Rich and Famous
1987, NR, 102 min. Directed by Taylor Wong Tai-Loi. Starring Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Alex Man Tze-Leung, Chow Yun-Fat, Alan Tam, Carina Lau Ka-Ling, Pauline Wong.
REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Oct. 27, 1995
This is an unremarkable addition to Hong Kong's “Heroic Bloodshed” genre, which was popularized by John Woo's seminal A Better Tomorrow. Rich and Famous is a pretty dull excuse for an action picture, made especially annoying by the talented performers who are being wasted on such uninspired material. Andy Lau Tak-wah and Alex Man Tze-leung star as two brothers whose relationship becomes strained beyond repair when they both go to work for a local gangster portrayed by Hard-Boiled icon Chow Yun-fat. As the estranged pair grow further and further apart, Man winds up falling out of favor with Chow and proceeds to hook up with a rival crime kingpin, thus setting him against both his former boss and his own brother. In addition to this melodrama, there are a host of other subplots and characters -- such as a feisty nurse who has a fling with Chow and a likable goofball who wants to become a gangster but just doesn't have the edge for it -- that really don't go anywhere particularly interesting and only manage to overcomplicate what should be a simple, efficient tale of honor and bloodshed. Taylor Wong Tai-loi, who also directed the passable Triads: The Inside Story with Chow Yun-fat, helms the proceedings with a disinterested ennui that perks up only when he's staging the film's occasional moments of excessive violence. The actors do what they can, but the generic script doesn't give them much to do. Chow, even while in automatic pilot as he is here, is as cool as ever, but normally reliable performers such as Andy Lau Tak-wah and Carina Lau Ka-ling seem as bored as their director and deliver vague, unmotivated work that can only be deemed disappointing. The same can also be said for Rich and Famous as a whole.