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Island of Fire
Chinese: 火燒島  
Year: 1990
Director: Chiu Yen-Ping
Producer: Jimmy Wang Yu
Cast: Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Jack Gao (Ko Kin), Jimmy Wang Yu, Tou Chung-Wah, O Chun-Hung, John Chang Kuo-Chu, Yip Chuen-Chun, Yip Wing-Cho, Chin Ho, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong
The Skinny: Half-baked prison drama with a big name cast in small-time roles. Not for fans of any of the stars, which leaves us the big question: just who should be watching this movie?
by Kozo:

Plot: Good cop Tony Leung Ka-Fai is assigned a strange mystery. He investigates a killer, only to find out that he was supposedly executed after a stint on death row. Said killer resurfaced after his supposed death to wreak havoc on the outside, and Leung must go undercover in prison on find out why. Inside, he meets a variety of imprisoned characters, all played by big name actors. Prisoner Sammo Hung wants to escape to see his son. Jackie Chan arrives in jail for killing Andy Lau's brother. Lau soon follows to take down Chan in the joint. Meanwhile, Tony Leung forms a bond with fellow prisoner Tou Chung-Wah.

All the standard prison potboiler clichés are in place, but Chiu Yen-Ping's narrative seems mostly ludicrous. Ringo Lam's infinitely superior Prison on Fire (also featuring Tony Leung Ka-Fai) handled the subject of prison politics much better than this half-baked, star-studded effort. Why all these names agreed to appear in this film is a mystery for the ages - presumably some sort of favor-swapping was going on. Otherwise, the big names were hoodwinked by an overachieving producer.'

This film is not for fans of Jackie Chan's larger than life persona, as he doesn't do much more than beat people up and act moody. Besides that, he's barely in the film! You could call this an ensemble piece, but the actors don't really work together. They just sort of stand around while dubbed-over dialogue occurs. This can be an entertaining flick for the undemanding, but it's a total let down considering who's in it. However, it's hard to expect much more from Chiu Yen-Pin. (Kozo 1995/1997)

  Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen