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Francis Ng goes to work in 9413
  Year: 1998  
  Director: Francis Ng Chun-Yu  
  Producer: Herman Yau Lai-To  
  Cast: Francis Ng Chun-Yu, Christine Ng Wing-Mei, Amanda Lee Wai-Man, Mo Chun-Fai, Lee Kin-Yan
  The Skinny: Surprising directorial debut from Francis Ng proves to be an engrossing, well-acted thriller.
by Kozo:
     Who would have thought that Francis Ng Chun-Yu would direct a movie? In his directorial debut, Ng essays Smash Head, an emotionally bankrupt cop who began his downward spiral when he accidentally killed a hostage during a shootout. Saved from Internal Affairs by his Captain (Mo Chun-Fai), Smash Head exists on an eternal edge. He has few compunctions, and willingly does his Captainís dirty work for dirty money. Smash Head is corrupt out of self loathing; he doesnít actually enjoy sullying the badge. 
     Smash Head's redemption arrives in the form of Carmen (Christine Ng), a recently-repatriated HK resident who ends up a witness at one of Smash Headís busts. Sheís a psychiatrist, who takes it upon herself to heal Smash Headís wounds. Nearly beyond help, Smash Head only rediscovers his moral center when his dead partnerís gun turns up with the serial numbers 9413 scratched off. 
     This is an engrossing story that works thanks to Francis Ngís stylish direction. He manages a surprising instinct for his material, resorting to freeze frames and step-printing at appropriate moments, and static long takes at others. Ngís performance works, too. Itís over-the-top (his speciality), but its appropriate for his burnt-out character. 
     Faring just as well is Amanda Lee as Smash Headís occasional girlfriend. Christine Ng has always been a welcome presence, but she falters slightly here. It may be a fault of the material, which sometimes resorts to platitudes and clichťs to achieve its end. 9413 isnít perfect, but for a freshman effort itís surprisingly good. (Kozo 1998)
Awards: 18th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Nomination - Best Supporting Actress (Amanda Lee Wai-Man)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Widesight Entertainment
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen