Written by long-time Johnnie To screenwriter Au Kin-yee, the film juxtaposes the regrets over a lesbian romance that never was with the alienation a Macau native feels over the city’s development into a glamorous gambling capital since its 1999 handover. With Prisoners A bleak and eerily oppressive story which sees actor Neo Yau Hawk-sau portray a gang leader sentenced to a detention centre, the prison film offers a nightmarish account of institutional depravity, one said to be based on real events.
Ironically, it is when its dystopian dread gives way to a cautionary tale in the final reel that its spell is broken. God of War A minor return to form for both genre and filmmaker, Gordon Chan Ka-seung’s period action drama takes a page from Ming dynasty history to tell a story involving loyalty, military strategies and an awkward dash of female empowerment.
Funded and produced by founder Tony Ip Chi-shing, this technically sound yet narratively inert film about Ip’s lucrative career is barely able to mask its self-congratulatory nature. Dealer/Healer The making of real-life gangster Chan Shun-chi and his well-known story of redemption is dramatised by director Lawrence Lau Kwok-cheong.
Perhaps because of the roller-coaster nature of Chan’s life, this is by turns a violent action film, a buddy comedy, a cheesy romance and even a terminal disease drama – and never finds the right tone for this pompous mix. Wu Kong Derek Kwok Tsz-kin’s second attempt at refashioning the for China’s blockbuster audience proves a minor misfire tripped up by its own ambition.
Some set pieces show touches of the old flair, but Hong Kong audiences will find they have seen it all before, and seen it done better. 77 Heartbreaks An obnoxious man-child (Pakho Chau Pak-ho) learns retrospectively about his ex-girlfriend’s (Charlene Choi Cheuk-yin) grievances in this romantic drama by the prolific duo of director Herman Yau Lai-to and screenwriter Erica Li Man.