1994 Directed by Ringo Lam. Starring Kwan Tin Sang.
REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Aug. 12, 1994
Produced by prolific fantasy auteur Tsui Hark (Chinese Ghost Story), this latest film from gritty actionmeister Lam (Full Contact) applies his hard edge to the usually lighthearted period kung fu film, making for a unique entry into the genre. The plot follows the adventures of legendary Chinese heroes Fong Sai Yuk and Hung Sei Kwan, imprisoned in a brutal, trap-laden, underground temple following their capture during the destruction of the famed Shaolin Temple. As usual, Lam dazzles with a combination of violent action, wicked irony, and down-and-dirty script mechanics, while producer Hark provides the generous production values that give the whole affair that extra gloss. Newcomer Kwan Tin Sang's performance as Fong has made him the hot new action star in Hong Kong, and his stylish acrobatics are sure to keep audiences happy. However, it's Lam's bizarre direction that makes this one of the better chopsocky efforts in recent memory. He manages to make the genre's clichés seem brand new again, creating a considerably darker and more sinister piece than your typical martial arts picture. Picture Abel Ferrara directing a Jet Li movie and you'll get the idea. Although the finale is a slight letdown, for the most part, Burning Paradise is a terrific movie that tells an old story with a new attitude.