half is almost derailed by needless comic set-pieces involving Cheng's relationship with Gigi Lai (playing the tough cookie sister of another gangster) which threaten to sink the entire production until events take a turn into dark-hearted melodrama, culminating in a dramatic showdown between Good and Evil.
Actor/pop singer Cheng is a bland leading man (it's doubtful he'd amount to very much without the floppy fringe and Lau's complimentary lighting scheme), and he's upstaged throughout by Ng as the monstrous psychopath who ruins the hero's life whilst murdering everyone who opposes his methods, innocent and guilty alike. The movie's only real claim to fame, however, is that it kick-started the career of second-billed Jordan Chan (KITCHEN), an unlikely heartthrob whose natural acting ability atones for a lack of movie star good looks, and who has since emerged as one of HK cinema's shining lights; his performance in YOUNG AND DANGEROUS as Cheng's loyal, hare-brained best friend is charming and unaffected, and seemingly effortless. HK movie veteran Simon Yam (BULLET IN THE HEAD) makes a brief appearance as head of the Hung Hing group, and Spencer Lam plays a former triad-turned-priest whose Christian piety doesn't prevent him from landing a few well-aimed kicks on Ng during one of the film's more bizarre episodes! Director Lau went on to better things (including the recent "Infernal Affairs" series), though not before directing SIX sequels to YOUNG AND DANGEROUS, the first of which appeared in HK theaters mere months after its predecessor!
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?