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Year: 2001
Nick Cheung and Ruby Wong
Director: Dante Lam Chiu-Yin
Cast: Nick Cheung Ka-Fai, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Ruby Wong Cheuk-Ling, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong, Samuel Pang King-Chi, Anya, Joe Lee Yiu-Ming
The Skinny: Cross-genre triad action/comedy about two young triad members are forced to go into hiding in Thailand after double crossing their boss AND the rival triad leader.
     Runaway pretty much defies categorizing as it combines elements of action, romance, comedy, and triad character study. Dan (Roy Cheung) and King (Samuel Pang) are two young triads who manage to anger their boss by losing the money that they were sent to collect for him and rival triad leader Anthony Wong. Dan and King flee Hong Kong and go to Phuket, Thailand, which is where the film really takes off.
     Once in the paradise of Phuket, Dan and King party and spend money frivolously until more interesting peripheral characters (Including Ken Lo in a role he was literally born to play: a Thai kick-boxer triad named "Tai".) show up. Dan meets and befriends cold, mysterious bungee-jumping obsessed Ruby Wong and soon figures out that she is dating Anthony Wong. King meets an equally mysterious deaf-mute beauty (Anya), who turns out to be an assassin-by-night employed by a pot-smoking organ harvester.
     Is this starting to sound strange? Well, it gets better. That's the beauty of this film; it just keeps getting stranger and funnier as it plays out. The plot moves along at a brisk pace as a bevy of well-drawn supporting characters revolve around Dan and King, all double-crossing each other at some point.
     No one behaves as they should according to the cinematic rules of a triad film. Anthony Wong is not angry and vengeful, but a love-stricken puppy who will do anything to get Ruby Wong to open up to him, including dressing up like a gay biker and executing one of the saddest male stripteases ever seen. Dan and King's boss tries very hard to be a tough guy, but fails miserably. In one of the film's funniest moments, he produces a video tape to try and persuade Dan and King to return to HK with his money. On the tape, he uses smoke and red lights to make him look scary, but when his much-beloved pet bird inhales the smoke and dies, he collapses in tears over the loss. Most of the humor in Runaway has a natural feel to it much like Beast Cops (which Dante Lam co-directed with Gordon Chan). It's a credit to the actors, as the script probably didn't read as funny as it plays.
     The film just keeps going and going, nearly bordering on mayhem, until the final act. There, director Lam ties everything together in a neatly wrapped (and great looking) action-driven package that leaves no plot point unresolved. The last action sequence is reminiscent of the best buddy pictures and blends comedy and drama expertly. A thoroughly enjoyable picture. (Magicvoice 2002)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen