Century of the Dragon (1999)
Reviewed by: j.crawford on 2000-03-30
Summary: 1999 was a good year
[1999 was a good year.] After finishing at the HK police academy Officer Wong Chi Sing [Louis Koo] is sent undercover to infiltrate the notorious Hung Hing Society. Big Brother Fai [Andy Lau] is the de facto leader of Hung Hing but he has been trying to ‘go straight’ with legitimate business ventures and charity work. During an attack on a rival triad’s turf, the police wound the Hung Hing leader in everyday affairs, Fai’s life long buddy, Brother Pao [Anthony Wong]. Although he has been straight for more than 5 years, this shooting, as well as challenges from hostile underlings, draws Fai back to the ‘dark side’.

The script by Wong Jing is full of nasty triad challenges and revenges. Clarence Fok’s unique directorial style is perfect in realizing the nuances of the taut script. Andy Lau is once again brilliant, as he must walk the line between the cops who think he’s a crook and the triad bosses who think he’s gone soft. Louis Koo gives a decent performance as the cop who is suspected by his superior of having ‘gone bad’ and has to struggle between ‘doing his job’ and the ‘brotherly bond’ he has developed with his ‘assignment’ Fai. Suki Kwan, called ‘Shooky’ in the credits, gives her best performance yet as Fai's wife, a former club girl with a heart of gold who can kick major ass as well.

In 1999, the Hong Kong film industry gave us a lot of ‘triad’ movies, which has been a popular genre with local cinemagoers. Century of the Dragon is one of the best of the bunch. The film is well produced and the cinematography is, at times, brilliant, which is typical of a Clarence Fok film.

© 2000 J. Crawford

Reviewer Score: 9