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Island of Greed
|     review    |     awards     |      availability     |

Pauline Suen and Tony Leung Ka-Fai
  Chinese: 黑金
Year: 1997
Director: Johnny Mak Tong-Hung
Action: Yuen Bun
Cast: Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Pauline Suen Kai-Kwan, Annie Wu, Winston Chao, Doze Niu, Sihung Lung, King Shih-Chieh
  The Skinny: An interesting, politically-charged thriller that engages and provokes, but proves a failure as entertainment. Tony Leung Ka-Fai is sensational, however.
   
Review
by Kozo:

This very expensive political thriller focuses on that illustrious home for corrupt politicians: Taiwan. Tony Leung Ka-Fai is Chou, a ruthless triad kingpin who is determined to join the Taiwan government. Fong (Andy Lau) is his nemesis, the leader of an anti-triad force whoís going to do everything necessary to take Chou down. 

This is a well-meaning flick that unfortunately suffers from byzantine plotting and an almost complete disregard for narrative logic. The back-stabbings and dirty double-dealings that make up the Taiwanese government are interesting, but also more than a little confusing. There are just too many characters and too many private interests to cohere into a workable plot. The only compelling supporting character is Pauline Suen as Chouís supportive wife. Otherwise, Annie Wu is nonexistent as the reporter girlfriend of Fong. 

In fact, all plot threads involving Fong seem gratuitous. His rescue of his father and relationship to Wu are both unnecessary moments designed to give Fong inner life. Sadly, it seems his character is around only for the requisite chase sequences.

The excellent action scenes are strangely out of place in this topical story. This is actually not a bad picture, but it gets crushed beneath its overwhelming potential, as it canít match its premise. Redemption comes in the form of Tony Leung Ka-Fai, who returns to the A-list with this film. As Chou, heís charming, dangerous, and even sinister. Andy Lau suffers by comparison - he seems to spend the whole film moping. This film is worth seeing for the subject matter, but as entertainment it only rings false. (Kozo 1998)

   
Awards: 17th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
• Nomination - Best Actor (Tony Leung Ka-Fai)
• Nomination - Best Actress (Pauline Suen Kai-Kwan)
• Nomination - Best Screenplay (Johnny Mak Tong-Hung)
• Nomination - Best Art Direction (Lee Ging-Man)
• Nomination - Best Action Design (Yuen Bun)
• Nomination - Best Original Song ("Goo Sing Lui", performed by Andy Lau Tak-Wah)
• Nomination - Best Sound Effects
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Kam & Ronson
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
International Language Version
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc

image courtesy of Mei Ah Laser Disc Co., Ltd.

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