HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween
Last Picture Show, The
Pathfinder
Skatetown, USA
Donbass
He Loves Me... He Loves Me Not
Mary Poppins Returns
Beyond the Sky
Sorry to Bother You
Last Days, The
Man Who Killed Hitler and Then The Bigfoot, The
Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story
Once Upon a Time in London
King Lear
Under the Silver Lake
Satan's Mistress
Border
Lemonade Joe
Earth Maiden Arjuna
Sons of Katie Elder, The
Soldier, The
Mr. Topaze
Aquaman
One, Two, Three
Bad Times at the El Royale
Caretaker, The
Old Man and the Gun, The
Song of Bernadette, The
Creed II
Anna and the Apocalypse
Return of the Hero
White Reindeer, The
Lizzie
Wicked, Wicked
Faces Places
Strange Woman, The
Ralph Breaks the Internet
Sky Bandits
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Devil's Sword, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Monster Dog: Cujo on Blu-ray
For Christ's Sake: Jesus Christ Superstar and The Last Temptation of Christ
Not In Front of the Children: Inappropriate Kids Movies
Deeper into Ozploitation: Next of Kin and Fair Game
Between the Wars: Babylon Berlin Series 1&2 on DVD
Hard Luck Story: Detour on Blu-ray
Oh, What Happened to You? The Likely Lads on Blu-ray
Killer Apps: The Rise of the Evil 60s Supercomputers
How 1970s Can You Get? Cliff Richard in Take Me High vs Never Too Young to Rock
A Perfect Engine, An Eating Machine: The Jaws Series
Phwoar, Missus! Sexytime for Hollywood
He-Maniacs: Ridiculous 80s Action
All's Welles That Ends Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 1 on DVD
Shut It! The Sweeney Double Bill: Two Blu-rays from Network
Network Sitcom Movie Double Bill: Till Death Us Do Part and Man About the House on Blu-ray
   
 
  Chasing the Dragon Bad Guy Business ModelBuy this film here.
Year: 2017
Director: Wong Jing, Jason Kwan
Stars: Donnie Yen, Andy Lau, Philip Keung, Kang Yu, Kent Cheng, Bryan Larkin, Philip Ng, Niki Chow, Chun Wong, Jai Day, Julian Gaertner, Philippe Joly, Bianca Stam, Kenneth Tsang, Felix Wong, Xu Dongdong, Terence Yin
Genre: Action, Thriller, Biopic
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Ng-sik Ho (Donnie Yen) casts his mind back to before he was nicknamed Crippled Ho and was an immigrant from China into Hong Kong with a group of his friends, arriving with merely the shirts on their backs and looking to get together with one of the gangs there who they feel will provide for them. Meanwhile, police inspector Lok Lui (Andy Lau) does his best to negotiate the world of law and order, but finds that far easier said than done when the corruption has taken such a hold on the territory, with frequent collusions between the criminals and the authorities a daily event. These two men are about to cross paths, and a curious respect will develop, but is there any such thing as integrity here?

With Chasing the Dragon, Donnie Yen teamed up with Andy Lau for the first time, two Hong Kong superstars who seemed obvious to pair for a movie, yet somehow had not occurred before then. It took veteran director and producer Wong Jing to do so, working with Yen after a gap of at least two decades, though the material found them all on relatively restrained form in comparison to the excesses of crime flicks from that part of the world back when they were all operating under the wild New Wave parameters where anything went as long as it meant the audience could go away entertained, and come back for more. Here the Chinese authorities were making a distinct impression.

Therefore although the plot was based on a true story, there genuinely was a gangster named Crippled Ho who ran a huge drugs ring back in the late nineteen-sixties through to the seventies, the film was curiously reluctant to show him getting down to the depths of depravity that he would have in real life. This was presumably down to China cracking down on the Hong Kong entertainment industry, but if you had been a fan of the madness that many an action thriller these two stars had made their names in regularly exhibited, there was a slightly dispiriting sense of the material toned down to be almost tame, not something you would associate with them back in the nineties, pre-handover.

Another issue was that neither Yen nor Lau was comfortable essaying villainous roles at this stage in their careers, a pity especially in the former's case when he had been so effective at them, therefore the inspector was a noble and upstanding type who is more sinned against than sinning - yet so was Ho! Sure, we see the gang boss meting out occasional violence, with the star's accustomed martial arts prowess toned down to a straight brawl, but for the most part this was one of the most moral drug gang lords you would ever see. Again, blame the authorities, but the prospect of watching Yen go full Al Pacino in Scarface was a mouthwatering one, and we were largely denied it, no matter that he was able to show off his acting chops in other ways; the parts where he lost his temper and unleashed fury illustrated what this could have been.

Patriotism was another factor, even in a gangster tale the bad guys had to be model citizens, so the actual villain was a one-dimensional British police Commissioner named Ernest Hunt (Bryan Larkin) who swears like how's your father and resembled a gangster himself, something out of The Sweeney perhaps. All of this was to establish the United Kingdom's colonial power as the real evil in Hong Kong, should any audiences there be feeling any nostalgia for those far off days, so they would be put right by the revelation that the near-constant crime wave was all sorted out now thanks to the Chinese Government. So eager to pussyfoot around the issues was Chasing the Dragon that it came across as disappointingly neutered from the off, so if you were a star fancier you would get a kick out of Yen and Lau together at last - don't underestimate their star power - but they were rarely given material worthy of them and their undoubted and proven potential. Plus you had the elegantly physical Donnie Yen hobbling around with a bad leg and a cane for the second half of the movie - something not right there. Music by Chan Kwong Wing.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 716 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Shrimpton
Darren Jones
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: