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Shanghai Affairs
Chinese: 新唐山大兄

Athena Chu and Donnie Yen
Year: 1998
Director: Donnie Yen Ji-Dan
Cast: Donnie Yen Ji-Dan, Athena Chu Yan, Yu Rong-Guang
The Skinny: Donnie Yen serves up ferocious fighting and not much else in this tepid remake of Bruce Lee's Big Boss.
by Kozo:

Third in the Donnie Yen canon is the most coherent, but most mundane. A reworking of Bruce Leeís Big Boss, itís easily the most accessible Yen film, proving that the man can tell a story. Sadly, there isnít much of a story to tell.

Yen plays Tong Shan, a charitable doctor who works in the seedy side of Shanghai circa early 1900s. When the Axe Gang tries to take over the territory, Tong Shan clashes with their leader, Brother Yu (Yu Rong-Guang). Accord is reached when an old gweilo doctor friend (whoís horribly dubbed) makes peace between the two. In an action that furthers the truce between the two men, Tong cures Yuís sister Siu Sin (Athena Chu) of her no-talking ailment. Meanwhile, kids are getting kidnapped. When they all turn up dead, Tong is determined to find the culprit. This leads him to ask for Yuís help, which isnít such a hot idea. 

There is no suspense or true feeling in this film or its characters. Donnie Yen is a ferocious fighter, but a rather bland leading man. Athena Chu is sweet and cute, but seemingly fourteen years-old at times. The fights are well-choreographed, but everything between them is next to unbearable. The supporting actors are terrible - so terrible that I canít even mention them without wincing. Maybe Yen should stick to the overwrought post-modern stuff. Ballistic Kiss may have been incredibly over-the-top, but at least it grabbed you. The same cannot be said for Shanghai Affairs. (Kozo 1998)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Kam & Ronson
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen