新家法 (1999)
The Rules of the Game


Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 07/23/2010

Despite dozens of chopper slashings and a fairly disturbing rape scene, the Category III rating here probably came more into play due to Rules of the Game's usage of Triad rituals, which are displayed as the veteran Shing (Alex Fong) inducts the hot-headed David (Louis Koo) into the Hong Kong underworld. The usual "rags-to-riches" Triad story follows its' embedded cinematic roadmap, having David quickly rising up the ranks, which leads to a bloody confrontation during the finale, where characters drop off left and right, with no real resolution given to the story.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/24/2008
Summary: take a picture while he's still alive...

david (louis koo), becknam (edmond so), chun (sam lee) and ha (ronald wong) are four friends, who have grown up together and now eke out an existence in a small garage. ann (kristy yeung), becknam's sister who david has a soft spot for, begins working as a nightclub hostess, where a senior triad boss, shing (alex fong), takes a shine to her. when david and the boys don't take kindly to shing's advances, no matter how genuine and gentlemanly they may be, his men beat them severely. so severely that chen is left paralysed in a vegetative state and eager for revenge.

however, when becknam's gambling debts catch up with him, the group find themselves turning to shing for help. after coming through a close scrape with ko (simon loui), one of shing's top men, whilst sorting out the debts, david finds himself entering and rising the ranks of shing's gang. still, despite his success, revenge looms in david's mind...

'the rules of the game' is yet another example of a film where louis koo performs with great effect: the fact that he looks like a catalogue model, who can appear like a chinese version of ken (as in 'ken and barbie'), always seems to make the fact that he can act more potent. something i'm sure that i've mentioned many times in the past. here, koo convincingly transforms from a decent, stand-up, guy to a relatively psychotic shell of a man, driven by his hatred and desire for revenge.

alongside koo, the rest of the cast are also worthy of mention. edmond so and sam lee do good work, despite the latter being vegetative for the majority of the film. alex fong is also solid; playing the gentleman triad with just the right mixture of suave, good natured, charmer and methodical, ruthless, boss. kristy yeung performs well as the foil for the two male leads, but does more just flit between the two. simon loui, frankie ng, berg ng and chan chi-fai also crop up, in roles of various sizes, injecting some nicely manic triad members, who provide a contrast to david et al.

alongside the cast, steve cheng allows the narrative to move along rather nicely, twisting and turning more glamorous 'young and dangerous' style of rising through the ranks, into an altogether darker and tragedy filled spectacle. it is, by no means a great film, but it is an interesting, very watchable film, with a good cast.

good stuff...


Reviewed by: j.crawford
Date: 07/23/2005
Summary: good performances from talented cast.

[1999 was a good year.] Since early 1999, Hong Kong film director Steve Cheng has been very busy. He has made a half dozen or so films including Erotic Nightmare and the Horoscope films. In The Rules of the Game, Cheng tries his hand at the triad gangster genre that continues to be popular with Hong Kong cinema patrons. Working with a taut script by executive producer Nam Yin, the director gets good performances from his talented cast.

The film opens with a cleverly crafted sequence that introduces the viewer to the Hung Lok society. In a gambling parlor, run by triad under-boss Uncle "Sexy"[played by producer Ng Chi Hung], a cheater is dealt with severely. Other triad bosses feel that "Sexy" was to harsh in his action and he is called to answer and be punished. Hung Lok leader Shing[played by Alex Fong] enforces the rules of the society strictly and "Sexy" is beaten by his peers. Although willing to accept the punishment given by Hung Lok rules, "Sexy" holds resentment for Shing.

Meanwhile, Ann[played by Kristy Yeung] has started working as a "club girl" in one of Shing's nightclubs. She's a nice girl tying to earn extra money to help her brother and his friends, David[played by Louis Koo] and Chung[played by Sam Lee], who together run an auto repair shop. Shing takes an interest in Ann and begins to 'woo' or court her. Shing is, of course, a charming triad boss and he sends flowers to Ann at the repair shop. This makes David jealous, as he and Ann share a 'special' relationship.

At a festive birthday celebration for David, Shing and his followers arrive at the same restaurant. Shing asks Ann to join him for a drink. A fight breaks out and the result leaves Chung handicapped after his heroics almost saved his friends. Ann intercedes with Shing and saves the others from a similar or worse fate. David vows to revenge his friend Chung who was beaten by Shing and left brain damaged and paralyzed from the waist down.
Through an interesting subplot that involves repaying a gambling debt of Ann's brother, nicknamed 'Beckham", David is able to join Shing's triad. He aggressively rises to the top of the Hung Lok society. Once David achieves success in the group, he sets his revenge plan in motion, only to achieve tragic results.

Louis Koo gives one of his best performances to date as the tragic David Chow. His dark eyes show the hatred, the sense of loss and the sorrow he suffers through. Alex Fong is very good in the role of Shing, the powerful triad boss who is willing to give it all up for the love of the beautiful Ann.

Sam Lee steals the show, as he has in several recent films. His character is very animated and pivotal in the first part of the film. Once he is beaten and confined to a wheelchair as a vegetable, he still manages a brilliant performance.

David Chow's rise to power in Hung Lok is shown in several montages of fighting scenes with machetes, long knives, and lots of bloodletting. Action Director Ma Yuk Shing[Swordsman 3: The East is Red, Fist Power] has crafted some very tense and scary fights.

The Rules of the Game is an interesting film from one of Hong Kong's promising young film directors. I recommend that you see it, if you can.


copyright 2000 J. Crawford

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: addy
Date: 03/26/2002
Summary: David Chow- a hero of his own

I don't like Gangster movies, but I enjoy this one. I own this movie and love to watch the last part of it over and over again. It's a great story. Every role in this film is performed well and makes sense. I am especially suprised at Louis Koo's ability of portraying David Chow -a like-hero-like-devil kind of character. This is a movie that can be redone in ancient costumes (with the same cast please!)and made into a martial art/fantacy classic like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.


Reviewed by: Rab99bit
Date: 06/29/2001
Summary: A good fast paced action movie

This is a violent movie about the dog eat dog underworld, but thankfully, the "red sauce" is used rather sparingly. Alex Fong plays the part of Shing, the ruthless but principled disciplinarian and lord of the Hung Lok Society, who takes a fancy to Ann (Yeong Kung-Yue)who is already dating David (Koo Tin Lok). Ann eventually falls for Shing, because of his good looks? and gentlemanly ways (a handsome, gentlemanly but ruthless gangster???). This means bad news for David and he plots to unseat Shing, using Cheun (Sam Lee), who was beaten into a vegetable by Shing, as the excuse. Intent on getting back at Shing, David drugs Ann unconscious to prevent her from ? eloping with Shing and was instrumental in causing her death. From then on, you can more or less predict what will happen to David, who was glorified by the script writer despite being the more devious of the 2 opponents. Because of Alex Fong's charm & endearing ways, it is not too difficult to be sympathetic towards his character, Shing. Yeong Kung-Yue gives a credible performance as Ann, a strong-willed but vulnerable woman who knows what she wants. The cast, as the other reviewers have mentioned, did well in this movie.


Reviewed by: Fuck You
Date: 02/28/2001
Summary: One ig the best triad movies!!!!!

This film has an excellent story line and a very strong cast. all of the cast performed exceptionally well which made the story a lot more believeable and entertaining.

Anyone who enjoys triad movies with the combination of a love story should definitely see this, if you're looking for realism, this is recommended. Great cast of characters, original direction.


Reviewed by: David Harris
Date: 06/09/2000

Review courtesy of Hong Kong Superstars (www.hksmag.co.uk)

"The Rules Of The Game" is a triad film in the style of "Young And Dangerous" although it is perhaps not quite as slick as that film (or rather series of films) is. Not that that is by any means a bad thing - directed by Steve Cheng it is a no-frills ass-kicking gangster flick and if that is your thing you will want to see this.

As with the majority of films in this sub-genre the story isn't really what matters - it is conflict (the more the merrier) and the violent "resolution" of those conflicts that is the mainstay of these movies and this particular example passes its Category III test with flying colours. Whilst this is probably not the biggest budgeted film ever the cast is a strong one and they all make a more than adequate fist (how appropriate) of their respective roles.

Fast-rising star Louis Koo ("Century Of The Dragon") tops the cast as David Chow the boyfriend of Ann (played by Kristy Yeung) who attracts the attention of the Hung Lok society head Shing (played by Alex Fong who was Simon Yam's second-in-command in "Casino" - another great gangster film). Also in the film is So Chi-Wai as Beckham (thankfully there is no character called Posh Spice) - Ann's brother - and Sam "Beast Cops" Lee (he was the youngest of the three cops in that film) as their friend Au Ka-Cheung.

Shing's attraction to Ann makes an all-out rumble between the two groups inevitable and it isn't long before trouble flairs. During their fight Shing batters Ka-Cheung so badly (finishing off by dropping him spine-first across a hard edge of a table) that he ends up in a wheelchair - he sits there a shadow of his old self.

In the dog eat dog world that they live in it is inevitable that David joins Shing's triad group although he doesn't join only to ensure his own survival as Shing finds out to his cost. As the opposing forces Louis Koo & Alex Fong give terrific performances - Koo as David is all intensity and simmering aggression whilst Fong as Shing is a colder character yet very vicious.

Sam Lee still manages to contribute to the film despite being wheelchair bound and silent from less than 30 minutes into the film. So Chi-Wai gives a solid performance as Ann's brother (giving him as a appropriately pathetic air) but it's Kristy Yeung as Ann who gives the best performance outside of the two male leads - she elevates her character from the level of a mere damsel-in-distress and is on this evidence an actress to look out for.

The typical Hong Kong gangster film isn't stunningly original (few films the world over are to be frank) but if it's as well executed as this film is then they can be a real thrill ride. It's kind of like "The Godfather" but without all that method acting getting in the way of the violence !


Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 06/09/2000
Summary: Ok-ish

When i watched this, i didn't expect too much!! But i was suprised.........

Basic plot which gives too much away, Kristy YEUNG Kung-yu is Louis Koo's gf but Alex Shing (triad boss) wants her. Louis's small group confront ALEX SHING and they get beaten badly. In fact Sam LEE is beaten SO badly that he's a vegetable!! Kristy YEUNG Kung-yu brother is in debt due to his gambling problem and they ask for ALex Shing's help. After that, they join the triads...........but Louis still remembers what the did to Sam LEe and wants REVENGE!!

I think this movie is better than a lot of triad movies around. The transformation of Louis Koo from a kind gentle boyfriend to a emotion-less walking hatred filled man is GREAT!! I think his acting is a standout in this movie but all the others were good too!! I thought the ending was ok, but does it show (don' read on if you don't want to know the ending) the triads always win in the end?

The story is good with it's twists but i am warning you, you MAY cry watching this!! It's a sad ending!! i had to hold myself back and DAMN that sad music also..........

6 out of 10


Reviewed by: ryan
Date: 11/21/1999
Summary: Rules of the Game (1999)

Triad movies have been a hit genre for the past few years, especially the 'Young and Dangerous' series. After a summer full of horror movies, two triad films open this week. 'Rules of the Game' is a more marketable production with famous actors like Louis KOO Tin-lok, Alex FONG Chun-shun and Kristy YEUNG Kung-yu. So, will triad movies suit the audience who are fed up with the horror glut?

'Rules of the Game' refers to the rules in the gang society Hung Lok. The whole society is run by Shing (Alex FONG Chung-shun). Shing meets Ann (Kristy YEUNG Kung-yu) in a nightclub and takes a shine to her. Subsequently the gangs beats up her boyfriend David CHOW (Louis KOO Tin-lok) and his friends, including Ann's brother Beckham (SO Chi-wai) and her friend AU Ka-cheung (Sam LEE CHan-sum).

AU is beaten so severely that his lower half can't move and he turns vegetative. At the same time, Beckham is in debt. So they have no choice but joined Shing's triad party. David, who's pretty smart, climbs the ladder within a year. However, no one knows his secret plan......

Judging from the poster of the movie, maybe you will peg 'Rules of the Game' with Clarence FORD's 'The H.K. Triad' (1999). In fact, most of the sub-plots look very similar. This is not outright copying; it just shows that triad movies could be more unique. We know that triad movies have their conventions, but they don't have to be the same every time.

At the beginning of the movie, 'Rules of the Game' is quite comedic. But once AU is beaten up, the other actors can't match Sam LEE's gags. The latter part of the movie focuses on Ann (Kristy YEUNG), and it's a bit different. Her role in the ending was not unexpected, but I didn't expect Steve to present the ending in such a surprising way.

The movie focuses on the life of David CHOW in the triad society. The other material suffers from too many loose ends; and the movie would be better rounded with more context on the conflict between Shing and another Triad boss Uncle Sexy (NG Chi-hung). This would help strengthen the tension in the latter part.

Louis KOO Tin-lok performs well in 'Rules of the Game' as dark schemer with hate in his eyes. Alex FONG does his job, but he could have done with some more chances to develop his character. His character could be a battle between an angel and a devil, given the chance.

Sam LEE stands out in the movie. Though his character is almost disabled at the beginning, he sets the climate of the movie as a bit relaxed. Even though he plays a disabled character, the story still gives him chances to show his acting ability.

'Rules of the Game' is a typical triad movie. It has some good points, but there could be more to it. Kristy YEUNG's character is well done; while the conflicts between characters could be better used to set up the tensions between them. Louis KOO Tin-lok, Alex FONG Chung-shun and Sam LEE Chan-sum all play up to standard. It's worth watching.