The Red-Wolf (1995)
Reviewed by: Arshadnm6 on 2005-04-21
Summary: Too Short and Too Simple, with a bunch of no-bodies.....
Dragon (played by Kenny Ho Kar-King from ‘Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Stars’, ‘Project A part II’ and ‘Police Story II’), a security officer is onboard a luxury cruise-liner, celebrating the New Year in high-classed style. The boat gets taken over by a group of hijackers (led by Ngai Sing from ‘The Blade’, ‘The Kung Fu Cult Master’ and ‘No Problem 2’) as the co-captain, but his real intentions are to steal uranium shells secretly stored on the cruise-liner. A classy singer (played by Elaine Lui) also participates in the hijacking and Lai (played by Christy Chung from ‘Tai Chi 2’, ‘Gen-Y-Cops’ and ‘The God of Cookery’) a cruise employee acts as a con-artist to strip money off the wealthy passengers. A little girl (Ng Sin-Si) has both of her parents murdered on the cruise-liner during the takeover and becomes a soft target for the hijackers. The Red Wolf also co-stars Wu Feng from ‘Project A part II’ and ‘Miracles’ and Yuen Cheung-Yan from ‘Once Upon a Time in China’, ‘Iron Monkey’ and ‘Tai Chi Master’ as some of the passengers.

The storyline is too simplistic, there are no twists and very few sub-plots, the setting has no inspiration behind it and worst of all characters are paper-thin and not explained clearly on their background and the circumstances which have landed them in the situation at hand. Moreover, the character-development is non-existent and no deep issues are tackled whatsoever. Ng Sin-Si, Christy Chung, Wu Feng and Yuen Cheung-Yan play forgettable roles irrelevant to the unfolding of the storyline. The genre of this movie is a serious action-thriller with some romance and comedy injected into it but the later seem to dominate the main theme throughout.

Although, the action choreography for this movie was done by Yuen Woo-Ping, he was teamed up with two completely unknown action directors, Cho Wing and the infamous actor Yuen Cheung-Yan. This may have been done to give Yuen Woo-Ping additional space to deal with directing the movie which may explain the short fight-sequences observed as they did not look like they were polished in any way and appeared rather scattered at points when the movie ran out of ideas. Although, this was a direct translation of ‘Die Hard’ from a skyscraper onto a cruise-liner setting, the parallels are many and the original concepts are thin and hard to find. The acting also was fairly abysmal (tired and lifeless) and had no life injected into it by any of the actors, partly because the hero was lesser-known and inexperienced Kenny Ho Kar-King and also due to the inclusion of sex-symbol and seductress Christy Chung from Wong Jing’s vast lineage of X-rated/action movies. The main problem with the acting is that there were no well-known actors present to take charge and the movie is dominated by the likes of comedians such as Wu Feng and Yuen Cheung-Yan.

Failures in most of the above areas could be due to a lack of focus as well as the inexperience of Yuen Woo-Ping in trying to go it alone in the movie production industry. He can hold his own in action-directing sequences but not in directing a whole movie and this feature is living, breathing proof of that fact. This movie must have been unsuccessful at the box-office takings which did not do any participating bodies any favours and probably explains why one more similar directing/action-directing production featured after this film (‘Wing Chun’) by Yuen Woo-Ping when he decided to take his gloves off, call it quits and opt for a solely action-choreographer role and rightly focus on his strength in that particular area which has made him the leading success everyone knows today. Furthermore, Yuen Woo-Ping’s directing of other less well-known movies such as ‘In the Line of Duty 4’, ‘Tiger Cage 2 and 3’ and ‘Heroes among Heroes’ (with the exception of ‘Iron Monkey’) supports the above opinion.

Overall, the movie is watchful (not unbearable in the least) but very forgetful and not appealing in any area since it tries to capitalise on too many tried and done techniques in the movie industry already. This movie also proves that the people behind the cameras do not always make a successfully production and some consideration should always be given to the selection of the actors as not everyone can become a megastar like Jet Li, Chow Yun Fat or Jackie Chan overnight!

Overall Rating: 6.7/10