退休探長
Gun Is Law (1983)


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 12/15/2007

Gun is Law is pretty much like every other Danny Lee cop movie out there... well, except that this one actually doesn't star Danny Lee. Instead, it's Phillip Chan in the lead role. But everything else, right down to the fetishization of Magnum guns, is torn right from the "Lee Sir" playbook.

In the film, Chan plays a hot-headed cop who's more inclined to shoot suspects rather than arresting them. This makes him a favorite of his co-workers, but doesn't sit well with his new bean-counting commander (Melvin Wong). After a botched operation, Chan is transferred to a desk job, which causes him to resign. However, the brother of a man Chan killed during a bank robbery is now set on revenge, and Chan must try to protect his family by himself.

Gun is Law feels like it could have been a much better movie than it turns out to be. Most of the actors do a good job. Even John Shum (who I normally find incredibly annoying) is solid as one of Chan's buddies. There's some decent action sequences, as well as a really good '80's synth-rock score. But there are two stumbling blocks which eventually derail the picture.

The first is the actor that plays Chan's son. Long-time readers of this site know I'm not a big fan of child actors, and it's brats like this that make me feel that way. After hearing him whine, scream, and screech for the dozenth time, I was rooting for the tyke to be taken out in an extremely painful way. Seriously, folks -- any scenes that this moppet is involved in are prime examples of how not to generate sympathy from your viewer.

Secondly, and most damningly, Gun is Law looks like it was shot with a budget of about seventy-five cents. Of course, there's not wrong with low-budget film-making in and of itself, but it appears that the production couldn't even afford basic stuff like lights.

Many scenes (a lot of which are actually important to the story) are so dark that it's near impossible to tell what's going on. When you combine that with craptastic subtitles on the Mei Ah release that often run off the frame, Gun is Law ends up being just another below-average Hong Kong cops and robbers flick.

[review from www.hkfilm.net]

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: Frank Lakatos
Date: 10/11/2006
Summary: Poorly shot Seasonal Films crime thriller

Philip Chan Yan Kin plays a cop who is stalked by a Vietnamese criminal(Tommy Cheng), avenging the deaths of his friends that were murdered by Chan in a botched robbery. The elements for a successful crime movie were there, a great lead, Phillip Chan Yan Kin, who used used to be a HK cop, a great cast, includinng Tommy Cheng, who is effective as Chan's enemy, and a decent script. But, the movie disintegrates due to poor filmmaking. Usually, Seasonal Films produces decently shot material. Shameful for Seasonal Films is the fact that there was absolutely no lighting used in this movie. It is possible that Chan had some creative freedom and wanted to make the movie bleak and deperssing, but the darkness is overdone to the point 3/4 of this movie is in the dark and the MA disc transfer doesn't help the problem. Everything from the script, a patient suspense thriller, to the acting is wasted due to the fact nothing is visible. The choice of stock music scores are great well placed. The final minutes of ending is very classy and emotional, due to Tommy Cheng's great dubbing, Chan's acting, and of all people, John Shum bringing a twist to end the story. It makes up for most of the entire movie. The Vietnamese storyline is similar in many ways to the movie Chan made a year before this movie, The Headhunter(1982) aka The Long Goodbye, which is a much better movie and which is also coproduced by Seasonal Films. Watching Gun is Law is a very frustrating experience since most of the movie is in pitch darkness, but I'll watch anything with Philip Chan Yan Kin as a cop. This movie also has something in common with 2 other HK movies, A Hearty Response(1986) and Tiger Cage 3(1991), is the fact that the fighting sound effects change from the loud 80's kickboxing effects to the old school kung fu fighting sound effects, especially, and disappoitingly, during the final fight. Chan went on to make a come back with an effective slasher, Night caller(1985), which is also 3/4 in the dark, but the filmmaking and acting is much more effective. Roy Horan, who dubbed in his own voice, has a cameo as an arms dealer, who has an English conversation with the bilingual Chan. 2.5(for the final minutes of the ending)/5