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The Best Hong Kong Films Ever - Number 2 and Number 1

Hello there, you are now reading Day 12 and the very last post of THE BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER. It’s been a long journey getting here. We started receiving votes in early November, published our first post on this subject December 17th and now here we are a a full 24 days later, on January 10th, with the final post in this monstrosity.

24 days to reveal this ridiculous countdown (and also that BEST HONG KONG FILM PERFORMANCES feature). That’s a long time for some people.


When Chow Yun-Fat started reading this countdown

he did not have white hair. Or a beard.

This last entry contains only two films because they distanced themselves from all the others on the list early on, and were in a horse race for the number one slot until the very last days. Considering that the #3 film is nearly 100 points behind these two, we felt like separating them would be appropriate.

Also, we should note that thanks to HARD BOILED, THE KILLER and A BETTER TOMORROW placing in slots 6, 5 and 3, John Woo has officially run out aces. No Top 2 finish for you, Mr. Woo.


“Are we done here? I have a more popular Asian film website to visit.”

As usual, if you’re just joining us, you shouldn’t spoil the whole thing by looking at the top film first. Either go back in time using your Flux Capacitor or click one of the below links.

Previous Updates:
Numbers 200-171
Numbers 170-141
Numbers 140-111

Numbers 110-81

Numbers 80-61

Numbers 60-41

Numbers 40-21

Numbers 20-16

Numbers 15-11
Numbers 10-6
Numbers 5-3

So here we go! Hit the jump to see that the #2 film of THE BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER is…

2. INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002), directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak - 573 points, 14 first place votes - LoveHKFilm Review

Infernal Affairs

For once, INFERNAL AFFAIRS loses and it’s actually kind of surprising. The film not only ranked #1 on our list of the TOP 50 HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE AUGHTS, but it did so by a sickening margin, walloping IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE by over 350 points. INFERNAL AFFAIRS also grossed way more money than you’ll ever see in your lifetime, reignited local excitement for Hong Kong film, and earned untold numbers of awards — and all this despite being a remake of HARD BOILED without the action. Sadly, the film is only number two here so we should just resign ourselves to that fact and move on. Site reader eldridge116 calls INFERNAL AFFAIRS “the best written and edited, most intense crime drama HK ever made and they made quite a few.” INFERNAL AFFAIRS was basically your perfect storm: take a great script, a superb visual director, another director to shore up the first director’s deficiencies, two top-of-the-line superstars, and surround them with an amazing cast of stars and character actors. Ask Christopher Doyle to stop by the set, release at Christmas and you’ve got yourself a mega-blockbuster that hey, also happens to be a damn good movie! INFERNAL AFFAIRS got stretched a little by its quickie sequels but that shouldn’t take away from its accomplishments — which frankly, are too numerous to list so we should just quit now. Know this: INFERNAL AFFAIRS is easily one of the best Hong Kong films ever and probably always will be.

So with INFERNAL AFFAIRS getting the body block on the 2-yard line, THE BEST HONG KONG FILM EVER is…

1. INFERNAL AFFAIRS (2002), directed by Andrew Lau and Alan Mak - 8 million points, 35 million first place votes - Greatest Reviews of the Greatest Film Ever

Haha, did you think INFERNAL AFFAIRS would lose? Nice try. You can’t keep INFERNAL AFFAIRS down. INFERNAL AFFAIRS cannot be contained by just one slot on this list of THE BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER. A reviewer over at the Hong Kong Movie Database called INFERNAL AFFAIRS “slick but been done before and much better,” but INFERNAL AFFAIRS gave that reviewer the Spock Eyebrow followed by the People’s Elbow and then it was over. Seriously, remember the time that INFERNAL AFFAIRS traveled through time and won our TOP HONG KONG MOVIES OF THE 80s reader vote? If INFERNAL AFFAIRS can win a reader vote about a different decade, what would stop INFERNAL AFFAIRS from cloning itself to take the #1 and #2 slots on this list? INFERNAL AFFAIRS wanted the #3 slot too but Chow Yun-Fat would have no part of that and hey, you have to give Chow Yun-Fat his props. INFERNAL AFFAIRS received stiff competition from THE DEPARTED for this slot, but that cheap copy wasn’t getting anywhere near this list and INFERNAL AFFAIRS obliterated THE DEPARTED with a hearty Hulk Smash. Know this: INFERNAL AFFAIRS is only THE GREATEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME. At least, someone on a forum somewhere said so.

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Sorry, just joking. Actually, due to process of elimination and a hefty point total, the BEST HONG KONG FILM EVER is…

1. CHUNGKING EXPRESS (1994), directed by Wong Kar-Wai - 636 points, 24 first place votes - LoveHKFilm Review

Chungking Express

CHUNGKING EXPRESS ranked #1 on our list of TOP HONG KONG FILMS OF THE 90s, but it’s still a surprise to see it take the #1 slot here. It didn’t completely obliterate its competition on the 90s vote like INFERNAL AFFAIRS did in the aughts vote, plus it’s not an overt genre film. And we doubt many will say that CHUNGKING EXPRESS is more accomplished than IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE or (maybe) THE GRANDMASTER. But there’s one thing CHUNGKING EXPRESS has over other Wong Kar-Wai movies, and perhaps all other movies on this list: pure, unconditional love from its fans. Valerie Soe calls it “the cutest, quirkiest little art film ever made. Hong Kong, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Takeshi Kaneshiro were never more charming, romantic or swoon-worthy.” Martin says the film is “Exhilarating lightning-in-a-bottle filmmaking from Wong Kar-Wai, the style of which I wish he could reproduce. There is little chance (read none) of that, but we’ll always have CHUNGKING EXPRESS.” Lee Rankin perhaps nails it, saying “I still can’t pin down why I love this movie so much. I just find that every time I watch it, I can’t stop smiling for about two hours afterwards.” CHUNGKING EXPRESS is a movie that can be watched endlessly not just because it’s about love, but because it’s about movie love, i.e., the types of chance meetings and flash opportunities you wish would happen in real life, but seldom do. CHUNGKING EXPRESS takes regret and longing and spins it into surprise and hope. We love this movie to death, too.

Guess what? We are at the end of THE BEST HONG KONG FILMS EVER. Thanks so much for voting, reading along and not complaining that we keep describing John Woo movies in a homoerotic manner. We hope you had fun. We’ll be back in a couple of weeks with the whole list of results plus some nifty facts, number-crunching and other trivia. Also, catch us again in the year 2021 when we run our TOP HONG KONG FILMS OF THE 10s reader vote. We should be alive.

Customary toy photo to end this thing:

Carue and Chopper
“再见!”

16 Responses to “The Best Hong Kong Films Ever - Number 2 and Number 1”

  1. Veronica Says:

    I’m ever so glad Chungking got the top. This is the one that got me all started too. Well done everyone and a huge thanks to Kozo. A great fun. I’ll surely be alive and around for the 10s!

  2. Fei Zhu Says:

    Thanks Kozo!

    Maybe I’ll go back and watch all the movies from number 1 to 200. Will probably not be done until next voting takes place in 2021…

  3. KL Says:

    Thank you so much, Kozo. The countdown is truly awesome.
    And now it’s the perfect time to re-watch CHUNGKING.

  4. The Moose Says:

    Gasp. None of the top 6 actually contain any martial arts. Which lets face it is what the industry is world famous for.
    These are some great films of course (well except number 2), but this list reflects the tastes visitors to this site and, which is not neccessarily the same audience other sites may have where the likes of the legendary ‘The Prodigal Son’ would achieve top spot. (Wow, it only reached number 61 here)

    Sigh. Infernal affairs………………

  5. The Moose Says:

    Damn. I rushed my last comment. I have just read over it. It needs some serious editing. I’m quite embarressed with the poor grammer actually.

  6. Mick Says:

    I’m glad Chungking got the top spot over the films in its immediate vicinity on the list. No questions it is a very special film. The scene with Tony and the soap is what turned my father, in his late 50s, into a hk cinema aficionado.

  7. Sydneyguy Says:

    I never liked the first half of the movie, the 2nd Half with Tony Leung blew me away,if the movie was just the 2nd half i’ll still rate it top 10 ever!!

  8. Pu Songling Says:

    Good work Kozo. Seldom does time feel so well frittered.

  9. Blasst Says:

    Kozo, Great work my friend! Lots of films I have not heard of, are on this list, and some are out of print. Hopefully they will become available again so people can view them.

  10. Blasst Says:

    I meant my last post to refer to the entire 1-200 list, not just 2, and 1.

  11. Viktor Says:

    Yes yes yes! When life is beating me down and everything is horrible and grey and not-at-all-like-the-movies, I start talking to my soap and imagine that Faye is hiding in my closet. I feel better then. If there is anything lovelier in the world then I haven’t been to that world.

  12. Viktor Says:

    …better than this movie, that is. I wasn’t referring to conversing with toiletries.

  13. Lisa in Toronto Says:

    Thanks so much for the hard work to put all of this list together. I really enjoyed reading the posts.
    (I was kind of amazed that neither Wu Yen nor Love in a Fallen City didn’t make the cut though.)

  14. Bryce Says:

    Kozo,
    Thanks for the awesome reviews for all 200 movies
    You had me checking both infernal affairs postings twice!!! Lol
    Now im in the mood to rewatch many of these movies again.

    Keep up the great work. Love your site!!!!

  15. Webmaster Kozo Says:

    Hi Lisa, I’m a little late responding but you may see those films show up on the full list of 350+ films, which I should be posting up right after I finish writing a review of THE GRANDMASTER.

    To everyone else who left a comment: thanks for reading this feature to the very end!

  16. Alfred G Says:

    I feel so bad for having read this list. And not because of the movies that are on it, but because around 70% are not available where I live. And those that are are mostly in so bad quality that you rather not watch them. Just yesterday I watched A better tomorrow on DVD and the quality is so very bad on that, that in the dark scenes you mostly see only blurs moving around. And that is an official publication.

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