Shu Qi

The Adventurers (2017)

theadventurers Hong-kong-icon

Andy Lau attempts at the biggest heist of his life in this loose adaptation of a John Woo classic from actor/musician turned director Stephen Fung.

Five years ago, master thief Zhang Dan attempted to steal one third of a prominent necklace known as Gaia. However, he found himself set up and put in prison. Having now been released, Zhang intends to find out who set him up while attempting to get the remaining pieces of Gaia so he can retire. Joining forces with his protege Chen Po and new team member Red Ye, Zhang finds himself trailed by French police officer Pierre, who was the very officer who put Zhang in jail five years ago.

When Zhang and his team successfully infiltrate a popular actress’ event and steals her necklace, which was up for auction for a charity, Zhang has one piece left to get. To accomplish this, Zhang must use Red as a pawn to infiltrate rich man Charlie Luo to get that final piece of Gaia. Meanwhile, Pierre finds himself an ally in Amber Li, an expert in curation who was once Zhang’s fiancee. While Pierre and Amber are hot on Zhang’s trail, complications will soon arise, threatening to end this final heist for the master thief.

You have got to hand it to Stephen Fung. The actor and musician turned director has churned out quite a filmography when it comes to his directing. From his directorial debut in 2004’s Enter the Phoenix to 2012’s kung fu-steampunk hybrid Tai Chi Zero and Tai Chi Hero, Fung’s brand of action has gained quite a following. His latest film, a loose adaptation of the John Woo classic Once a Thief, is a fun and wild action ride that keeps you wanting to root for our central character, master thief Zhang Dan.

And who better to play this thief than the Heavenly King Andy Lau? Lau is wonderful as the central character who thrives in doing his job but still feels conflicted. Having been released from prison in the film’s opening, Zhang feels he must get the job done as well as find out who was responsible for putting him in prison in the first place. The legendary Jean Reno serves as the “cat” to Lau’s “mouse” in the game as his Pierre is convinced that Zhang is not finished with business yet. However, despite his misgivings, there seems to be a line of respect between the two that goes back to the very day Zhang is arrested, resulting in that prison time.

Yo Yang serves up comic relief as Zhang’s protege Po, who when doing his scenes with Shu Qi (who married director Fung during the making of the film), attempts at wooing her with well, the expected results of rejection. Zhang Jingchu is perhaps the most conflicted character in Amber, the ex-fiancee of Zhang who wants to help Pierre perhaps for revenge, but yet still has a bit of a flame for her ex-lover. Eric Tsang makes the most of his role as Kong, Zhang’s mentor and handler, while Sha Yi gets the most of his role as Charlie, the owner of one of the Gaia pieces, with whom Shu Qi must use some flirtation with in order for the team to nab it.

The action sequences are quite fun. While they don’t really comprise of fistacuffs, they are still fun nonetheless. There are vehicle chase scenes that are up to par with the likes of The Transporter and Ronin amongst others. Shane Hurlbut’s cinematography is quite impressive when it comes to both action and the amazing aerial shots of the cities the film was set in, as Fung decided to use drone technology to capture these amazing views of the cities.

In conclusion, The Adventurers is a pretty fun heist flick. It is clear why Stephen Fung has truly made his mark on directing action films. Some great performances by Andy Lau and Jean Reno, blended some some stunning cinematography of the cities and some nice twists and turns in the film make this worth checking out.


Infinitus Motion Pictures present a Mannix Filming Co. Ltd. Production in association with Media Asia Films. Director: Stephen Fung. Producers: Stephen Fung, Andy Lau, Jiang Ping, Chen Jiande, Tomas Krejci, and Radomir Docekai. Writers: Stephen Fung, Lo Yiu-Fai, Steve Ha, Cheung Chi-Kwong, and Wong Hiu-Chong. Cinematography: Shane Hurlbut. Editing: Angie Lam and Joel Cox.

Cast: Andy Lau, Jean Reno, Shu Qi, Zhang Jingchu, Yo Yang, Eric Tsang, Sha Yi, You Tian-Yi, Karel Dobry.


Well Go USA Lands Fung’s “The Adventurers”


Stephen Fung‘s latest action adventure film will be landing in the U.S. thanks to the gang at Well Go USA.

The Adventurers, a loose remake of the classic John Woo film Once a Thief, stars Andy Lau as a thief who after a three-year imprisonment sets out on a major heist in Europe with a French detective, played by Jean Reno, hot on his trail.

Shu Qi, Eric Tsang, Tony Yang, and Zhang Jingchu co-star in the film which Fung and Lau serving as producers with a script by Fung, Cheung Chi-Kwong, Andy Lo and Steve Ha.

The film will get its Chinese release on August 11 and Well Go USA’s release is coming in the near future. In the meantime, check out their trailer for the film:

H/T: Film Combat Syndicate

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons (2013)

journeytothewestctd Hong-kong-iconchina-icon

2013, Village Roadshow Pictures Asia/Edko Films/China Film Co./Huayi Brothers Media/Chinavision Media Group/Bingo Movie Development

Stephen Chow
Stephen Chow
Wang Zhonglei
Ivy Kong
Zhang Dajun
Stephen Chow
Derek Kwok
Lola Huo
Wang Yun
Andrew Fung
Lu Zhengyu
Jiro Lee
Ivy Kong
Choi Sung-Fai
Gao Hu
Andy Chan

Wen Zhang (Chan Xuanzang)
Shu Qi (Miss Duan)
Show Lo (Prince Vacant/Prince Important)
Huang Bo (Monkey King)
Jiro Lee (Fish Demon)
Chen Bing-Qiang (Pig Demon)
Cheng Si-Han (Master Nameless)
Xing Yu (Fist of the North Star)
Lu Zhengyu (Chief Goblin)
Chiu Chi-Ling (2nd Goblin)
Yang Di (3rd Goblin)
Chrissie Chau (4th Goblin)
Ge Hangyu (5th Goblin)

Hong Kong’s comedy king, Stephen Chow, returns to the director’s chair with an all-new comic adaptation of the classic novel Journey to the West, which starts with how the future monk Tripitika meets the future heroes who join him on the titular journey.

In a small village, there have been myths of a fish demon who has been wreaking havoc. When little girl Sheng and her fisherman father play one day, the nightmare is believed to be true when the father, in an attempt to play with his daughter while swimming, is killed by the demon. When a Taoist priest attempts to exorcise the demon, he thinks he succeeded until demon hunter Chen Xuanzang reveals that the demon may still be around. At first, the village laughs it off until Chen proves to be correct. When the demon is captured, he turns human with Chen attempting to save him, until he is beaten by the demon. Miss Duan, a more forceful demon hunter, arrives and beats the demon down and turns him into a puppet.

Xuanzang becomes convinced that the way he has learned to hunt demons is ineffective but his master forces him to find “enlightenment”. Teaming with Miss Duan, Xuanzang learns of a local restaurant where the chef in charge is actually a pig demon. After an attempt to stop him fails, they learn that the only one capable to stop him is the Monkey King, a mischievous demon who has been imprisoned for 500 years. However, when they free him to help him stop the Pig Demon, will anyone be able to control the Monkey King and tame him before he wreaks havoc?

Stephen Chow truly is Hong Kong’s comedy king. After his final acting appearance in 2011’s ensemble piece The Founding of a Republic, Chow goes strictly behind the scenes as co-writer, co-producer, and director of this new loose adaptation of the classic Journey to the West. Chow has tackled this before in the 1994 two-part epic A Chinese Odyssey, where he took the central role of the Monkey King and his reincarnated soul, a wise-cracking troublemaker named Joker. Under Chow’s direction, it is clear that this is a Stephen Chow movie just with Chow actually in it

The core cast is great in the film, led by Wen Zhang as the “untidy” demon hunter Xuanzang, who will find his destiny to become the monk Tripitika. The major difference between him and Shu Qi, who plays fellow demon hunter Duan, are the methods they use to hunt down demons. Xuanzang reads a children’s nursery rhyme book to find the goodness within demons while Duan uses more force and unleashes a series of beatdowns in an attempt to trap them like Ghostbusters.

Huang Bo also brings a combination of hysterics and scares as the Monkey King. The hysterics come in his introductory form, which brings reminiscence of the Beast’s intro in Kung Fu Hustle, another Chow film. However, when the Monkey King goes into full demon mode, it is quite shocking and in one pivotal scene, it will have you thinking of the hit manga and anime Dragon Ball, itself a loose adaptation of the classic novel with hero Son Goku based on the Monkey King. Jiro Lee’s Fish Demon is introduced in a very funny manner in terms of his transformation from monster fish to human. And to add that Chow taste of humor, the see saw attempt to get the demon on shore is perhaps one of the most hilarious scenes in the film.

Dee Dee Ku, the action choreographer of the hit AMC series Into the Badlands, did the action directing here and brings that fantasy style of wuxia action mixed in with some believable CGI effects. Shu Qi gets some great action in the film, especially with the Pig Demon battles. The demon battles are quite a delight to watch as well as they have a few scares but they are what we expect in a Stephen Chow film. The film released a sequel with a new cast in 2017, Journey to the West: The Demons Strike Back, with Chow as co-writer and co-producer with the legendary Tsui Hark taking the reins as director.

Journey to the West: Conquering the Demons is a fun Stephen Chow film without Chow in front of the screens. A great cast supplies Chow’s brand of humor mixed in with a few scares but some believable CGI and pretty good action scenes. Truly a fun ride!



REVIEW: Mojin – The Lost Legend (Film & Blu-Ray) (2015)

Mojin-Poster-1080 china-icon

2015, Wanda Media/Wanda Pictures/Huayi Brothers Media Corp./Beijing Enlight Pictures/Meridian Entertainment/Zhejiang Blue Star International/Mongke Tengri Pictures/CKF Pictures

Chen Kuo-Fu
Jerry Ye
Wu Xuejun
Zhang Jialu (screenplay)
Tian Xia Ba Chang (original novel “Gui Chui Deng”)
Jake Pollock
Du Yuan

Chen Kun (Hu Bayi)
Huang Bo (Wang Kaixuan)
Shu Qi (Shirley Yang)
Angelababy (Ding Sitian)
Xia Yu (Grill)
Liu Xiao-Qing (Ying Caihong)
Cherry Ngan (Yoko)
Jonathan Kos-Read (Mark)

A meshing of Tomb Raider and Chinese mythology with a dash of The Mummy films takes us on a very dangerous excursion in Mongolia.

The “Mojin Xiaowei” were a trio of tomb raiders who would rob graves to get their on treasures. However, they must follow rules and when an excursion went wrong, the trio decided to make a pact never to return to tomb raiding and fled to New York. Two of the members, Hu Bayi and Wang Kaixuan have resorted to living on the streets hocking fake goods while female member Shirley Yang has become a legal citizen and still has feelings for Hu after a drunken one-night stand. However, Wang is about to somehow bring the trio back to their old days.

Grill, a conman, is asked to bring Wang to a local pub where he meets Mark and Yoko, the loyal followers to cult leader Ying Caihong. Ying has asked Wang to go to Mongolia to find the tomb of a princess. However, the real artifact to be found is the Equinox Flower, which is believed to transcend between the living and the dead. To make matters worse, Hu knows all about the so-called “tomb” as he and Wang have experienced it twenty years ago, which resulted in the death of Hu’s first love, Ding Sitian. Knowing what can transpire, Hu and Shirley decide they have no choice but to follow Wang and stop him from making what could be the biggest mistake of his life.

Based on a novel, director Wuershan brings this film to life that brings up to mind Tomb Raider along with shades of the Mummy franchise with Brendan Fraser. The film’s setting in the late 1980’s makes for it quite well thanks to the cast, notably Chen Kun and Shu Qi as the on-and-off couple Hu Bayi and Shirley Yang.

Chen Kun, who underwent a different look as opposed to his usual model-like looks, is quite fun to watch as Hu Bayi. For those who like the Mummy franchise, Hu Bayi is somewhat reminiscent in terms of attitude and action of Fraser’s Rick O’Connell. However, he tends to make a more serious approach and is quite the puzzle solver, which is where the Chinese mythology, notably that of Ba Gua, comes into play. Shu Qi on the other hand, enjoys the action, but is more of a flawed and scorned woman for the most part. When she starts to call Hu Bayi names, it eventually gets to a point that becomes extremely annoying.

Huang Bo, the third of the Mojin Xiaowei, brings a bit of comic relief as the money hungry Wang, who also still holds a bit of an obsession for living in the past. Xia Yu may seem somewhat annoying as well as Grill, but he actually brings out some funny characterization when he constantly talks just to get on the villains’ good side. Which brings us to Liu Xiao-Qian’s cult leader who spends half of her screen time quiet but spends the other time very concerned as if she has a reason why she wants the Equinox Flower so bad. While Jonathan Kos-Read’s Mark is the type of guy who one can’t wait for to get his demise, Cherry Ngan’s Yoko is quite exciting to watch with her ruthlessness. Angelababy makes the most of her screen time in the flashback scenes as Ding, whose demise cause a sort of constant obsession from both Hu and Wang.

The special effects are nicely done and help enhance the adventure of the trio of heroes. They help bring out both the action and at times the comic relief of the film. You may not necessarily need to know much about Chinese history to enjoy the film as it becomes pretty much explained and helps drive the film.

Mojin: The Lost Legend is a mixed bag of a fun ride that may have some flaws in the characters of Shu Qi and Jonathan Kos-Read, but overall, it is quite enjoyable to watch, especially if you like films such as Tomb Raider and The Mummy franchise.


The DVD & Blu-Ray will be coming out on May 3 from Well Go USA. Here’s what to expect on the Blu-Ray:

The Making of the Film: A behind the scenes look at the film, which took three years to make. There are shots of location shooting in New York City, Mongolia, and Beijing. There are interviews with cast and crew about the film.

Chen Kun – Chen Guevara: A look at Chen Kun’s transformation from looking like a model to looking like Che Guevara. Shu Qi makes a joke about a “bromance” between Chen and co-star Huang Bo that may have been a little too far?!

Huang Bo and His Love of Hair: Co-star Huang Bo has been known for playing characters with long hair, and jokes this may be his most handsome yet. He and Chen Kun make jabs at each other and look for a little Dragon Ball reference in this segment.

Trailers: There are trailers for this film as well as The Great Hypnotist, Lost in Hong Kong, and Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal.

The Blu-Ray’s special features provide a bit of laughs behind the scenes in terms of the Chen Kun and Huang Bo segments. The making of the film may be about four minutes, but it gives a general background of the film’s making. It would be nice to get a better understanding of why the film took three years to make from the novel. However, for the most part, it holds its own.


If you would like to pre-order the DVD & Blu-Ray, click the image below:


REVIEW: The Assassin (2015)


2015, Spotfilms Co. Ltd./Central Motion Pictures International Corp./Sil-Metropole Organisation Ltd.

Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Hou Hsiao-Hsien
Liao Ching-Song
Ren Yue
Stephen Shin
Cheung Hong-Fat
Stanley Tong
Zhong A-Cheng (screenplay)
Chu Tien-Wen (screenplay)
Hsieh Hsi-Meng (screenplay)
Pei Xing (original novel, “Nie Yinniang”)
Mark Lee
Liao Chang-Song

Shu Qi (Nie Yinniang)
Chang Chen (Governor Tian Ji’an)
Zhou Yun (Lady Tian)
Satoshi Tsubamaki (The Mirror Polisher)
Ethan Juan (Xia Jing)
Hsieh Hsin-Ying (Hu Ji)
Ni Dahong (Provost Nie Feng)
Yong Mei (Nie Tang)
Sheu Fang-Yi (Princess Jiacheng/Princess Jiaxin)

After nearly a decade in development, renowned Taiwanese auteur Hou Hsiao-Hsien brings his foray into martial arts film with this very grounded film that is driven by a stellar performance by lead actress Shu Qi.

In 9th-Centuty China, Nie Yianning is a young woman who since the age of ten, was raised by a princess turned Taoist nun, Jiaxin. Jiaxin has trained Nie to train in the arts of assassination. However, Nie is only assigned to kill corrupt officials. When she refuses to kill one such governor because she was moved by his young son, Jiaxin is compelled to tell Nie that while she is good with her skills, her heart is still plagued by human emotions. To test Nie, she sends her back to her childhood home of Weibo Province to kill Governor Tian Ji’an. However, Tian and Nie have quite a history together.

Tian Ji’an was once to be betrothed to Nie, until Tian’s mother, Princess Jiacheng, had decided that the Weibo Province and the Imperial Court was to forge an alliance through Tian marrying someone from the Court. This results in a betrayed Nie being taken in by Jiaxin. However, Nie learns that Tian is being set up to be escorted to take over a new post, but is to be ambushed by a possible rival in Xue Chaocheng. When Nie’s father, the Provost of the area, learns of his daughter’s skills, he admits regrets for letting Jiaxin take her in, but sees that Nie could actually be an asset to Tian, even though Tian knows that Nie is back in town with the intent to murder him. How will the complicated lives of these two turn out in the end?

Director Hou Hsiao-Hsien has not made a film in the past seven years because he has been working hard on developing this film. He has always wanted to make a martial arts film, but he had to make sure it was perfect in terms of his vision. He has finally unleashed this film, based on the Pei Xing novel Nie Yinniang, which is the name of our central character. What he has brought is a martial arts film that isn’t close to being a mindless action film, but a deeply emotional tale of one assassin and her decisions as to where her heart belongs.

Shu Qi and director Hou work well together, this being their third collaboration (following 2001’s Millennium Mambo and 2005’s Three Times). It seems if there is one director who can help Shu Qi hone some great acting skills, it is Hou and this film is perhaps Shu Qi’s best performance to date. As the titular “assassin”, Shu brings Nie as a woman torn between her job of killing and her humanity. Interestingly enough, Chang Chen plays Nie’s one betrothed and current target, Tian Ji’an. While he boasts about Nie to his concubine Hu Ji, played by Hsieh Hsin-Ying, it is clear that Tian has truly moved on and no longer sees Nie as someone he loves. While he was in a forced marriage in a wasted effort to unify the Imperial Court and the Weibo Province, Tian truly seems to have found his true love in Hu Ji.

Sheu Fang-Yi performs really well in the dual roles of Tian’s mother Jiacheng and Nie’s martial arts teacher, Jiaxin. While we see Jiacheng in flashback scenes, it is the role of Jiaxin which Sheu brings a sense of being a stern teacher who tells Nie not to let her emotions get in the way of getting the job done. Zhou Yun does quite well as Lady Tian as well while Japanese actor Satoshi Tsumabaki does a great job as a mirror polisher who gets himself involved in the impending battle between the Court and the Weibo Province.

Those expecting an abundance of wirework and memorable fights will heavily be disappointed as this is not what director Hou has envisioned. There is very little wire assistance in the film’s action scenes with a more grounded feel to them but they are done quite swiftly to bring a depth to the actual story. Perhaps the only flaw of this entire film is that while the action scenes are sporadic, the film tends to move at a sluggish pace and if you aren’t here to enjoy the story, you actually might find yourself quite bored with the final result. If you are looking for a combination of a deep story mixed in with some action here and there, this could be your film.

The Assassin is a very deep and moving story, despite a somewhat sluggish pace overall. However, the film’s grounded action scenes and the performances of the cast, especially Shu Qi and Sheu Fang-Yi, make this one a definite watch on screen.


Well Go USA Home Entertainment will be releasing this film on DVD and Blu-Ray on January 26, 2016. The special features include a four-part behind the scenes involving the development of the story, the actors discussing their “no rehearsal” style, the action scenes, and the look of the Tang Dynasty brought to life; as well as trailers for this film, Ip Man 3, Mojin: The Lost Legend, and Memories of the Sword. Pre-order the film by clicking below:


Portland Street Blues (1998)



The story of Hung Hing’s female boss Sister 13 is revealed in this prequel that becomes a showcase for lead actress Sandra Ng, plus an actually pretty good turn from Shu Qi.

Fa-Fit, a member of Luen Wo gang, unsuccessfully makes a deal with Hung Hing boss Sister 13 to boost the prostitution trade in Portland Street. When Fa-Fit attempts to threaten 13, he is thwarted by Uncle Pun, the boss of Tung Sing, who also happens to be 13’s birth uncle. 13 learns that her current lover, Sasa, is responsible for the events that took place. 13 has Sasa punished and after a drinking binge, falls asleep in the car of her cohort, fellow boss Ben Hon. Then, the story of 13 is revealed.

13 is the daughter of Tat, a Hung Hing rascal who follows Ugly Kwan. 13 and her best friend Yun watch Coke, a Tung Sing fighter as 13 has a huge crush on him. Meanwhile, Tat has been getting bullied by boss SOB, who thinks he is better than everyone else. When 13 and Yun learn that Tat has been robbed of his Mark Six winnings by SOB, they attempt to get revenge by setting up SOB to have fun with Yun. However, when the ruse is revealed, 13 is nearly obliterated when Tat arrives but accidentally drops the blade to kill SOB. In a fit of rage, SOB kills Tat but luckily 13 is saved by a young woman, “Scarface” Kei, who was once the lover of Tung Sing tyrant James, but left her because he never cared for her as much as she loved him. When 13 finally has the chance to kill James, she gets Kei to help and thus, 13 becomes the new boss of Portland Street. However, when she learns Coke was involved in the beating of fellow Hung Hing member Prince, she finds herself torn between her admiration for Coke and her loyalty to Hung Hing.

After the release of the pretty bad Young and Dangerous 5, the makers of the saga decided to take a break and begin to focus on characters that have made an impact aside from Ho-Nam and the boys. While Once Upon a Time in Triad Society, released in 1996, featured Francis Ng as Kwan, it was seen as a pseudo-spinoff if you will, as the film bears almost no relation to the saga. However, this film, directed by Raymond Yip, a protégé of Wong Jing, does connect to the saga and focus on the character of the androgynous Sister 13, who made her debut in Young and Dangerous 4.

Sandra Ng, who plays the iconic Hung Hing boss, reprises her role in this spinoff and does a great job in this film. The film shifts from present day to past and back to present day very smoothly. We see her off the bat getting threatened all because she is a woman. However, while Hung Hing are known as good fighters, she doesn’t need to fight. She has the street smarts necessary. The viewer learns that she never was swinging for one side as we learn she had a crush on a boxer who was a member of the rival Tung Sing. Alex Fong plays it well as Coke, the Tung Sing boxer and assassin who shows 13 respect and perhaps he is able to be okay with the fact that she likes him.

Kristy Yeung does a pretty good job as Yun, 13’s best friend who makes a mistake of trying to help 13 avenge her father’s beating at the hands of SOB. Surprisingly, it seems she is not playing the annoying Mei Ling, Shu Qi can actually stretch some acting muscle. She nearly steals the show as “Scarface” Kei, a heroin-addicted woman who is always abused by her ex-lover, who warns her to leave Portland Street, after she was pregnant and when he kicked in the stomach, the pain of her losing her baby is so unbearable that she is forced to take heroin to ease pain. However, her climactic scene which becomes 13’s turning point shows why Shu Qi, when given the right roles, can truly be quite a force to reckon with.

The film does have some cameos from members of the saga, including Ken Low as Prince, whose character gets beaten and becomes another turning point for 13. It is clear that Vincent Wan’s Ben has some sort of feeling towards 13 and shows it ridiculously in a scene at their new bar of course with the usual denial. Francis Ng once again dials it down in his brief cameo as Kwan in the flashback with Frankie Ng’s Brother Bee coming to the rescue as we learn she followed him before she became the boss. The finale has an extra special cameo that cannot be revealed, but it was quite a surprise to see this character in the spinoff.

Portland Street Blues is a pretty good spinoff of the Young and Dangerous saga thanks to Sandra Ng’s terrific performance as Sister 13 and Shu Qi’s scene-stealing performance as a woman scorned.


Golden Harvest presents a B.O.B. and Partners Limited/Everwide (H.K.) Limited production. Director: Raymond Yip. Producers: Raymond Chow, Wong Jing, and Manfred Wong. Writers: Manfred Wong; based on the comic “Teddy Boy” by Cow Man. Cinematography: Lai Yiu-Fai. Editing: “Marco”.

Cast: Sandra Ng, Shu Qi, Kristy Yeung, Vincent Wan, Alex Fong, Ng Man-Tat, John Ching, Peter Ngor, Chik King-Man, Kwan Hoi-San, Frankie Ng, Francis Ng, Matt Chow, Kam Hing-Yin, Jimmy Wong.



Born to be King (2000)




After five films, three official spinoffs, and a prequel, the Young and Dangerous saga comes to a proper close with this very exciting finale that revolves around more than just the Hung Hing boys, but add to the mix the Taiwanese triads and the Japanese Yakuza.

Chicken has been asked by the members of the Taiwanese San Luen gang to marry Nanako Kusaragi. Nanako is the daughter of Ichiro Kusaragi, the fifth generation head of the Japanese Yamada gang. Chan Ho-Nam and the rest of the Hung Hing gang head to Japan for the ceremony. While Ho-Nam’s girlfriend Mei Ling is constantly pressuring him to marry her, he still can’t help but holds his heart for his late true love, Smartie.

Attending the ceremony is Lui Fu-Kwan, who is the son of the late San Luen boss Lui Kung. Aside from the wedding, everyone in Hung Hing gets the shock of a lifetime when boss Chiang Tin-Yeung decides to retire to Thailand and decides to make Nam the new Hung Hing boss. Ichiro hopes that Chicken, who is now his son-in-law, will eventually become the new head of the Yamada gang, which irritates Nanako’s foster brother Akira, who is Chinese. What Hung Hing and Yamada soon will realize is that someone in the San Luen gang is plotting to take over the entire Asian triad world under their iron fist. To make matters worse, in a drunken rage, Akira has raped Nanako and Nam has even found a young woman in Taiwan who looks exactly like Smartie. What will happen when the three gangster worlds collide into an all-out war?

After an abysmal fifth installment, the Young and Dangerous saga took some turns from 1998 to 2000. We get the origin of the friends in Young and Dangerous: The Prequel. Proving to be a popular character, Sandra Ng’s Sister 13 had her own origin story in Portland Street Blues. Anthony Wong’s Tai Fei had his own spinoff-sequel with The Legendary Tai Fei. Finally, to make up for his absence in the fifth film, Chicken had his own prequel-spinoff story in Those Were the Days. All those lead up to this fitting finale of the saga, which brings virtually everyone back in one form or another.

The focus may seem to be on Chicken as with the second and fourth installments. However, for this to really work, an even split time between Chan Ho-Nam and Chicken is necessary and that’s exactly what we have here. Both Chicken and Ho-Nam deal with perhaps love but on opposite sides of the spectrum. At first, Chicken only marries Nanako because of a deal between San Luen and Yamada gang. However, it is after her one near-tragic incident that Chicken really decides to give his new married life a chance as he feels love for the first time in a while. As for Ho-Nam, it is the opposite. Unable to let go of his feelings for Smartie, it eventually destroys his relationship with Shu Qi’s Mei Ling as a major complication is in the return of Gigi Lai, who plays teacher Tuan-Mu Ruo Yu, a doppelganger of Smartie. It must be said that Shu Qi comes off as annoying as Mei Ling in this film with his constant nagging and pressuring towards Ho-Nam to take their relationship to the next level.

However, the real story comes in the form of a potential war between Triads and Yakuza. The reason? It goes like this. San Luen, the Taiwan group, has Chicken marry Nanako, the daughter of Yamada Gang boss Kusaragi, played wonderfully by The Street Fighter himself, Sonny Chiba. Yamada also wants to work with Hung Hing, now led by Ho-Nam after boss Chiang retires. However, the struggle goes from internally within San Luen to affecting all three gangs as one person plans to unite those three, along with another Taiwan gang, the Black Dragon gang, led by former kung fu film star Don Wong, under his iron fist, or they will be eliminated. As with the saga, expect double-crosses and assassinations.

In true fashion, some of the original cast members return to new roles in this installment. As mentioned, Gigi Lai returns in a new role that is meant to be what it is. Roy Cheung, the show stopper in Young and Dangerous 3 and 4, plays the Chinese-born foster brother of Nanako, Akira. Michael Tse (Dai Tin-Yee in Young and Dangerous 1-4) plays the best friend of Peter Ho’s Lui Fu-Kwan, Michael. Jason Chu (Chou-Pan in Young and Dangerous and Banana Skin in Young and Dangerous 2-5) also returns as Jason, who is an assassin for the villain of the piece.

Born to be King is truly a fitting end of the original Young and Dangerous saga. The focus clearly is on both Ho-Nam and Chicken as they deal with their issues in love and power as they end up in what could be their most dangerous struggle.


Golden Harvest Pictures (China) presents an Artwell Productions Limited production. Director: Andrew Lau. Producer: Manfred Wong. Writers: Manfred Wong and Candy Cheng; based on the comic “Teddy Boy” by Cow Man. Cinematography: Andrew Lau. Editing: Danny Pang.

Cast: Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, Shu Qi, Gigi Lai, Sonny Chiba, Peter Ho, Alex Man, Jerry Lamb, Chin Kar-Lok, Chin Shih-Chieh, Chen Sung-Yung, Sandra Ng, Vincent Wan, Roy Cheung, Anya,
Blacky Ko, Michael Tse, Jason Chu, George Wang, Don Wong.