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Street Angels
Chinese: 紅燈區
Chingmy Yau and Michael Tao
Year: 1996
Director: Billy Tang Hin-Sing
Producer: Manfred Wong, Andrew Lau Wai-Keung
Action: Dion Lam Dik-On
Cast: Chingmy Yau Suk-Ching, Michael Tao Dai-Yu, Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Shu Qi, Tsui Kam-Kong, Valerie Chow Kar-Ling, Linda Cheung Lan-Ying, Spencer Lam Seung-Yi, Lee Kin-Yan, Lok Tat-Wah, Candy Hau Woon-Ling, Maria Cordero (cameo)
The Skinny: Uninspired but entertaining triad flick made during the height of the Young and Dangerous craze. Featuring Shu Qi's first screen appearance.
by Kozo:

Street Angels is standard triad stuff from the BOB factory, who also brought us the infamous Young and Dangerous movies. Chingmy Yau stars as Yen, a triad girl who gets sent to jail for her boyfriend Walkie Pi (Simon Yam). Once she gets out, she proceeds to find a job as a Mamasan at Number One, the top nightclub in the city. Number One is owned a righteous fellow named Playboy Man (Michael Tao), who finds himself enchanted by the self-possessed Yen. When Playboy Man's top Mamasan Karen (Valerie Chow) defects to a competitor, Playboy Man installs Yen as his top girl. However, their success ignites a war between the two clubs, which sparks lots of violence and your usual acts of indignant defiance. It also brings the return of Walkie Pi, but whose side is he on?

This is cookie-cutter stuff made to cash in on the Young and Dangerous craze, which was in full swing at the time. Street Angels and Young and Dangerous producers Andrew Lau and Manfred Wong make no bones about swiping from themselves; aside from the settings and themes, they even recycle the exact same music. The effect probably means little to most viewers; after all, this was just disposable cinematic filler, and in that Street Angels suffices pretty well. Director Billy Tang moves things along efficiently, and the actors turn in competent performances. Special note should be given to Simon Yam, who appears to be gunning for some overacting award with his egregiously over-the-top antics. Shu Qi makes her first point-revealing screen appearance here, and despite being dubbed, she shows off an animated screen presence. Street Angels qualifies as competent, forgettable throwaway cinema. Nothing of real import occurs here, but fans of triad flicks—and Shu Qi—will probably be satisfied. (Kozo 1996/2003)

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