Prison on Fire (1987)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2005-08-31
Summary: Classic Hong Kong prison drama...
Tony Leung plays Lo Ka Yiu, a timid working class man who, after being convicted of a homicide while trying to protect his father from a gang, is thrust into the hard prison life and struggles to cope...until he meets Ching (Chow Yun-Fat). Ching is a happy go-lucky prisoner who has figured out how to deal with life within the prison and how to remain alive and neutral during the constant wars between rival gangs within the convict community. He takes Yiu under his wing and protects him from becoming just another victim. Yiu still has trouble foreseeing the consequences of his actions, and when he rats on one of the triad gang members, he gets himself in hot water with their leader, Mick (Nam Yim). Later, he gets himself in more trouble by not telling the head guard (Roy Cheung) about who was responsible for problems being raised within the prison. Yiu is in serious dire straits now, with only Ching to stand by him. As the war between the two triad factions become more intense, Yiu and Ching are caught in the middle and are used as unwilling pawns in the constant struggle for power.

Chow Yun-Fat is absolutely incredible in this movie, playing the practical jokester, hardened prisoner and understanding friend to perfection. Every scene he's in is riveting, and he plays such a likable character that you are rooting for him to succeed from the first moment he appears in the film. Tony Leung is also great, and though his character is maddeningly naive, you also pull for him to get through the movie unscathed. Although the story is a bit confusing, it is put together very well. The plots that are constantly hatched by one gang to bring down the other are very interesting and make for very tense and exciting confrontations. Chow Yun-Fat fans will love this movie, as will any who enjoy a good prison drama.

Reviewer Score: 9