10 December 2002 | edge_crusher01
A surprisngly good film
This is a good film, yes IT IS DIFFERENT FROM YOUR NORMAL CHAN FILM YOU CHAN FANS, i am a chan fan but you have to give way to a change every now and then, and this is deffinately one. Yes the film is what you heard, brutal, violent, everything a jackie chan film is not. But this is not a jackie chan film. If you put this in order of screen time Tong Leung Ka Fai would edge it, then possibly Sammo Hung or maybe even Chung-Hua Tao as Charlie (even though he is not billed as a main character.) Andy Lau And Jackie Chan have a relatively small part in the film but they do make an impact.
To talk about the plot, the film takes place in a prison, mostly. Borrowing largely from Prison On Fire directed by Ringo Lam also starring tony leung ka fai. To Run through the characters, tony leung is a cop and has placed himself (quite randomly) undercover into this prison that he believes to be corrupt. Unfortunately the writers seem to forget that he is a cop for most of the movie and finally realise 4/5 the way through the film again, but i dont want to spoil anything. Sammo Hung is well already in jail, and the touching part of the story is the fact that he wants to get out to see his son, about 5 years old i guess. Jackie Chan is some innocent guy that gets caught up in a killing and is also sent to the prison, Andy Lau happens to be the brother of the person killed by Jackie Chan, so he basically wants revenge. Sammo hung's character is involved in the touching parts of the film when he for instance escapes to see his son. This is early on in the film and i do not want to ruin it for you. Chung-Hua Tao plays Charlie he is the roommate of Leung ka fai, there is a very interesting Sub Plot, only avaliabe on the Taiwan release and the superb hong kong legends print of the dvd, that has 30 mins of delete footage as a extra (not in the film as the quailty was VHS quality) the sub plot is about how Chung-Hua Tao's character is trying to be freed by his grandmother and how she dies and then he hangs himself, but is saved by leung ka fai's character. That is just a brief overview but it is horrific that they took this all out of the movie as it adds another level, seeing that Chung-Hua Tao's character who seems so innocent was basically brought up not knowing the difference between right and wrong.
Tony Leung Ka Fai carries this movie very well, he proved to me that he is a very good actor, (unfortunately he got arrested) this was the first film that i saw him in. Sammo Hung plays his part well and it is different from normal, as he uses his acting ability and not his fighting ability. Jackie chan is basically there to showcase his fighting ability he is there in all the hand to hand combat scenes, and is used well seeming as he only gave up 3 to 4 days of his time to the production and the director, Andy Lau gets a chance to play a bad guy, as they all do really, it is good to see the different and how they can act as the opposite from normality. Chung-Hua Tao plays his character very well and adds the level of supposed innocence to the film and there is an emotional scene towards the end that i do not want to mention involving him. The acting is very good overall in this film.
To give my opinion on the film i find it hard to see why everyone hates this, it is a good film in its own right, so what if it borrowed from another film, its what your watching at the time that matters. I can understand why Jackie Chan disowned the film as it is nothing like his films with the Exception of Crime Story, but why did he give up his time? i think most of it has to do with the end scene which is very emotional, possibly the most emotional scene from a hong kong action movie i have seen, the actors are used well regardless of what a lot of people think. If a lot of people had given their time to the film they would have seen it from a different direction and realised that it is in fact a very good film on many levels. Action, Drama, whatever you wanna call it, it has achieved a different level to most films i see and i think that is why a lot of fans also disregard this film as a waste of time.
i would highly recommend this, There are scenes of graphic violence, one scene of animal cruelty (however you never see the human kick the animal) and the film is quiet harrowing.
I would like to give the soundtrack a credit as it added terrific atmosphere to the film and also i would like to mention the great release from Hong Kong Legends, they did us proud again. With one of the worst prints that they have had to work with they made it look like a new movies. Well done.