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A War Named Desire

Gigi Leung gets tough in A War Named Desire

Year: 2000
Director: Alan Mak Siu-Fai
Producer: Joe Ma Wai-Ho
Cast: Francis Ng Chun-Yu, Daniel Chan Hiu-Tung, Dave Wong Kit, Gigi Leung Wing-Kei, Sam Lee Chan-Sam, Pace Wu (Ng Pui-Chi), David Lee Wai-Seung, Grace Lam Nga-Si
The Skinny: An engrossing crime thriller with dynamite performances from Francis Ng and Gigi Leung. Fans of the Milky Way films should take a look.
by Kozo:
     In the abscence of Milky Ways sublime crime thrillers, the Brilliant Idea Group have managed to fill the void with this overwrought but affecting crime drama. Director Alan Mak (Rave Fever, Nude Fear) shows hes one to watch with his effective and entertaining third feature. 
     Based on a Chinese comic book, the film tells the story of Chun (Daniel Chan), who arrives in Thailand with his girlfriend Jess (Pace Wu) to search for his long-lost older brother Charles (Francis Ng). It turns out Charles is a triad boss, and a well-respected one at that. However, he becomes targeted for a frame-up by evil triad guy David Lee. The frame-up implicates Chun, and now Charles must choose whether or not to save him. If he chooses to save his brother, he invites a multitude of gangsters to gun him down. What's a brother to do? 
     Charles' plight is embodied with the greatest of dignity by Francis Ng, whos fast becoming HKs most versatile actor. Charles is a righteous guy who is tough on the exterior but compassionate underneath. Hes mean to Chun, but his harshness masks his affection for his only brother. Furthermore, Charles shares an unspoken and quite affecting relationship Snow, a tough bar owner played by a thoroughly amazing Gigi Leung. Long considered an unskilled, wooden actress, Leung brings strength and even a world-weary resolve to her character. Her quiet, powerful performance is the centerpiece of the film.
     Mak keeps things moving and allows each character to have their own moments, with most of the actors acquitting themselves decently. Sadly, Daniel Chan has yet to find a movie that demonstrates anything other than his popstar status, and newcomer Pace Wu is extremely blank. Dave Wong Kit and Sam Lee both turn in good support, but this movie belongs to Francis Ng and Gigi Leung, who get the lions share of the acting accolades. While not sharing the same edginess nor resonance as a Milky Way flick, Alan Mak's thriller is bound to impress a good number of people. (Kozo 2000)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Mei Ah Laser Disc Co., Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen