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西環的故事 (1990)
Story of Kennedy Town

Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 04/06/2012
Summary: Worth your time.

Actor turned director Wu Ma created a nice little movie with Story of Kennedy Town [1990]. Comparisons to John Woo's Bullet in the Head aside, this is a solid film with solid performances from the cast and crew. Wu Ma is one of the Hong Kong cinema's most underrated directors. This movie features Aaron Kwok in one of his earliest roles. Of course, Sharla Cheung Man is in the film and her exquisite beauty radiates in every frame. This movie is worth your time.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/15/2010

A gritty look at low-level cops and criminals in 1960's Hong Kong, Wu Ma's 1990 movie Story of Kennedy Town has drawn comparisons to John Woo's Bullet in the Head (which was also released the same year) with some people going so far as to call this a rip-off of Woo's masterpiece, especially since Waise Lee stars in both films. While there is some sharing of themes, to call Kennedy Town a rip-off is going a bit too far and takes away from a production that stands fine on its' own merits.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Souxie
Date: 02/24/2003
Summary: pretty good

This is a nice little movie about people living far from the bright lights of the big city, each with their own problems and stories. We have three main characters: Wai just wants enough money to marry his deaf/dumb girlfriend, Keung wants a happy life for him and his friends, and Pang wants as much as he can get. If you've seen Bullet in the Head than the story line for this movie won't be a surprise. However, this is set in the small town of Hong Kong, describing the corrupt policemen, the gangs controlling the water rations during the shortage and "small-town" life (if such a thing exists in Hong Kong!).
The acting was great all round, although Waise Lee must have "cast me as a turncoat" written on his forehead, due to movies like these. The girlfriends had enough screen time and dialogue / presence to make them real characters and only the wild and weird ending let it down slightly - would you have done that in broad daylight? I say, do it after dark and get away with it, but hey, that's just me. Then again, it wouldn't have made such a great scene, action-wise. The only thing nagging me is why she smiles, right at the end… does she know something we don't? I really hoped so…
After searching for this movie for over a year, and finally getting the re-released Fortune Star DVD version, I wasn't disappointed. A good movie, a great place, good characters. (And I even spotted my street in the movie too!) The only thing that could improve this would be Aaron Kwok getting his kit off. :)

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: ButterflyMurders
Date: 06/05/2002
Summary: Woohoo another clone

This is somewhat in the vein of "Bullet In The Head". Actually, that's an understatement. This is a BITH clone. You have three brothers, and one of them is a bad apple.

The film is set in the 1960s, and focuses on three very close friends, Waise Lee, Aaron Kwok and Mark Cheung. They live in poverty-stricken conditions and are used to being roughed up. After being impressed by a highly-principled and strong detective, played by Wu Ma, they decide to better themselves by joining the police force. Their bond however becomes tested when one of them discovers an insatiable taste for money.

Can you guess who the bad apple is? The main problem I had with this film is its predictability. Its story follows BITH so closely at times it renders about half of it uninteresting. There isn't much variation on the themes raised by BITH (brotherhood, corruption by material goods).

Not that there aren't any redeeming features. Firstly, there are good performances from everyone involved. The first half, before it becomes too mired by attempting to copy BITH, is relatively entertaining. Also, this film looks good, with high production values, lighting and camera shots. Overall it's alright, I suppose. 6/10