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To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui
Chinese: 新邊緣人
Jacky Cheung
Year: 1994
Director: Andrew Lau Wai-Keung
Producer: Wong Jing
Cast: Jacky Cheung Hok-Yau, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Wu Chien-Lien, Roy Cheung Yiu-Yeung, Chan Kwok-Bong, Gigi Lai Chi, Xiong Xin-Xin, Kong Wah, Shing Fui-On, Mimi Chu Mi-Mi, Parkman Wong Pak-Man, Lee Siu-Kei, Bat Leung-Gum, Candy Hau Woon-Ling
The Skinny: Earlier traid flick from Mr. Young and Dangerous, Andrew Lau. Jacky Cheung is excellent in this otherwise typical triad potboiler.
by Kozo:

Earlier cops and triads flick from Andrew Lau, who later scored with the Young and Dangerous movies. Jacky Cheung stars as an undercover cop who finds himself tortured by his life among the triads. He’s locked into his job with no way out, and he’s starting to find the triad guys (led by “The Triad Actor,” Roy Cheung) more honorable than his supremely despicable superior officer (Kong Wah). 

The problems he faces are numerous. He can't reveal to his girlfriend (Gigi Lai) what his real occupation is, for fear that it'll blow his cover. As a result, he's despised and ridiculed for being a punk instead of revered for his bravery as an undercover cop. What’s the use of being a good cop? If you’re good, you end up like Shing Fui-On, who plays the “cop who’s about to retire, but is sent out one last time.” Guess what happens to him? I won't tell you, but anybody who's seen a cop genre film could give you the answer damn quick.

As a result of genre conventions like the above, the film becomes predictable and the angst rather old. Still, Jacky Cheung is great and the film stays interesting throughout. Roy Cheung is actually rather likable in his role, which is great considering he makes such a menacing and despicable bad guy. Wu Chien-Lien appears against type as Roy Cheung's sister, a problem child who just needs a good guy (like Jacky Cheung) to set her straight. Despite that pitiful bit of character development, her performance and character are engaging. Tony Leung Ka-Fai provides able support as one of Jacky's triad friends. 

Nothing really new occurs here, but this turns out to be a reasonably entertaining genre picture. Andrew Lau is a capable, if not spectacular director. Jacky Cheung was nominated for Best Actor at the 1994 Hong Kong Film Awards but lost to Tony Leung Chiu-Wai for Chungking Express. (Kozo 1996)


image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd.

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