Hong Kong Rebels Movie Review

Hong Kong Rebels

Though not perfect, this film still exudes authenticity and offers an intriguing view into Hong Kong cinema’s past. Though not reaching the heights of its predecessors such as “Young and Dangerous”. This flick serves as an engaging throwback to genre that is rapidly disappearing from Hong Kong cinema.

Chai, Mao and Kam are three best friends who join forces after assassinating a rival gang leader in the opening scene and quickly advance within their triad faction.
The Story

Story and characters in this movie can be confusing and more depth could be added to them. However the action scenes are fast pace and very well choreographed. While close up shots may not show people getting injured directly, digital blood-and-gore make up for it nicely. Furthermore, unlike typical triad movies where guns are often used against baddies instead of hand-to-hand combat being utilize to take down bad guys – making this action-packed film unique in its approach.

The film follows three men and their fight against China. Of these three is Pang (Jet Li), an ardent pro-democracy activist renowned for his unflinching support of democracy in Hong Kong despite Beijing viewing him as an enemy traitor.

After a Hong Kong triad boss is murder during an anti-government demonstration. His faction leader hires Pang and two road bandits – soon becoming Yau’s right-hand men – to hunt down those responsible. Their loyalty is then put to the test when Pang begins showing signs of losing focus. Ffavoring his personal agenda over that of the rebellion.

Lim effectively utilizes Hong Kongers from all walks of life – clergymen, businesspeople, Cantopop stars and even triad gangsters. As the uprising gathers momentum in his script, drawing upon their rich historical characters to demonstrate racism. And British imperial tendencies shown toward its last major colony before returning it back to China.

Ti Lung returns as director for his second movie of this genre with Hong Kong Legends II, showing his unique flair in this area of filmmaking. Though somewhat disorienting in plot terms, the movie remains entertaining thanks to an outstanding cast. And swift fight scenes which play out more like street brawls than typical martial arts films, yet work well against its backdrop.
The Cast

With Communism colliding with capitalism and clashing cultural myths collapsing into an explosive mix. Hong Kong seems like the ideal location to tell stories of gangsters, turf wars and revenge. However Wayne Wang’s poetically resonant movie shows us it has much deeper layers beneath its surface than meets the eye.

Triad may lead one to believe it’s a sequel of Daniel Chan’s Triad from 2012. But in reality this movie follows an entirely separate plot with Terry Ng Ka-wai as its director and an all-new cast (including Carlos Chan and Michelle Wai appearing as characters from two distinct timelines).

This gangster flick takes place during the turbulent days surrounding Britain’s handover to China, when old grievances and new unrest flared up as old territories fell under Chinese control. Newcomer writer Tom (Zac Dawson) and veteran bad boy Dave (Jason Bradley – often cast with villain roles) hope to make quick cash over summer by infiltrating an illicit drug operation run by junkie Danny (Oliver Williams).

Action in “Keo” is swift and solid; with some scenes of gangster menace requiring additional nuance. Most scenes feature hand-to-hand street fights choreographed amazingly by Lau Kar Wing, Simon Yuen Siu Tien and Eddy Ko. Additionally, an impressive cast features Shaun Tam as the boss of his gang. Christie Chau as his doomed love interest and Isabella Leong returning as drug producing queens – not bad at all!

Stories Forlorn may lack in professional polish and dialogue fluency. But more than makes up for that shortcoming with its refreshing perspective: that of an outsider child in Hong Kong cinema (whether independent or otherwise). Ng has an exceptional grasp of tone and pace throughout. Not leaving even one dull moment during its economical 96 minutes running time.

As opposed to many recent Hong Kong films that focus on social and political issues of today. This one doesn’t shy away from depicting some serious fighting and bloody killings. While Young and Dangerous remains the iconic genre work. This movie offers something similar for fans of gunplay, martial arts and gritty city settings alike.
The Director

While the movie may appear to be straightforward action flick, there’s much more going on behind its seemingly straightforward surface. The story is intricately plot. And director is masterful at creating an atmosphere of tension throughout the film. There may be moments that may cause confusion for audiences but most should find it easy enough to follow along.

This film provides an intimate look at issues brewing in Hong Kong that many don’t realize exist. Not just protests are in focus here – corruption issues affecting every aspect of city government are also explore. As are power struggles between families trying to survive in this dynamic city.

The cast excelled in performing their roles brilliantly and the story is gripping. Cinematography was stunning and overall tone of film was dark and gritty – perfect for anyone that enjoys Asian cinema! This film can only be enjoy by those that love Asian cinema!

Start of with a young man speaking out against the one country two systems formula promised to Hong Kong after its handover to China. He alleges that Beijing government has not kept their end of the agreement and begun taking away freedoms promised to Hong Kong.

Malcolm Clarke has created several documentaries about Hong Kong and its politics. However, this series aimed at younger audiences is different as it explores the underlying causes behind anti-government protests that took place in 2019. Clarke hopes that by showing that these protests weren’t simply between pro-Beijing forces and anti-Beijing forces that they are seeking to demonstrate that politics in Hong Kong are complex rather than simplistically represented as David vs Goliath battles between Davids.

Terry Ng Ka-wai does not disappoint with this solid gangster movie featuring an outstanding cast. Ng is definitely someone to keep an eye on as I can only see more greatness from him in his future projects. While this may not be for everyone, those willing to invest the time may find great pleasure from this flick.
The End

Hong Kong Rebels is a showy movie fill with over-the-top battle scenes and heroic moments, revelling in overblown themes and melodrama. Although this goal may be commendable. Other more humane themes and smaller moments get lost amongst all this mayhem. And may fail to grab your attention as the story goes forward.

Hong Kong Rebels is an enjoyable throwback to an often-familiar yet subdued genre in Hong Kong cinema, the triad genre. While not expected to replace ‘Young and Dangerous’ as the go-to film for fans of these genres. Hong Kong Rebels provides an enjoyable watch that may bring back some nostalgic feelings for viewers.

Beginning strong, Derek Tsang stars as Lau Kin-ping (Derek Tsang), who shares the misfortune that plagues him at home in a small apartment with bickering parents and an infertile brother who wants a baby on both sides. Soon thereafter, however, Lau becomes drawn into drug trafficking activities and must make difficult choices regarding drug shipments and traffickers.

Herman Yau’s script offers an inventive story with many good points; and its execution by actors and director is fantastic. Particularly during neon-lit nightclub and restaurant scenes. Unfortunately, its tone veers too heavily toward toilet humor and absurdism. Had it been less convoluted and more focused, it could have been truly fantastic.

Hong Kong Rebels may become too complex and drawn out for its audience, yet its action remains thrilling and entertaining. There’s plenty of gangster mayhem and gratuitous violence, plus an excellent cast (Lam and Yeung in particular). Fight scenes are thrilling and choreographed well. However, Hong Kong Rebels might require more patience than other modern action movies before you watch it all the way through. Still recommended!

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