This little known flick opens with a brutal 5 minutes of Shing Fui On, his wife and young son getting attacked by a gang of triads wielding blades. As much as they fight back, they are cut down pretty bad as the son watches in horror until help arrives. In the hospital, his wife breaks-up with him, leaving him to bring up their son alone. Jumping years ahead, the son is now cheeky teenager Tse Wai Kit - a gangster wannabe who bullies his way through school, even his teacher. As much as his dad tries to keep him on the right track, Tse just can't keep out of trouble!
After his son is attacked in an incident with a friend, Shing Fui On is called to the hospital by the police where he meets taxi driver Wu Ma - father to Tse's friend. Clashing before they even know what they are there for, the two fathers eventually agree to try and help keep their sons out of trouble, having to patch their differences and make friends along the way.
Director Cho Kin Nam isn't a name you would recognise much. Having starred in a number of Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung vehicles, he also worked as a director or action director on films such as Dreadful Melody and Martial Arts Master Wong Fei Hung. A Rascal's Tale is certainly one of the more mature titles from his filmography, blending teen/family-drama with triad action and managing to get some great performances from all involved.
Tse Wai Kit is pretty impressive as the troubled teen. Often cast as a pain-in-the-arse for the most of his short-lived career in films such as School On Fire, Against All, and A Moment Of Romance 2, Tse delivers one of his best performances - perhaps because he had such a prominent role. The same can be said for his friend, Ricky Ho Pui Tung who plays the son of Wu Ma...
Shing Fui On is as great as always, playing a sympathetic character for a change and bouncing of Wu Ma just brilliantly with both giving some emotional moments as well as some laughs. The wonderful Carrie Ng has a supporting role as Shing's new lady, and Michael Mui, usually seen in Hong Kong comedies, also joins the cast. Sylvia Chang, who stars as the long suffering teacher, portrays the most emotional of them all - herself dealing with a troubled teen daughter who has no respect for her. Ironically, she doesn't give up on Tse and works with him as best she can to help guide him also.
While the most of the film is fairly straight-forward, A Rascal's Tale has a couple of small sub-plots that help move it along, although admittedly, the main storyline keeps a good pace and is intriguing enough, showing strength in Cho Kin Nam's script. Hong Kong heavies Ken Lo, James Ha and Chan Chi Fai appear after the hour mark, as the action picks up when Tse sets out to attack a gangster that gave his girlfriend drugs. And just when you think Tse is going to learn a good lesson of morals by the end of the film, it seems that destiny won't allow it as an all-out, highly-impressive, violent and bloody gang fight erupts at Shing's apartment, pulling his father right back into the life he once left for his son, and bringing the whole story full-circle!
Overall: Emotional and gripping, A Rascal's Tale may seem like a run-of-the-mill teen triad flick, but its cast and story of a father's love makes it stand a little taller than the rest...
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