Plot: When school students; Ho-Nam (Nicholas Tse), Pau-Pan (Tsui Ka-Ho) and Chow-Pan (Benjamin Yuen) are kicked out school and are constantly being bullied by the local triad gangs, they have no choice to join them. The gangs friend Chicken (Sam Lee) introduces them to Brother Bee (Ng Chi-Hung), a nobale and resecpted member of the Hung Hing.
The boys are then introduced to the glorious sights of the underworld, going to night clubs, massage parlours and bath houses. All these things can’t last though Brother Bee decides to test the new blood by having them attack a rival gang leader – Bill. After carefully planning the attack out, the boys enjoy up having to attack the gang leader with bamboo canes rather than the much preferred ‘Triad Choppers’, after taking a few good stabs at Bill they final manage to kill him, but their luck turns against them when members of his ‘Tung Sing’ gang are waiting for Ho-Nam.
Ho-Nam and his friends barely manage to escape, but the consequences for their actions are yet to be dealt with when Bill’s brother – Sun Cha seeks vengeance against Ho-Nam.
Review: Andrew Lau once again brings the legendary characters of Cow-Man’s ‘Teddy Boy’ comics to life in this gritty triad story. I mention the term gritty as the story seems to be lot darker and violent than its predecessors, there is frequent beatings, heroin addictions, Ho-Nam’s mother passing away, Ho-Nam being tortured and Ho-Nam’s drug related nightmare. The film is also set around the time of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, throughout the film you see many extras standing around televisions watching the events unfold.
The movie also has several subplots, there is relationship between Ho-Nam and one of his class mates Kelly, it’s the obvious bad boy pines for the rich good girl, but it just seems to sizzle out to nothing. Then there is the relationship between Big Head (Daniel Wu) and his girlfriend Fei (Shu Qi), Head’s hot temper puts a heavy strain on their relationship and it leads Fei off into a subtle relationship with Ho-Nam, which also sizzles out to be nothing. There is also the back story of the relationship between Ho-Nam and his mother and step-father and the storyline of Kwan’s (Francis Ng) betrayal to the Hung Hing.
I must admit Nicholas Tse does a pretty good job, people have started to rate his performance over Ekin Chengs, mainly because Tse is showing more emotional, but I think that is because this his how Ho-Nam was like as a teenager, but growing up he’s became stronger, but that’s just my opinion.
There is also a nice little movie reference to Portland Street Blues, which is a spin-off movie from the Young & Dangerous series which is based on the past of ‘Sister 13’ played by the lovable Sandra Ng. There reference is when Ho-Nam and the gang go to kill ‘Bill’, but with the Tung Sing gang attacking them, the four friends spread out and Pou-Pan gets lost, he asks two young ladies, ‘Where am I?’, the young ladies actually are Sandra Ng and Kirsty Yeung. If you’ve seen PSB’s you’ll find this to be a nice little in-joke.
Notable appearances? Well apart from Sandra Ng and Kirsty Yeung, Lee Sui-Kei makes an appearance as his famous character ‘Kei’, Law Lan makes her appearance as Ho-Nam’s grandmother, Michael Chan makes an appearance as the leader of the Tung Sing triads and Yuen Bun makes an appearance as a police officer.
Final thoughts, a fine film and worthy watch, enjoy it!