Site Features
- Asian Film Awards
- Site Recommendations

- Reader Poll Results

- The Sponsor Page
- The FAQ Page
support this site by shopping at
Click to visit
Asian Blu-ray discs at
Mr. Six
Million Dollar Crocodile

Feng Xiaogang meets Kris Wu in Mr. Six.
Chinese: 老炮兒
Year: 2015
Director: Guan Hu
Producer: Wang Zhonglei, Zhu Wenjiu

Guan Hu, Dong Runnian


Feng Xiaogang, Zhang Hanyu, Xu Qing, Li Yifeng, Kris Wu, Liu Hua, Liang Jing, Shang Cencen, Yu Hewei, Bai Jugang, Lian Yiming

The Skinny: Feng Xiaogang kicks ass – metaphorically more than literally – as aged tough Mr. Six in this sharp black comedy-drama from director Guan Hu (Cow). The lack of action and frequent dry laughs might disappoint some audiences, but as China films go, Mr. Six is a winner.
by Kozo:

Aftershock director Feng Xiaogang excels in Mr. Six, but this time he’s not behind the camera – he’s in front of it. From director Guan Hu (Cow), this elegiac black comedy-drama concerns Zhang Xuejun a.k.a. Mr. Six (Feng), an aged gang member in Beijing who saddles up for a rousing attempt at one last ride. Now the owner of a small neighborhood shop, Mr. Six still commands some respect among the locals, which allows him to discipline neighbors and cops at his whim. However, Mr. Six’s authority is questioned when he has a run in with Xiaofei (Kris Wu), the son of a mega-rich businessman and leader of the “Twelve Masters of Third Ring Road” – a fluffed-up fancy name for what’s really just an illegal street racing gang.

With their exaggerated hairstyles, gleaming sports cars and menacing disrespect for everybody, Xiaofei’s group is basically millennial entitlement given out-of-control corporeal form. Xiaofei’s beef with Mr. Six is simple: He wants 100,000 RMB as a ransom for Mr. Six’s estranged son Xiaobo (Li Yifeng), who slept with Xiaofei’s girlfriend (Shang Cencen) and deliberately scratched one of his Lamborghinis. Xiaofei is holding Xiaobo in his gang’s garage and expects payment within three days. Mr. Six, being the righteous dude that he is, agrees that Xiaobo must pay for his transgressions, but he’s not cool with all the lip from these hair-wax-abusing whippersnappers. One expects that a spanking will soon be on the menu.

Though Mr. Six is termed a “gangster”, he’s really just a fighting neighborhood type who kept the peace while acting righteous and tough – basically the Young and Dangerous crew but older and far less attractive. There’s also a Chicken to Mr. Six’s Chan Ho-Nam: Zhang Hanyu plays the aged “Scrapper”, who keeps in shape on the off-chance that one day he can beat someone up again. There’s also Lampshade (Liu Hua), a dumb colleague who causes more trouble than he solves, and Chatterbox (Xu Qing), Mr. Six’s occasional lover. The gang backs up Mr. Six in his conflict with Xiaofei, but while the film progresses towards expected face-offs, any violent confrontation is usually subverted for something less movie-like and more realistic.

Mr. Six does have a dramatic storyline but this is mainly a character piece meant to establish who Mr. Six is and how he subtly changes. One thread follows Mr. Six’s relationship with his estranged son, who finds new understanding of his pop through this ordeal. Mainly, the film examines Mr. Six as a gangster archetype, though one who receives generous shading. This is a righteous old guy who handles every conflict with strict and usually unerring principle, and yet his flaws and limitations are plainly apparent. Righteous posturing aside, there’s something pathetic about Mr. Six and his cronies, whose adherence to their code is a bit silly, and whose pride is both their strength and weakness. In the end, their romantic way of doing things may not actually solve much – and that makes complete sense.

The script (credited to Guan Hu and Dong Runnian) manages a narrative complexity that’s surprising. Satire and dry humor keep things moving briskly, and Mr. Six’s meetings with Xiaofei and his gang have an entertaining tension driven by the kids’ cartoonish posturing – even though you know the kids are all bluster. However, if troublemaking kids aren’t a big deal, what about troublemaking adults? Actual dangerous criminals show up and Mr. Six gets further embroiled in the mess, and with another development – Mr. Six is old and doesn’t take doctor advice too well – going out like a hero still has romantic appeal. Offsetting the romanticism is the film’s look, which is as grey as one expects Beijing to be. Guan Hu assiduously controls his camera and pace, in contrast to his stylish previous efforts, but still employs lyricism and surreal symbolism to propel key moments.

One possible debit for some audiences may be the lack of action. A violent confrontation is constantly being teased, but the film refuses to show it. But that’s OK, because Mr. Six is not about the fight, it’s about choosing to show up for it. Acting is befitting; the kids seem like posers, which makes sense because they are posers, while the older actors are self-effacing and perfectly in tune with the sharp, dry tone. More than anything, Mr. Six is Feng Xiaogang’s show. Already possessing a perfect acting voice, Feng brings a remarkable, layered presence to this extended turn, showing us Mr. Six’s frailties without compromising the things that make him so kickass. Feng is so good in Mr. Six that he could probably quit his day job and do this acting thing fulltime. I do not support such a move, but denying that he could do it would be a complete lie. (Kozo, 12/2015)

 Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen