Chan Ho-Nam is in for possibly his toughest challenge yet in this fifth installment of the saga, which is Chicken-less.
Chan Ho-Nam, the Hung Hung branch leader of Causeway Bay, has begun to mature. Under the guidance of Hung Hing boss Chiang Tin-Yeung, he has transitioned from wearing leather jackets to wearing business suits. Chiang tells Nam that it is important now that Hong Kong has been handed over to China to impress rich people rather than start trouble. After an incident at his bar finds Nam meeting a Tung Sing gangster with the name Szeto Ho-Nam, in which Szeto intends to take over Causeway Bay, Nam finds an old friend as now a newspaper seller. Big Head was once a Hung Hing member who took the rap in a murder, spending eight years in prison. Big Head tells Nam he no longer wants to be a gangster.
However, when Tung Sing member Ho Yung sets Big Head’s newspaper stall on fire for refusing to pay protection money, a match results in Big Head rejoining the gang. Meanwhile, Nam strikes a deal to partner with Malaysian Datuk Chan Ka-Nam in a real estate business but at the same time the Datuk has organized a boxing tournament with the support of Szeto Ho-Nam. One of the other partners in the business deal, Uncle Seven, has a niece, Mei Ling, who falls for Nam. However, Nam soon learns there is betrayal arising not to mention that new ICAC Inspector Lee is watching Nam carefully. Finally convinced that Szeto Ho-Nam is responsible for some of the events that transpire, he must settle the score once and for all and reclaim Causeway Bay.
Something just doesn’t feel right with this fifth installment of the saga. It is clear that the series’ steam is running out and not exactly in the best way. With the death of one of the Hung Hing boys in the previous film and Chicken missing from this installment, the film seems to have a lackluster feel. Without Chicken there to support his longtime friend, it just doesn’t seem to feel right.
The remaining trio consists of Chan Ho-Nam, once again played by Ekin Cheng, who has to carry the weight virtually by himself; Pou-Pan, played by Jerry Lamb; and Banana Skin, played by Jason Chu. However, the film’s saving grace may possibly be that of Big Head, played by Chin Ka-Lok. We learn that Big Head was a respected member of the gang who after his prison sentence had no intentions of rejoining until he is pretty much pushed to the limit. The reason why Big Head may be the film’s saving grace is because the film’s culmination scene involves a kickboxing match between himself and Tung Sing member Ho Yung, played by Karel Wong, who plays it well as an arrogant pompous fighter.
While Roy Cheung’s villain characters from the previous two films were menacing and charismatic, Mark Cheng’s Szeto Ho-Nam doesn’t make much of an impact here. It is as if he is there just to appear to play mind games until he is forced to face Chan Ho-Nam in the finale. It goes without saying that when given the right roles, Mark Cheng can be a good actor. However, this film doesn’t showcase anything noteworthy that would solidify Cheng. As for Shu Qi, she appears as the new love interest of Chan Ho-Nam, and while Nam still harbors feelings for his dead Smartie and a failed attempt at love in the last film, he finally finds himself mature enough to give love another chance. Vincent Wan, Sandra Ng, and Anthony Wong return in more extended cameos in their respected roles as Hung Hing members Ben Hon, Sister 13, and Tai Fei.
Young and Dangerous 5 is a disappointing installment of the saga thanks to Ekin Cheng virtually carrying the film himself and Mark Cheng’s unimpressive villain. However, Shu Qi and Chin Ka-Lok both nearly save the film from total failure.
WFG RATING: C-
Golden Harvest presents an Everwide (H.K.) Limited production. Director: Andrew Lau. Producer: Manfred Wong. Writers: Manfred Wong and Chau Ting; based on the comic “Teddy Boy” by Cow Man. Cinematography: Andrew Lau. Editing: Marco Mak.
Cast: Ekin Cheng, Shu Qi, Mark Cheng, Chin Ka-Lok, Jerry Lamb, Jason Chu, Danny Lee, Paul Chang, Anthony Wong, Alex Man, Vincent Wan, Sandra Ng, Lee Siu-Kei, Karel Wong, Wong Tin-Lam.