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醉生夢死的灣仔之虎 (1994)
The Tragic Fantasy - Tiger of Wanchai

Reviewed by: Gaijin84
Date: 10/28/2006
Summary: Rehash of an old theme but average...

The Tragic Fantasy - Tiger of Wanchai is based on the true story of Wanchai district triad boss Andely Chan and his penchant for race car driving. In this film the character of Andely is played by Simon Yam but with the name Chan Yiu Hing. He and his group of friends start at the lowest levels in the triad world but make their way up through the use of violence and connections to run Wanchai district. However, with greater power comes greater danger and their world starts to crumble when they step on the wrong toes.
Tragic Fantasy is a decent movie, and the fact that it is based on true events makes it a bit more interesting, but by the end it just seems like a rehash of the typical triad theme. A young, upstart punk makes some noise in the underworld and is given greater responsibility, but when the bosses see that he is gaining too much power they realize he is a liability. Nothing really new there. Simon Yam and his cohorts (Lau Ching-Wan, Vincent Wan and Roy Cheung) are fine, but none are really challenged in their roles. Small parts for legendary stars Ku Feng and Lo Lieh round out the cast. There is a fair amount of graphic violence for those interested, and it seems to be the only thing that separates this movie from the rest in the triad genre.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Chinoco
Date: 09/04/2006
Summary: Solid Triad movie based on a true story!

This is a pretty good Triad/action movie that is based on the true story. Tragic Fantasy is based on the life of Andely Chan who gained fame first as a Triad from the Wanchai district, and later as a race car driver in Macau.

Seemingly, this is your basic Triad film. It starts out with Simon and a group of his friends including Lau Chin Wan, and Roy Cheung as low level parking attendants. Simon portrays a character called “Hing” (not sure why they didn’t use Chan’s real name) that is more interested in having fun than real crime. He and his friends slowly climb up the gang ladder by making names for themselves protecting local clubs and restaurants. Local owners soon begin to hire them in droves, as the find that the cost of protection is much lower than insurance claims from the vandalism and damages they face. Simon has his own men’s problems to deal with as LCW has a severe gambling addiction that constantly leads to fights, and Roy seems to be more interested in scoring with women then the protection business. Added to all this is of course the love interest. Marianne Chan plays a good woman that Simon falls for. She likes him, but is not into the whole Triad lifestyle, and tries to get Simon to immigrate to Canada. Unfortunately for Simon, his gang’s sudden rise to success doesn’t sit well with rival Triads, and a plan is hatched to get rid of him.

As mentioned, this seems like your typical HK Triad story- only this time it is based on a true story. Having said that, I found myself really liking it. Something about the chemistry between the cast, and the flow of the movie made it really interesting. Throw in the charm of Simon Yam, and you really start to like the character of Hing (or Andely Chan). One area that could have used more work was the racing angle. Throughout the film, Hing is shown to have an interest in auto racing. Finally, after his legend grows, he is able to gain a sponsor and participate in the Macau Grand Prix. The racing footage is very weak and only lasts for a short time. The only shots we see of Simon during the race are close-ups of him wearing a racing helmet- followed immediately by stock footage of cars racing around a track! Chan did actually race in the Macau grand prix in 1993 and for movie purposes, he wins the race; but I think that is an exaggeration.

All in all, what could on the surface just be an average Triad film, actually turns out to be much better than that. This is due to the atmosphere, chemistry and especially the great fighting scenes. The action really stands out in the movie as Simon and friends really look they are fighting here! No glorified poses, no unnecessary moves, or obvious stunt doubles. Just real violent fight scenes.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 02/09/2002

There is a rule that usually holds for Hong Kong movies -- if Simon Yam is in a Category III movie, usually it will be good. However, there is always the proverbial exception to a rule, and Tragic Fantasy is it. This is an extremely dull by-the-numbers "small-time hood rises to the top but loses everything" Triad movie that even some gory violence and sex scenes can't liven up. Everyone looks like they were sleepwalking through their roles, and I almost fell asleep watching this clunker. There is really nothing to recommend about this movie; even Simon Yam fails to provide his usual coolness, and the supporting cast (especially Lau Ching-Wan and Roy Cheung) are wasted as well. Take some advice from me and don't waste any of your time with this snooze-fest unless you must see each and every movie Simon Yam's ever been in. Really, the only "tragic" thing about this film is how bad it is.

Reviewed by: jfierro
Date: 12/21/1999

Based on the true story of the rise of a powerful member of theTriad, only another good performance by Simon Yam makes this overly gritty movie watchable. Basically indistinguishable from other movies of this genre.

Reviewed by: hktopten
Date: 12/21/1999

I liked it.

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Four triad parking attendants (led by Simon Yam and Damian Lau) have a run-in with a nasty triad boss, so they start a legitimate protection racket and become incredibly prosperous in the process. The convoluted plot snakes in and around but goes nowhere in particular. One more triad drama and I just might scream my pharynx onto the carpet.


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 3