Monday, July 10, 2006

Young and Dangerous, Part 2

So what is this Young and Dangerous part 2, you ask? Is there somewhere a Young and Dangerous part 1 to be found? The answer to this is Aye, There Is, but it is not to be found here.

Young and Dangerous was a long-running series of Triad films out of Hong Kong. Directed by Wai Keung Lau (better known in the states as Andrew Lau), they seem to tell the story of a group of young punks who join the Triads and work their way to the top. Or so I'm guessing based on how these narratives usually work, since I've only seen the second one in the series. The point is, I'm under the impression that it's the series that was actually huge in Hong Kong right when I was getting into Hong Kong movies, and it also seems to be the series that brought us Jordan Chan, Nicholas Tse, and the ever-lovable Ekin Cheng. So after reading 50 reviews of films with these guys in them, talking about how they're stretching form their iconic roles as gangsters--and realizing I'd never seen a single one of them play a gangster--I decided I needed to watch as much of the series as I could (which is apparently a noncontinuous half of it, unless I decide to buy them).

So anyways, the movie was fun. There was much confusion at first, as half of the movie is a flashback showing what happened to Jordan Chan's character during the first movie (not available in the US), which then catches up to present day and continues from there. We knew none of this, so you can imagine how that went. I would like to say the movie was in fact great, but I can't quite commit to that. The video and sound quality were both subpar, and the subtitles felt even more crap than usual. At the very least, the subtitles were holding us back from following and appreciating the film. So as a package, I've got to give it 3.5 stars. It had some great moments and seemed to be well-written, well-directed and well-acted (Anthony Wong, particularly, chewed scenery like nobody's business while seeming to approach his role as Ron Jeremy playing the Gary Oldman character from True Romance). But the package held me back just enough to keep me from really getting into it.

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