Who's the Crook (1986)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2007-07-07
“Who's the Crook” has a few good ideas imbedded within it but by the time we get to them we have pretty much lost interest in the characters and their problems. We don’t actually lose interest in them, since we never had it in the first place. The structure is a complete mess—there could be three different movies here. The first and longest concerns the not very funny antics of four young people: Monaliza who lives with her mother and her three friends, Ah Wah, Terrence and The Cop who rent rooms in the apartment. They enjoy playing dumb tricks on each other, hanging out in discos together and generally acting innocuously stupid. At work Terrence and Ah Wah spent most of their time playing flirting with attractive female employees and playing tiresome tricks on the male employees, most of whom spent their time handicapping the races at Happy Valley. If this were a typical work environment the Four Asian Tigers would have been minus one and Hong Kong’s economy would have ranked somewhere between that of La Paz and Dar es Salaam.

The second part could be the basis for a caper movie, an economically told story of a sting within a sting to steal eight million dollars. It is run by Ah Wah’s boss and Ah Wah stumbles into it thinking he can grab the money before any of the conspirators know it is gone. While some of the details are over the top and the actual theft of the money (or the briefcase which should have the eight million in it) is unnecessarily cumbersome, this part of “Who’s the Crook” has the kernel of a decent heist movie. While not on the level of “Topkapi” or “The Sting”, it has possibilities—which aren’t developed.

The third part is an extended fight involving the four protagonists against a large group of club and knife wielding goons who are led by the pistol packing boss. It takes place in an abandoned building, a location that is well used as individual fighters go up and down stairs, crash through doors and make use of debris scattered about. This is where Anthony Tang Ho-Gwong really shines since he beats up at least ten bad guys while his friends are trying to hide or being pummeled.

So the last fifteen minutes of the movie are well worth seeing, the middle fifteen minutes are promising but the first hour make it difficult to get to the watchable parts.

Not recommended
Reviewer Score: 2