Friday, June 12, 2009

Movies : The Tough Streets Of Mong Kok

Mong Kok in HK is the most densely populated area in the world and in HK movies is often portrayed as the centre of Triad and vice activities. I can't say its seemed that rough when i've been there but there you go...

Mongkok Story
(HK 1996)

Mongkok Story is decent if unspectacular Triad film, definitely from the Young & Dangerous slash-slash stable rather than the more cerebral assassin stable a la Election. Not that that is a bad thing of course. However when you see Mongkok Story you will probably get a feeling of deja vu as it re-treads familiar ground covered so often in HK cinema.

Edmond Leung plays a young waiter who is seduced by the glamour of being a Triad, especially the local small-time hoodlums who frequent his cafe and their Dailo Roy Cheung. He joins this group but finds the Triad life is not so wonderful after all. Especially when he has to "go down" on Anthony Wong, a rival boss and sometime film star, no really. Not that there isn't a suggestion that Edmond might be gay, at least gay for his Dailo though we find out that Dailo is married to Edmond's first girlfriend. Not that she remembers him, and the Director forgets this soon enough anyway.

When his Dailo is killed by the rival gang Edmond thirsts for revenge. So begin the slash slash! Overall the film is pretty good stuff though nothing you haven't seen before. Good action and a slightly surprising ending.

Prince Of Portland Street
(HK 1993)

Maybe only in a HK film could you have a film starring two lovable cheeky chaps (Simon Yam and Dicky Cheung) playing woman beating and cheating pimps. But if you ever wanted a film about two lovable pimps here is their story. Simon is the "Prince Of Portland Street" - some kind of uber-pimp, i guess its not an official post in the HK government.

He tangles with a rather nasty rival Triad Dailo and gets hit on the head with a gas bottle. Simon now acts like a child (hmm where have we seen that plot used before?) and follows Dicky instead. However Dicky, although he tries hard to play the part, can't pull off the Prince role as well.

Enter two ladies (of the night) who begin a love-hate relationship with the two guys. The Triad badboy comes into the fray again though but once Simon hits his head again his "magical powers" are restored. Can't think where they got that idea.

In typical HK fashion this is a very violent film but with good humour, and questionable morals. The question behind this film is can two men escape their past? This film proves it is difficult. Great stuff anyway. The HK in these two films is a neon-lit sleezy and violent world. Men drink, fight and enjoy women, then fight and enjoy some more women. Crime doesn't pay but you can have a good time finding out. Of course it glamourises violence and thats bad 'kay?
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