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People's Hero
Year: 1987
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai
Director: Derek Yee Tung-Sing
Producer: John Sham Kin-Fun
Cast: Ti Lung, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Elaine Kam Yin-Ling, Paul Chun Pui, Ronald Wong Ban, Bowie Lam Bo-Yi, Benz Kong To-Hoi, Ho Pooi-Yi, Lai Siu-Fong, Tin Ching, Yip Wing-Cho
The Skinny: Derek Yee directs this excellent crime drama, which feels like it could have been a Ringo Lam movie. Ti Lung and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai turn in powerful performances.
Review
by Kozo:
     Hong Kong's answer to Dog Day Afternoon casts Ti Lung as ex-con gangster Sonny Koo, who finds himself in the middle of a bank holdup by two inexperienced crooks (Wong Ban and a young Tony Leung Chiu-Wai). An epileptic fit on Wong's part causes the robbery to go awry, but before order can be restored, Sonny assumes control. He proceeds to turn the hostage situation to his advantage, and uses the bank's customers and personnel as leverage to free his girlfriend from prison. Meanwhile, on the outside, sympathetic cop Tony Leung Ka-Fai spars with fellow cop Paul Chun over how to handle the situation.
     Putting aside the film's obvious source of inspiration, People's Hero turns out to be a surprising crime drama. The uncommon attention to character, as well as the emotionally complex situations make this one of Hong Kong's more unsung eighties classics. What's even more surprising is that the director was Derek Yee, who's far better known for his nineties award-winners C'est La Vie, Mon Cheri and Full Throttle. In contrast to those glossy productions, People's Hero is a gritty, tense piece of filmmaking which oddly resembles the work of a guy named Ringo Lam. And, at only eighty-five minutes, the film is the model of economy, with not a wasted moment or emotion. The all-star cast is excellent, with Ti Lung's towering portrayal of Sonny Koo standing as the centerpiece of the film. Surprisingly, he was not nominated for a Hong Kong Film Award, though Tony Leung Chiu-Wai took home the first of many with his supporting role. (Kozo 1996)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Mei Ah Entertainment
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