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Chinese Midnight Express
"I think I found something in here..."

Ng Man-Tat and Tony Leung Chiu-Wai in Chinese Midnight Express
Chinese: 黑獄斷腸歌之砌生豬肉  
Year: 1997  
Director: Billy Tang Hin-Sing  
Cast: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Ng Man-Tat, Lam Kwok-Bun, Ben Ng Ngai-Cheung, Pinky Cheung Man-Chi, Tsui Kam-Kong, Lee Siu-Kei, Ng Chi-Hung, John Ching Tung, Choi Yip-Shun, Lau Bo-Yin, Sung Boon-Chung, Wan Yeung-Ming, Law Kar-Ying, Lee Lik-Chee, Peter Lai Bei-Tak, Wong Shu-Tong, Lai Su
The Skinny: Passably entertaining prison drama featuring an A-list actor and B-list everything else.
by Kozo:

A retro-HK flick. This prison film set in the sixties tells the tale of a On (Tony Leung), a righteous reporter who gains fame by exposing corruption in the police force. He gets sent to the slammer after some corrupt cops (led by Ben Ng) frame him for drug distribution. On confesses to the crime when his family is threatened. Once in jail, he undergoes the usual trials before learning how to survive - and then rise above his plight.

Like The Shawshank Redemption, this involves using his education to better prison conditions while earning the respect of the triad inmates. Ng Man-Tat appears as Brother Plane, a veteran inmate who shows On the ropes. As usual there is an evil prison guard, this time played by a dour Lam Kwok-Bun. Meanwhile, evil Ben Ng rapes On's loyal girlfriend (newcomer Pinky Cheung), but she enters into a bargain with fellow corrupt cop Wan Yeung-Ming to get Ng in major trouble.

This is an entertaining film that plays to Tony Leung Chiu-Wai's acting strengths, but the direction by Billy Tang is too ham-fisted to make this film better than a competent genre exercise. The film feels like recycled Ringo Lam without the economy of direction or deliberate pacing. Still the plot covers its bases well, and though it all feels perfunctory, it still manages to be interesting. (Kozo 1997)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen