As Tears Go By (1988)
Reviewed by: hokazak on 1999-12-09
A sort of hyperbolic take on the set-up from Scorcese's MEANSTREETS: a low-level triad "big brother" (Andy Lau) has a hot-tempered "littler brother" (Jacky Cheung) who can't keep out of trouble (gambling debts, insulting rival bosses), and consequently is in constant need of being bailed out by his protector. Andy Lau is super cool, but lacks the ambition to rise in the ranks of the triad societies - and once he meets his cousin (Maggie Cheung) from Kowloon and falls in love with her, he even decides he wants to leave "the life". But it turns out that he has to bail out Jacky one more time, with predictable results... Notable for the repetitious and grueling (but quite inventive!) punishments, beatings and humiliations that the rival triad boys from the same society put each other through, in response to the latest insult received. Two standouts are the "shooting into the other guy's waistband" trick, and the Canto-pop version of Berlin's hit song, "Take My Breath Away." Although there is some incredibly amateurish editing, I found myself somewhat fascinated by this film - it had the feel of an uneven debut piece by a new film-maker, that was flawed in its execution, but showed flashes of promise and ingenuity. (What a way to talk about one of HK's most respected directors, eh?)