Gangs (1988)
Reviewed by: Gaijin84 on 2019-04-18
Summary: Years before US's
Gangs is a straight-forward, unflinching look at teens in Hong Kong that have lost their way through a variety of situations. Big K and Little K, brothers and members of the Sun Hing gang, are heading in different directions. Big K (Ricky Ho) realizes that the gang doesn’t offer any future, and their lives are at the mercy of their relatively out-of-touch Big Brother Wen. Little K enjoys the excitement of the gang life, but is in over his head. After a brawl with a rival gang leaves multiple members dead, the remaining group goes into hiding and tries to figure out what to do with their injured friends. Big K and his best friend Little Demon have to figure out how to navigate the delicate situation that is left in front of them.

Gangs reminded me a lot of “Kids,” Larry Clark’s groundbreaking mid-90s film that showed the other side of life for teens lacking any adult supervision or guidance. As with Kids, there are generally no parents to be found in Gangs, save for Big K and Little K’s father (a former gang member himself) and mother. The rest are drifting without any supervision... fighting, drinking, having sex and burning rats alive in the gutters. School is a non-factor. The adults the kids do interact with are basically just children in adult bodies, long-time gang members who have never really left the fold or the lifestyle. The entire film is very dark and pretty depressing with an ending that doesn’t really wrap anything and leaves you without much hope. Enjoyable though for the fact that it doesn’t feel as glamorous as a “Young and Dangerous” film and seems much more realistic. This was the first on-screen appearance for a majority of the young actors and actresses in the movie, some of whom went on to extended careers in the film business.
Reviewer Score: 8