17 December 2005 | sirkevinho1
Hard to describe...
My feelings towards this film was mixed. In a way it seems to be overrated, just because it was Wong Kai Wei's first film and it was probably his only commercial and gangster film. It was very typical of Hong Kong gangster film in the 80s, with the same overplayed message of loyalty and the main characters trying to prove their value being the central theme. The story was plain and dull, and truthfully, it was another one of the gangster films made in the 80s that is influence by John Woo. Still, I feel this movie deserved some credit for being raved about in certain circles. First of all, this was one of the better gangster films out there, and even though the subject of loyalty seemed overplayed, it was still touching to see the friendship of a boss and his follower. Secondly, and very interestingly, the movie was filmed with an artistic touch. I have rarely seen a gangster film incorporating artistic techniques, such as the distortion of time or using shots of nature, signatures of Wong Kai Wei's latter films, but these artistic scenes became memorable. How could I ever forget the scene where Maggie was walking gingerly through the door, stopped, hesitated for a moment, but continued and slowly, but with class of a true lady, make her way up the stairs? That scene was unforgettable. Although the viewer could only see her back, but from her back, she was still able to project the feeling of uncertainty, but in the end, bravery for going after her love. Usually a scene like this would only be seen in art films, and rarely in a gangster film. In this film, however, the artistic touch only added to the movie's special appeal. A lot of Wong's artistic shots were unforgettable.
The performances by the two lead actors, Andy Lau and Jackie Cheung, were solid and touching, but far from spectacular. A lot of times I feel their expressions, especially Lau, were forced. Jackie Cheung seemed more natural in his acting, but his expressions were exaggerated, probably exaggerated to enforce his aura of cockiness, an aura that was not believable. Future films of the two stars, especially the recent ones, had better performances, and the viewer could see their vast improvements. The performance of Maggie Cheung must be complimented. Her sweet naiveness was so convincing that I had a hard time linking her with the ditsy roles she took before, such as in the Police Story. One could tell big things were ahead for her, and her future success proved it.
Overall, very interesting film, but just another one of the 80s gangster film.