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Shanghai Shanghai
Chinese: 亂世兒女

Anita Mui makes her point

Year: 1990
Director: Teddy Robin
Producer: Corey Yuen Kwai
Writer: Raymond To Kwok-Wai, Calvin Poon Yuen-Leung
Action: Dion Lam Dik-On, Yuen Tak, Corey Yuen Kwai
Cast: Anita Mui Yim-Fong, Yuen Biao, George Lam Chi-Cheung, Sammo Hung Kam-BoSandy Lam Yik-Lin, Tien Niu, Lo Lieh, Lawrence Cheng Tan-Shui, Kirk Wong Chi-Keung, Mang Hoi, Dion Lam Dik-On, Yuen Tak
The Skinny: The stars and the occasional set piece make this action drama worth watching.
by Kozo:

Popular music producer/short guy Teddy Robin directed this period action drama that takes place in the 1930s. Yuen Biao is Small Tiger, a country bumpkin who arrives in Shanghai to make it big. He hooks up with his brother Big Tiger (George Lam), who’s a colonel in the military. Big Tiger is in a long-standing love triangle between Kai Pik (Anita Mui) and Ting Ting (Tien Niu). Though he’s caught between the two women, duty calls when a large amount of money is stolen from the Revolutionary Fund. 

In investigating the money loss, Small Tiger discovers that Kai Pik is in fact a high-ranking revolutionary. However, Kai Pik believes that the money has been stolen by Small Tiger, who’s become a righteous triad at the behest of Kai Pik’s Godfather (Sammo Hung), who’s a pretty big boss in the area. It turns out that Hung is the one who stole the fund, but not before numerous loyalties are tested, in particular the bond between the two brothers who now find themselves on opposite sides of the law. 

A well meaning production, the film unfortunately stalls because of poor plot development. There seems to be little urgency, despite the script telegraphing such. This is all surprising considering that Raymond To was one of the writers. I guess we should all blame Teddy Robin, who’s never proven himself to be much of a director. For some odd reason, the movie clocks in at only 80 minutes, meaning that it never has the chance to explore the characters and situations that it sets up. 

Thankfully there are some distractions that serve to move the film along, if not tie it together entirely. Anita Mui is at her most charismatic, and she handles the action sequences convincingly. Of particular note is the set piece occurs when Mui and Yuen Biao fight while dancing in a nightclub. Also, this film marks one of the few screen appearances of popstar Sandy Lam, as well as a rare villain turn by Sammo Hung. It’s unfortunate that a better overall film couldn’t have been made, but for brief flashes Shanghai Shanghai can be as entertaining as they come. (Kozo 1998)


DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Joy Sales
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

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