Once Upon a Time in Triad Society
Dir: Cha Chuen-yee
Scr: Chung Kai-cheong
Cast: Francis Ng, Loletta Lee, Allen Ting, Edmond So, Lam Sheung-yee, Michael Chan Wai-man
1996 / Colour / D Beta / Cantonese / Chi & Eng Subtitles / 93min
Cha Chuen-yee explodes the popular TriadBoyz genre in this brash, cynical dissection of the popular glamorisation of life in organised crime. Essentially reprising his villainous role from Young and Dangerous, Francis Ng plays Brother Kwan, a truly despicable hoodlum. Within the first five minutes we see him rape and murder with reckless abandon, only to find himself fighting for his life on a hospital stretcher. In two extended flashback sequences, Kwan reminisces on his life's achievements, first painting his universe as one innocent life being flawed by temptation, pressure and betrayal - whether by family, women, or gangland friends - which eventually drives him to become the worst person imaginable. However, Kwan then dismisses his own story as a lie and concedes he has always been bad to the bone, lying and betraying his way through life. Deplorable in almost every way, Ng somehow has the audience rooting for him regardless, while the film races along at breakneck speed, thanks to frenetic camerawork and a script so sharp it draws blood.
Screening Courtesy of Golden Sun Films Distribution Ltd
||Cinema, Hong Kong Film Archive
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