Friday, June 12, 2009

Movies : A sideways look at HK Triads

A True Mob Story (HK 1998)

Andy Lau plays that more unusual character in HK Triad films : the loser Triad. As a minor boss hes more like the whipping boy for the smug elder bosses who basically treat him like a gopher and ration his pay. His wife was killed several years before by a vile thug Andy half blinded but his son is looked after by mamasan Suki Kwan.

As Andy gets dragged further and further into trouble he meets barrister Gigi Leung... who just happens to be the g/f of Alex Fong, the cop whos out to bust Andy's ass! Of course Gigi falls in love with the loveable Triad boss putting her career at risk, naturally, but is it two-way?

The thug who killed Andy's wife makes a comeback and puts Andy in peril, but the bosses won't help and he finds himself the fallguy for a drugs operation. Now what?

Its a Wong Jing film so you know what to expect : violence, lots of it, especially against women. Blood, gore, death, sexual violence and torture. The "master" delivers, this is one of the best films Wong Jing has ever done. All in all this is a superior HK film, very well played by Andy Lau.

Rating : 5 machetes out of 5

My Hero II (HK 1993)

Dicky Cheung
plays a comic writer who has two major problems : 1) his mum is insane 2) his comics are crap. His boss tells him to come back with a good story or else... He then runs into a bona fide triad hoodlum, how better to get inspiration than to watch the real thing? By a strange co-incidence the triad is his neighbour... and has the hots for his mum.

Vivian Lai also has the hots for Dicky, but she remains unfulfilled. Never mind, she can maybe comfort herself that her part in the film probably contains the worst acting in the world. Ever. Perhaps why Vivian Lai did not make that many movies. Dicky gets drawn into the triad world and ends up the hero of course. And his comic sells huge.

Bizarre humour, sometimes hilarous, often just weird and a good lash of violence. Plus a good dollop of fantasy and weirdness... far too much weirdness. Often the film slips into comic mode with several strange tangents.

A car crash of a movie. You remain on edge watching it, torn between switching it off and destroying the VCD into a billion pieces and continuing to watch this... crime (for thats what it is) onscreen. Its a movie Jim but not as we know it. I think there is just enough goodness to recommend a viewing, at least just to see how bad some things can be. If you like Vivian Lai as a singer this is worth seeing her on screen.
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