Gang warfare in Wuhan in this highly stylized Chinese gangster movie. There isn't a great deal that's new about Yi'nan Diao's "The Wild Goose Lake". Walter Hill, Jean-Pierre Melville or more recently Michael Mann could have made this but Diao's use of flashbacks to propel the story and his superb use of locations certainly give this an edge. Despite the fatalistic tone it's hardly what you would call existential despite moving at a fairly leisurely pace. The plot isn't always easy to follow and sometimes it's hard to know who belongs to whose gang or who's a cop and who isn't.
As a cop killer on the run, Ge Hu is as cool as they come; in another lifetime Delon or Belmondo might have played this part and Lun-Mei Kwei is excellent as the film's femme fatale. In the end there is more atmosphere than action and the film's look finally overwhelms its content but it's great that in this day and age this kind of gangster film is being made and that China has taken such a fundamentally American genre and twisted it to its own ends.
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