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Will of Iron
Chinese: 黑雪 "I find Maggie's ear intensely fascinating..."
Michael Wong, Jacky Cheung and Maggie Cheung
Year: 1991
Director: David Chiang (Keung Dai-Wai)
Producer: Dickson Poon Dik-Sun, Stephen Shin Gei-Yin
Cast: Jacky Cheung Hok-Yau, Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk, Michael Wong Mun-Tak, Crystal Kwok Kam-Yan
The Skinny: Anti-drug PSA disguised as a Hong Kong film. Also not a very good movie.
by Kozo:

The four stars of this movie are four longtime friends who reunite when Maggie (Maggie Cheung) returns to Hong Kong after overseas schooling. She finds that her boyfriend Michael (Michael Wong) is avoiding friends Jacky (Jacky Cheung) and Crystal (Crystal Kwok). Everyone has excuses as to why the estrangement occurred, but it takes perseverance and righteousness from Maggie to find out the truth: Jacky is now a cocaine addict and Michael happens to be his supplier. Then things get worse.

Old-school actor David Chiang directed this public service announcement that basically has one thing to say: Don't do drugs. It also tries to tell us that having friends become drug dealers also sucks, as does getting hit in the stomach while pregnant. Basically, IT ALL GOES TO HELL as Jacky's drug problems get compounded by debt, drug smuggling, evil triads and plain-out lying to your best buddies.

As a PSA, Will of Iron succeeds mightily, but that's mostly because it gets its message across in big, bold letters. As a film, it goes the usual HK action-drama route, which means a cookie-cutter plot featuring characters with the same names as the actors playing them. You have to wonder if anyone out there was confused by this. Given Hong Kong's wacky media-addicted culture, it wouldn't surprise me if someone out there walked away with the idea that Jacky Cheung was actually a drug addict. Here's hoping they didn't. 

As an official Hong Kong film, there's a detour into action, too. It arrives near the end and is as brutal as HK action gets, with moments that make you wince for the characters. However, given the film's attempts at serious subject matter, the over-the-top violence feels out of place. 

Furthermore, the excessive HK-style over-emoting doesn't help the film much . Having Jacky Cheung overact as a drug addict kills some of the subtlety. Hitting us with a hammer gets the message across, but it also gives us a headache. Maggie Cheung anchors the rest of the acting, but her character is so fearless and righteous that it doesn't ring true. For a one-time watch, Will of Iron can interest, but repeated viewings will reveal the ultimate truth: there's not much a movie here. (Kozo 2001)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Joy Sales (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution, Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen