4 July 2005 | LARSONRD
Intriguing triad gangster film
Intriguing gangster film about the rise of a female triad boss in charge of Portland Street gangs in HK. This is a spin-off of the YOUNG & DANGEROUS series, and cast members from that series pop up here - those unfamiliar with the Y&D films may find that a bit confusing. The film at first takes a while to catch on to, since characters pop in and out in rapid succession, and the direct-translation subtitles are a bit uneven (they may also be some excised scenes whose absence contributes to that the DVD length here is 114mins but the Japanese edition is shown to be 122 mins, so something is missing from the HK DVD I saw). But once the film goes onto an extended flashback, the story of Sister Thirteen's rise in the triads, it becomes quite compelling. Sandra Ng is outstanding as Sister Thirteen, with notable guest performances by the ever-appealing Shu Qi (as a junkie betrayed by a cop, whose killing - the cop's - gives Sister Thirteen her first step up in the triads), and the intricately beautiful Kristy Yeung as Thirteen's best friend. By the end the character has become real and the tale told a most memorable one. Ultimately, the film is more than a triad crime action fest, but a poignant and tragic drama.