Hong Kong Godfather (1985)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2010-07-18
Summary: Sending Shaw out with a bang...
Johnny Wang’s second directorial effort hearkens back to the blood-drenched brotherhood Shaw epics of Chang Cheh. Mad Wei (Lau Kar-Leung) is a former triad enforcer that has retired from the crime world and runs a plant nursery. When he meets back with his old friends Playboy Lung (Norman Chu) and Sergeant Man (Richard Cheung) for his former boss’s party, he gets embroiled in a power play for control of Tsim Sha Tsui East. Jiaxi Lan (Wong Chun), who ran a gang in New York’s Chinatown, has decided to make a run at Boss Han (Sek Kin) and take control one of the most important areas of Kowloon. He gets one of Han’s top men to become a mole in the organization and then systematically works to undermine and dismantle Han’s gang. When the stakes are raised and senseless killings begins, the trio of Wei, Lung and Man decide loyalty is greater than life itself and go on the warpath for revenge.
In some ways, Hong Kong Godfather feels like an episode of Miami Vice set in Kowloon. It reeks of 80s style, but in a good way. The budget looks cheap, but it adds to the flavor. The violence is so over-the-top in parts that you can’t help but laugh and not take it too seriously. There is gratuitous nudity as well... Wang was definitely pulling out all the stops in the sleaze arena. He also does the action choreography, which is absolutely top-notch. There is one part where I’m 99% sure a stunt man actually gets hit by a car at full speed. I had to rewind the film a couple of times just to check - it looks ultra-painful. The “kung fu” choreography is also excellent, totally different because it involves old-school gang weapons... simply bats, iron bars and machetes. There is also the infamous back-breaker window toss, but I don’t want to ruin that for anyone that hasn’t seen it. The finale is one of the most bloody spectacles you’ll ever witness in a Hong Kong film. They must have spent half the budget on fake blood, and it’s all for the best. Wang’s action choreography also shines in the finale, with people flying every direction into the cheapest office furniture known to man. It’s exciting, brutal and loads of fun. Are you going to get the best plot and acting in this film? No, but you’ll get one of the most exciting and jaw-dropping action films in the Shaw library.

Reviewer Score: 9