Andrew Lauís attachment to the Young and Dangerous series continues with this story of young Chan Ho-Nam (teen
idol Nicholas Tse) and how he became a Hung Hing boy. Young
Ho-Nam spends his days pining after classmate Kelly (Lillian
Ho) and hanging with buddies Pou Pan (Tsui Ka-Ho), Chow Pan
(Benjamin Yuen), and the ever-important Chicken (Sam Lee).
He gets drawn into the triad world when he finds himself disenchanted
with school, alienated at home, and with no one to trust save
the kindly Brother B (the returning Ng Chi-Hung). Ho-Namís initiation into the triad
underworld is a rocky one, fraught with petty rivalries, inter-gang
difficulties, and lots and lots of fighting. He makes a name
for himself, but he also makes some enemies, including scummy
Hung Hing boss Ugly Kwan (Francis Ng, returning to the role
that made him).
This is overall an excellent flick
thanks to the good sense of style and more realistic approach
to the triad story. While there are still traces of triad
glorification, the majority of the themes seem more human.
For example, much of the film deals with finding courage,
as well as injury, drug addiction, and plain old fear and
shame H owever, the parallels the film draws
between a gang fight and the Tiananmen Square massacre are
really out of place. It just isnít appropriate to attempt
political metaphor through a triad boyz film - the film should
have done without the grainy cross-cutting.
On the plus side the acting is excellent.
Nicholas Tse displays a surprising emotional intensity as
Chan Ho-Nam, showing far more range than Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin
has. Sam Lee is no Jordan Chan, but he brings his own personality
and brash cockiness to the character of Chicken. Shu Qi is
effective as a pivotal character in young Ho-Namís life, though
it is ironic that she plays both his first and last lover
(in Y&D 5). Francis Ng is surprisingly subdued,
doing without the overacting that won him accolades for his
earlier portrayals of Kwan. Perhaps that was a conscious choice,
as his over-the-top acting from the first film would have
been totally wrong for this film. Young and Dangerous 1 was a comic book movie. Young and Dangerous: The Prequel is still a comic book movie, but a far more gripping and
effective one. (Kozo 1998)