14 April 2005 | fourletterfury
"...An entertaining and watchable addition to the genre..."
"Rich and Famous" is a slow-moving but character driven Triad drama from director, Taylor Wong, very much created in the style of other Wong titles such as "Triads: The Inside Story".
Kwok (Andy Lau), his brother (Alex Man) and some of his friends begin working for local Triad kingpin Li-Ah Chai (Chow Yun-Fat) to eradicate their debt problems. They gradually become more deeply involved with Chai's activities and the goings on within the Triad organization. But problems begin to arise when Tang Kat-Yung, Kwok's brother, begins plotting his own schemes away from Chai and moving towards the company of Chai's enemy, "Big Eye" (Lam Chung).
Taylor Wong creates a very familiar plot here, using all the familiar Triad clichés. Yet he manages to construct a film which is still entertaining, tense, and maintains audience interest. His detached, almost documentary style direction, passively observing the characters, is used once again. The interesting aspect of this style is that it does not generally create an opinion for the viewer but instead presents the characters in their normal states and allows the viewer to decide who is good and who is bad. Nevertheless, the slightly formulaic structure is redeemed somewhat by an excellent ensemble cast. Chow Yun-Fat, Andy Lau and Alex Man all give strong performances, while Shing Fui-On, Pauline Wong and Danny Lee provide powerful support. Danny Lee is in fact on screen far less than one would expect and only really appears in two or three scenes. However, his minor role is actually expanded by his vibrant and colourful depiction of the determined cop.
Overall, although lacking in originality and inspiration, "Rich and Famous" can still be described as an entertaining and watchable addition to the genre and deserves to be seen by all HK film fans.