Andy Lau turns in his finest performance in this entertaining
drama about Tiger (Lau), a kickboxer who is released from
prison and finds redemption. The film begins as heís released
from prison, but weíre introduced to his demons in flashback.
When he was a young boxer, he fell for Thai filmmaker Pim
(Indhira Jaroeupura of the film Nang Nak). She was
his number one love, though he apparently forgot what drew
her to him. She was drawn to his strength and his fighting
nature. When she discovers that boxing is only a job to him,
he loses her and something else happens that lands him in
jail for 10+ years.
In the present he meets Sister Mikoto
(Takako Tokiwa, in her second Hong Kong film), who has occasionally
looked after Tigerís wayward daughter Ploy (Apichaya Thanatthanapong).
Though their reunion is difficult at first, they eventually
find some semblance of a father-daughter relationship. Still,
Tigerís demons return to haunt him, and when we see exactly
what they were, everything comes together in an appropriate
and even haunting fashion.
Plot is not particularly important
in this movie. The film is essentially about Tiger and his
growth as a man, which overshadows any need for your standard
three-act storytelling. Some might feel that Tiger's final
decisions are difficult to swallow as they smack of overly
dramatic storytelling, but Lau makes the whole thing watchable
and compelling. This is probably his best acting, outdistancing
his best actor turn in Running Out of Time. Tiger is
an opaque role with real depth, and Lau turns in a dark, layered
performance. While her character needs just a bit more fleshing
out, Takako Tokiwa is again outstanding and beautiful. This
is entertaining and even beautiful ride, again showing that
Daniel Lee is one of Hong Kong's most competent commercial
directors. (Kozo 2000)