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Young and Dangerous: Reloaded

Young and Dangerous: Reloaded

Chan Ho-Nam (Him Law) has a point for Ugly Kwan (Sammy Sum) in Young and Dangerous: Reloaded.

Chinese: 古惑仔:江湖新秩序  
Year: 2013
Director: Daniel Chan Yee-Heng
Producer: Wong Jing,Manfred Wong
Writer: Manfred Wong
Action: Philip Ng Won-Lung
Cast: Him Law, Oscar Leung Lit-Wai, Dominic Ho Hou-Man, Lam Chi-Sin, Philip Ng Won-Lung, Paul Wong Koon-Chung, Sammy Sum Chun-Hin, Michelle Hu, Jacqueline Chong Si-Man, Winnie Leung Man-Yi, Denise Ho Wan-Si, Sin Lap-Man, Joman Chiang Cho-Man, Felix Lok Ying-Kwan, Jim Chim Sui-Man, Bob Lam, Timmy Hung Tin-Ming, Tam Ping-Man, Simon Lui Yu-Yeung, Calvin Poon Yuen-Leung, Alex Man Chi-Leung, Kimmy Tong Fei
The Skinny: Passably entertaining reboot of the popular nineties triad film series with a poor replacement for Ekin Cheng in Him Law. Harder sex, swearing and violence may earn Young and Dangerous: Reloaded extra points from fans of edgier Hong Kong Cinema. Sequels will hopefully improve on this first film's flaws, though it'll take a lot to solve the Him Law problem.
 
Review
by Kozo:

It’s about time they remade Young and Dangerous! But why did they have to cast Him? Wong Jing returns to produce this reboot of the nineties film series, which brought Gen-X street attitude to the triad genre and made a film icon out of Ekin Cheng. The role of Hung Hing boy Chan Ho-Nam was initially ill-fitting to the mild-mannered Cheng, but through countless sequels and spin-offs, Cheng made the role his own. For this reboot, Wong enlists the services of Him Law as Chan Ho-Nam – and Law’s casting was also greeted with some skepticism. After all, Law has never carried an action film and he resembles a buff himbo more than a tough street gangster. Unfortunately, that disappointment stands. Despite bearing Chan Ho-Nam’s iconic tattoo, Law is vapid and uninteresting, and shows little danger or charisma in the role. If the inevitable Young and Dangerous: Reloaded sequels hinge on Law to carry them, we could be in trouble.

Luckily, Young and Dangerous: Reloaded is not all Law, with the rest of the cast proving adequate if not inspired. Oscar Leung doesn’t have Jordan Chan’s toughness, but he’s got the right irreverent attitude to play Chan Ho-Nam sidekick Chicken. Lam Chi-Sin and Dominic Ho are suitable if not exceptional as Pou-Pan and Dai Tin-Yee, respectively, and Philip Ng has the necessary physicality to play Big Head. Sammy Sum (Lan Kwai Fong 2) mercilessly overacts as villain Ugly Kwan, and seemingly cribs from both Heath Ledger’s Joker and Wile E. Coyote to play the character. It’s a cartoonish but entertaining bit of showboating that suffers mainly because Francis Ng’s version of Ugly Kwan is generally considered one for the Hong Kong Cinema pantheon. Musician Paul Wong gives the kindly Brother Bee attitude and edge, and many familiar Hong Kong Cinema faces (including Alex Man reprising his role from Young and Dangerous 4) fill out the large cast of players.

Key plot turns are similar to the first Young and Dangerous film, but there are enough differences to make Reloaded its own film. Chan Ho-Nam, Chicken, Pou-Pan and Dai Tin-Yee run afoul of Hung Hing branch leader Ugly Kwan when they critically assault his pal Med King – but he deserved it because he raped Tin-Yee’s cousin. Still, Kwan targets the boys for harassment or worse so they seek protection from Brother Bee, another Hung Hing branch leader who’s renowned for his righteousness. While the boys attempt to earn the trust of Bee and his kickboxing lieutenant Big Head, Kwan seeks an angle to usurp Hung Hing leadership from Dragon Head Mr. Chiang (Pal Sin), and Chan Ho-Nam begins dating Lorraine Lam (Michelle Hu), daughter of rich businessman Gordon Lam (Felix Lok). Loyalty, brotherhood, honor, class differences, the roving eye of Greater China, etc. – all those factors come into play when Ugly Kwan makes his move and the Hung Hing boys must put up or shut up.

Reloaded is less cynical than the original Young and Dangerous, which extolled brotherhood while still portraying money and power as an accepted means to an end. By contrast, Reloaded pushes honor and righteousness above all, which makes the Hung Hing boys nicer but much less interesting. These new Hung Hing boys only beat up scumbags, and are only jerks to people who could use the dressing down. This change is odd since Reloaded also comes with a Category III rating for profanity, violence and nudity, adding a level of sleaziness that was absent from the originals. Director Daniel Chan (the recent Triad) and screenwriter Manfred Wong do bring back some of the strengths of the original Young and Dangerous films – stylish camerawork, a sense of humor – but by softening the boys and amping up the ancillary sleaze, the whole exercise becomes more crass and trashy. The addition of topical references – including a scathing jab at Hong Kong-China relations – adds extra bite to the proceedings.

Some hilariously bad dialogue aside, Daniel Chan eschews pretension and delivers an unremarkable and fairly dumb commercial film that should please audiences looking for throwaway entertainment. However, unless the sequels can establish the characters’ coolness, this generation of the Young and Dangerous saga will likely be short-lived. The sleaze and Sammy Sum’s over-the-top performance are fine as quick selling points but you can’t develop a series on short-term buzz. Reloaded does end with the introduction of another classic character, creating anticipation for the next film, and future sequels should hopefully involve Denise Ho’s Sister Thirteen – Reloaded’s most inspired casting by far. Also, there’s one notable character not yet cast: Tai Fei, the uncouth Hung Hing lieutenant previously played with endearing swagger by Anthony Wong. If they can cast smartly for Tai Fei, give Oscar Leung a character arc and find a way to hide Him Law, there may be life ahead for this Young and Dangerous crew. Cautious optimism would be both wise and generous. (Kozo, 1/2013)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Y2K Vision Limited
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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