The Austin Chronicle

To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui

Directed by Wong Jing. Starring Jacky Cheung, Tony Leung Kar Fei.

REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Nov. 4, 1994

Following his own Return to a Better Tomorrow, this is director Wong Jing's second production to speedily cash in on the current trend of gangster pictures in Hong Kong, as well as the second film to shamelessly crib its English title from a past success within the genre. (I wonder what John Woo and William Friedkin think of this guy?) Despite these blatantly commercial concessions, these pictures are actually turning out pretty well, and the advance word on To Live and Die in Tsimshatsui seems to suggest that it will be a solid thriller. Jacky Cheung (Bullet in the Head) stars as Dick, a young cop going undercover as a member of Hong Kong's vicious Triad gangs. However, as he goes deeper and deeper into gang life, he slowly finds his loyalties torn between the police he is working for and the gangsters he has sworn to arrest. As his identity grows more and more confused, Cheung must battle both the cops and the Triads, and, in the process, discover what's most important: the law or friendship? The melodramatic plot looks to provide pop singer Cheung with his best role since the aforementioned John Woo film, and Jing's stylish direction seems to exploit all the tension and danger of dark, back-alley gang fights while not totally abandoning the offbeat humor that has become his trademark. The movie co-stars the wildly versatile Tony Leung Kar Fei, who has been featured in everything from French art house hits like The Lover to crazed Hong Kong action films like The Black Panther Warriors, as one of Cheung's Triad buddies. Not reviewed.

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