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The H.K. Triad
Year: 1999
Director: Clarence Fok Yiu-Leung
Producer: Wong Jing
Cast: Lau Ching-Wan, Francis Ng Chun-Yu, Athena Chu Yan, Diana Pang Dan, Patrick Tam Yiu-Man, Lee Siu-Kei, Ng Chi-Hung, Spencer Lam Seung-Yi, Michael Tse Tin-Wah
The Skinny: Average triad film that comes off looking worse thanks to Wong Jing's attempts to add "depth" to the proceedings.
by Kozo:
     Wong Jingís latest triad exercise is a low-rent Goodfellas. Told in flashback, it details the rise of Lau Ching-Wan from triad nobody to kingpin - and how his friendship with cop Francis Ng allowed them unchallenged reign over the underworld. Their reign at the top continues for a decade until its undone by the fledgling ICAC (think Internal Affairs) and various interpersonal differences that only serve to get in the way. Chief among those interpersonal differences is their women. Lau marries Pang Dan, sister of triad chief Lee Siu-Kei. Ng marries Athena Chu, who returned the favor only because she owed him her life. In reality, she finds Lau much more attractive - too bad Lau refuses to touch her after their initial (and disastrous) liaison. Would that were the end of the saga, but thereís also a deepening look at corruption and how it eventually helps do in our two protagonists. 
     Letís get one thing straight: these guys arenít heroes. Unlike Fokís Cheap Killers and Gun Ďn Rose, the triad guys arenít to be idolized. Screenwriter Wong Jing attempts some sort of triad film revision, but the result is too uneven and manufactured to succeed. The film takes the time to moralize but it never feels like anything more than a dramatic set-up. Thematic depth canít be achieved by only writing the correct lines. There has to be something more going on than scripted platitudes detailing the horrors of a life of crime. Ultimately this is an entertaining exercise, but also an average one. The lead actors are dependable ones but their performances cover little new ground. (Kozo 1999)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mega Star/Media Asia
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen