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Triad Story
Chinese: 江湖最後一個大佬  
Year: 1990  
Director: Shum Wai  
Writer: Shum Wai  
Action: Siu Tak-Foo  
Cast: Stephen Chow Sing-Chi, O Chun-Hung, Wu Ma, Shing Fui-On, Ng Man-Tat, Billy Chow Bei-Lei, Shum Wai, Gwai Chung, Lo Wei
The Skinny: Rather average triad drama that earns extra points for bone-crunching action. Stephen Chow and Ng Man-Tat co-star together, but don't expect any wacky mugging or silly shtick. In fact, this movie is downright depressing.
   
Review
by Kozo:

Stephen Chow gets top billing in this rather nondescript triad drama. He's Sing, the son of triad boss Feng (O Chun-Hung), who was recently released from prison. Feng was a righteous triad who went to the slammer for his fellows. Now, years later, they still respect him and rush to hang with their newly released boss. Sadly, there are nefarious forces at work, namely the newer, younger triads who carry large cellular phones (it's the early nineties; no Nokias here) and are disrespectful and generally sour to the old folks. When Sing's sister falls in with an evil triad from America, the old school triads join forces to get them out of her life. Unfortunately, the younger triads live up to their rep: they're generally disrespectful and act menacingly evil for no real reason. Ultimately, the constant back-and-forth of punishment and retailiation leads to an explosive climax. And, not once does Stephen Chow stick his tongue out or use wacky Cantonese wordplay.

Fans of Stephen Chow comedy had best steer clear of this triad potboiler. While he's generally likable, not once does he display any real comic talent. In fact, most of the time he simply fades into the background while older actors (Wu Ma, Shing Fui-On, Ng Man-Tat and old school director Lo Wei) provide all the necessary drama. Sadly, a lot of this drama involves old guys sitting around tables talking about how terrible the new generation is. Thankfully, nobody breaks into a "In my day..." story about walking forty miles to school in the freezing cold with no shoes, no hat and a backpack. In fact, the film is melodramatic to a fault, and features sledgehammer direction from Shum Wai (who also acts in the film). The abundance of straight-faced emoting and overdone music cues can get annoying. This stuff was common for HK Cinema of its time, but that doesn't necessarily make it tolerable.

Thankfully, some bone-crunching action arrives. The old guys are lucky, because Sing's girlfriend's brother is played by Billy Chow Bei-Lei. So when things come to a head, Billy runs into battle and opens up a can of mega whup-ass. The kung-fu is remarkably painful-looking, and is sure to make more than a few audience members wince. Thanks to the arrival of violent punishment, Triad Story becomes a rather enjoyable piece of early-nineties HK Cinema. By no means does the movie qualify as an actual honest-to-god good film, but the minor positives—such as when Ng Man-Tat goes postal with an axe—make this a worthwhile curiosity. When the tense last half-hour arrives, Triad Story's first hour of tedium becomes somewhat easy to forgive. (Kozo 2003)

   
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Kam & Ronson
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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