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阿虎 (2000)
A Fighter's Blues

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 10/08/2003

A Fighter's Blues has Andy Lau as a kickboxer named Tiger who meets and falls in love with a reporter named Pim (Inthira Charoenpura) during a tournament. After one match, Tiger's temper gets the best of him and he ends up killing one of his opponents, which sends him to prison for fifteen years. Upon his release, Tiger travels to Thailand to find Pim only to find out that she has died, but not before giving birth to their daughter. Now, Tiger must try and create a releationship with his daughter while restoring his name in the kickboxing world.

I thought A Fighter's Blues might be an enjoyable piece of fluff like a lot of the kickboxing films (or sports movies in general) that had preceeded it. However, there's really not much kickboxing in the movie at all. Much of the running time is dominated by drama, which is not bad in spirit, but the execution here is pretty bad. First of all, the dialogue is that annoying English/Chinese mix used in more and more HK films nowadays, which I guess is supposed to give the film an international appeal, but just makes the actors look bad. But that's not really saying a whole hell of a lot in this case, because the actors can't seem to get their way out of a wet paper bag with a chainsaw.

This is definitely not some of Andy Lau's best work; the big idea on how to show how much he's changed since being in prison is to have him sport a goatee and look constipated. The other actors (mostly unknown Thais) don't fare much better, and don't even get me started on the annoying kid actors in here. They make that brat from Rumble in the Bronx look like Sir f'n Laurence Oliver by comparison. Surprisingly, the girl that plays Andy's daughter (Apichaya Thanatthanapong) actually does a good job, but it's the lone bright spot in a sea of bad acting and hammy dialogue.

Things are not totally horrible here. I will grant that A Fighter's Blues sets out what it attempts to do in creating a decent drama; it's nothing great, but it won't make you tear your hair out either. The movie does look really good for the most part, and Andy Lau fans will most likely go ga-ga for this movie, especially with the number of shots of a shirtless Mr. Lau. But for those expecting some solid kickboxing action or maybe something off the beaten path like some of Lau's newer films should probably save this one for a rainy day rental.

Reviewed by: Dyogenez
Date: 12/26/2002
Summary: As i expected

As usual whatever Andy lau touches turns to gold. With this, his 100th (i think) movie, he goes all out at the main character: A washed up boxer trying to get back into the ring. Although most of the story is slow, my interest didn't waver. The exchanges between Lau and Tokiwa, the head of the orphanege he is staying out, are very entertaining. Overall it is a good story, and Andy Lau sells it. Although the predictable nature of it left me knowning what would happen in almost every scene. The story itself has been beaten to death, and although there is great acting, i wouldn't rate it above many others due to it's predictable nature and few yet far between slow moments.


Reviewed by: paullo13
Date: 12/16/2002
Summary: A few good movies

A Fighter's Blues perhaps be Andy Lau's best acting yet. He's stepping out of his pretty boy image into a more mature/differnt role. The movie is very touching, a good story, good supporting actors and different from other typical Hong Kong movies in my opinion. Though, there are some minor yawning moments, beside that it is an excellent movie.

Reviewed by: Silver Raven
Date: 04/17/2002
Summary: Truly gave me the blues!!!

Now don't get me wrong, me getting the blues is a good thing.
Having always been a fan of Andy, this film marked his century of films and what a way to go. I've viewed this movie a considerable amount of times and with each time i watch it, i still enjoy it.

For those who don't know the story, its about a Muay Thai fighter from Hong Kong called Mong Fu (Andy Lau) who has just been released from jail for manslaughter of another muay thai fighter. Upon release he finds that his wife had been killed and left him with a rebel of a daughter in a Pattaya orphanage. The story then continues with a heartwarming story of how he tries and gain his daughter's love for him and then falling in love with the orphanage's sister (played by the stunning and awesome Japanese actress Takako Togiwa) Of course his release back into the world of muay thai quickly makes the Muay Thai Association of Thailand angry as the person who killed their glorious fighter Chart Chai is now back on the streets. To compensate for that Mong Fu begs for a match with the current champ, the deadly Tawon. This leads to the climatic finale battle which captures andy's heroic spirit (which means he dies :) Ooops...sorry spoiler!!!

A Fighter's Blues to me was something of a masterpiece, it involved a lot of character development and truly gives the viewer WAFF (warm and fuzzy feelings) :) especially when Togiwa tells him to make that choice and the finale fight. The setting in thailand is a nice change and the recognition of new cultures was portrayed well in the movie. Although the film isn't an edge of your seat all out actionfest, it had certain characteristics that made the viewer feel WAFFY :)

There was nothing i didn't really like with this movie, loved the story, loved the characters and loved the soundtrack. Some people found this movie tedious and boring and often than not silent, but the essence of this movie runs deeper than that...:) it's more than just another fighting flick!
So if you haven't seen this movie, i would recommend getting it and viewing it for your pleasure...:) Enjoy!

Silver Raven

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 04/15/2002
Summary: Average

Well, I think the biggest mistake with this was just trying to get the point across that this was Andy Lau's 100th film, and seemed very rushed. The film is pretty uninteresting, but is still resonably enjoyable, worth seeing once to make up your mind.

Rating: 2.5/5

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 07/24/2001
Summary: Brutal in the ring and out

A FIGHTER'S BLUES (2000) - Andy Lau goes from being invincible to being human, which is hard. It's a depressing and difficult film to watch, as it doesn't flinch from opening up wounds in the viewer. Andy plays the champion Hong Kong Thai Boxer who lets emotions from his love life get the better of him, which lands him in prison. When he gets out, he discovers that he has a daughter in Thailand, living in an orphanage run by Takako Tokiwo. The film is about what happens when he gets there.

It's an emotionally raw film, almost as brutal outside the Thai boxing ring as in. The message is (I think) that love is hard and responsibility is hard... though to be honest it all goes a bit wayward (and far too Rocky IV) at the end and I couldn't think what message I was really meant to be taking away except that I was upset by the experience. I think the ending was a bit of a cop out to be honest, and they could have done much more.

The film looks great and sounds great, and the performances from all involved are top rate. Andy Lau really can do no wrong these days. Takako Tokiwo looks like she'd be more at home in a more cheerful film, as she's got a great impish smile... she pulls off the harder side of the film well too though. The young actress playing the daughter is really good too.

The Mei Ah DVD is far from exceptional but it's not bad... picture quality is alright and sound is good. The subtitles start off worryingly bad but settle down quite quickly into fair English (or my brain adjusted quickly).

Definitely a film worth seeing, but could have been better.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: runo_jp
Date: 06/02/2001
Summary: A fighter's blues

Andy Lau’s 100th movie…not bad.
I think Andy Lau is now on the good track concerning his acting career, with such films as “Running out of time” and “Missing you”. “A fighter’s blues” is a little bit down to me compared to the above mentioned titles, but it is a good product.
7/10 (maybe too generous)

Reviewed by: NetHunter
Date: 04/02/2001
Summary: I am searching for a song in that movie

as a whole i like this movie, which keep me watching over and over again and what i am searching now is the song in that movie( one of the song which was a thai song ) so anyone who got it and know where to find it do contect me to my mail box


Reviewed by: azn_masta
Date: 03/21/2001
Summary: Pretty Good, but i expected more

pretty good movie but [EDITED FOR SPOILER]i thought the fights r not that good but the story was pretty kool.
I thought they should of pick at betta looking girl to act as PIM.
NEways i would give the movie

Reviewed by: zoe
Date: 03/03/2001
Summary: Great film but I need some answers.

This is a really excellent film,
but I really want some answers on the following questions;

What happen to Andy Lau's daughter Ploy?

What happen to Sister Mioko?
{her character is unknown to me, near the end of the film it tells us that she not a sister, so what is she?}

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: reelcool
Date: 03/01/2001
Summary: Acting is a tough job

Although not an Andy Lau fan, I think this is his best work to date. Acting has never been his strong point, and this film really allows him to emote and brood with the best of them. The female costar of the movie is a true beauty from Japan, but her acting was extremely annoying. Her constant "cherry" mood, and smiling all the time, at inappropriate moments, made her appear deranged. The little girl who plays the daughter was the best actor in the film. She had the range of emotions to carry the scenes better than the adults. My oscar goes to her.

Reviewed by: ICU
Date: 02/23/2001

As its Andy Lau 100th movie, you would expect it to be something special, but NO, it just your normal Andy Lau film, don't get me wrong I like this film, but do expect it to be any thing special just because it Andy Lau 100th movie. If your a fan of Andy Lau you will like it.

Reviewed by: Chuma
Date: 02/23/2001
Summary: Adrianne!! (Just kidding)

Mung Bo (Tiger) is released from prison after 10 years. He used to be a boxing champion and had a relationship with a photojournalist named Pim whilst he was contesting a title in Thailand.

The first thing he decides to do when he gets out is to find Pim, but on arriving in Thailand he finds out that she was killed on assignment in the Golden Triangle and also that Pim had a daugther named Ploy that he never new about.

He is told his daughter lives at an orphanage named St Marys in Pattaya, but when he gets there the Sister tells him she has left, but she knows where to find her.

They set off for the red light district to find Ploy with little success, until
a pickpocket named Popeye steals Tiger's wallet and manages to lead them straight to Ploy who is busily handing out the money she stole from her Dad's wallet.

They get off to a rocky start at first as ploy doesn't want to have anything to do with her father, but things improve when Ploy and her boyfriend Ray are chased by rufians and she is rescued by her Dad who beats up the attackers.

Things go on fine for a while, Ploy is very happy with her father and Tiger helps out at the orphanage, but there is unfinished business from his past life as a boxer that interrupts everything...

I enjoyed this movie a greal deal. Apart from being a nice change from the many triad movies that have been on recently, it is also a very good story with well staged fight sequences (which do get brutal, so be warned), in addition there is a strong themof romance and redemption. I would recommend this movie to people who like dramatic films with a great deal of action.

Rating : 8/10

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 02/12/2001
Summary: Not so good

Unlike the other reviewers, i felt empty watching this!!

I felt that things jumped to it's logical conclusion and i knew the ending would end like it did!!

The relationship between Andy Lau and the Pim character, well, i felt like HOW could they fall in love? Seems like they just knew each other, barely at all!!

Don't expect great fight scenes!! They are ok but nothing great.

I watch this feeling really unsatisfied, unlike the other reviewers.


Reviewed by: AV1979
Date: 02/07/2001

A tragic tale that had its ups and downs, this film marks Andy LAU's 100th film. The film reminds me of a few American films, such as ROCKY, THE HURRICANE, and the HK film SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME.

Andy plays Tiger (the leteral name of the film), a former Thai boxing champion who has been released from prison after a 13-year sentence. He comes to Thailand to search for his long lost girlfriend Pim (played by Thai actress Intira Jaroenpura, who looks a bit like Karen MOK). He finds out she has died and that he has a daughter, Ploy. He searches for her at an orphanage run by Sister Miooko (TAKAKO Tokiwo).

She takes him to the city of Pattaya, where he finally meets her. At first, they don't get along, but thanks to Mioko's influence, the two begin to bond. Things heat up when 1) Mioko falls for Tiger and 2) Tiger is ousted by Sombat, a Thai promoter, whose former champ Chat was killed by Tiger, which resulted in his imprisonment 13 years ago.

Wanting to regain his honor, Tiger challenges Tawon, the current champion. The fights, with the exception of the finale, were not too bad. Ridley Tsui Po-Wah did an okay job coordinating the Muay Thai fights, but the finale fight was not that great. It could've been done a lot better.

The film concentrates on the tragic character of Tiger and all the hardships he goes through as he is relased from prison. The film goes into flashbacks throughout the film, from his relationship with Pim to the event that leads him to jail.

I thought this was a really good film in terms of its drama, but the action could've been better.

3 out of 4.

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 02/05/2001
Summary: Severely flawed, but an admirable effort.

Don't be fooled by the trailer, which sells this film with lots of boxing and training footage; despite a long Thai boxing finale, this is primarily a romantic drama. And, though there's a lot to complain about, it's not a bad one, either.

Let's get the complaining out of the way first. The Thai orphans are a cute bunch, but their dubbed English dialogue is atrocious. The adults come off a bit better, but there's a lot of room for improvement in both the writing and delivery.

The movie is crammed full of as much sentimentality and sap as possible. Fortunately, while the Daniel Lee's manipulation of the audience is fairly transparent, it still works reasonably well, and though contrived, doesn't feel quite as empty or superficial as many movies that aspire to such levels of emotion. Unfortunately, the ending goes over the top, and is not very satisfying; I can't say more without ruining it, but just when it looks like the film is going to come to a slightly less conventional and more satisfying ending about sportsmanship and honor, it instead proceeds straight into cliche territory.

Some of the acting could be better. Andy Lau, after giving good performances with Johnny To, (is there anyone To CAN'T make look good?)makes somewhat of a return to his wooden ways. While his relationship with his daughter is (despite its heavy-handedness) fairly convincing, too much of the time the character and Andy are a bit too impenetrable and stoic. Tokako Tokiwa is fairly charming, but has a handful of embarrassing reaction shots.

Aside from the poorly-dubbed bits, the scale of the production is generally very impressive. It may be cheap to shoot in Thailand, but there is, naturally, more variety in the landscape than in Hong Kong, and it's obvious why so many productions have shot there recently. The direction is mostly well-done, though there are a few moments where the camerawork is much more erratic than the onscreen action warrants. There are a number of scenes with large crowds and interesting settings; they may not be as flashy as computerized special effects, but they definitely make the film look like a production that was alloted plenty of money and effort.

I won't be rushing to see "A Fighter's Blues" again any time soon. The ending left a bad taste in my mouth, and there are too many clunky English lines and obvious manipulations of the viewer's emotions to recommend the movie too highly. Still, Andy Lau deserves a lot of credit for trying to make a more thoughtful movie in a season crammed full of loud, stupid movies like China Strike Force and Gen-Y Cops. Although I wish "Running Out of Time," "Needing You" or even the upcoming "You and I" could've happened to be Andy's 100th movie, it's certainly not the letdown that something like "Century of the Dragon" would've been if it'd been billed as such. Despite all the criticisms, "A Fighter's Blues" is the most recommendable of 2000's crop of Christmas-season films.

Reviewed by: Paul Fonoroff
Date: 01/05/2001

Touted as Andy Lau’s one hundredth feature, A Fighter’s Blues, produced by the star’s own film company, shows the idol in good form, both physically and histrionically. As Thai boxer Ah Fu (literally “Tiger”, which is also the movie’s Chinese title), Lau is buffed up and in peak form inside and outside the ring. The Daniel Lee-directed production is as slick as its star, with a glossy polish in tune with Lau’s sleek appearance. Less healthy is that most vital element of all, the script. Cheung Chi-sing’s narrative is noteworthy for emphasizing the emotional over the pugilistic, but is lacerated by an overly calculated sentimentality that renders potentially moving moments into considerably less than knock-out punches.

All the stock characters and situations are there, and then some. After a decade in prison for killing another boxer, Ah Fu returns from his native Hong Kong to Pattaya to find his lost love (Thai actress Indhira Jaroenpura, familiar to Asian audiences from last year’s hit Nang Nak). Not only does he learn that the young lady tragically died, he discovers she left him with a daughter he never knew existed. Now barely in her teens, the girl is a rebel orphan desperately in need of a father’s love. A mother figure is provided by Sister Mioko (Tokiwa Takako), a sexy Japanese nun who runs the orphanage, and for whom Ah Fu feels an attraction that turns out to be mutual. Devout Catholics need not despair, for the scriptwriter finds a convenient secular way out of the dilemma. There is no escape, alas, from the cute orphans, whose cloyingly sweet Thai rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” would have caused men weaker than Ah Fu to go into insulin shock.

It all leads up to the inevitable boxing match in which Ah Fu reclaims his honour. The competition, which takes up nearly 20% of the movie’s 102 minute running time, is surprisingly lackluster and will fail to thrill non-aficionados. A plethora of obvious emotional tricks are pulled, with teary-eyed daughter and nun incessantly shouting their encouragement while Ah Fu is brutally beaten even as his soul is cleansed. If A Fighter’s Blues proves anything, it is that Andy Lau is destined to remain a major screen personality in the new century, a durable star whose aura, if not his story sense, seems to shine even brighter with age.

2 1/2 Stars

This review is copyright (c) 2001 by Paul Fonoroff. All rights reserved. No part of the review may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: Paul Fox
Date: 01/02/2001
Summary: A Fighter's Blues...Down But Not Out.

'Ah Fu' is not so much a story about fighting as it is about relationships and it brings to mind an earlier film of similar design called 'Ah Long', starring Chow Yun Fat. Both films are more about the characters involved than about the sport they are centered around.

The story's most interesting relationship is between that of Mong Fu and the reporter Pim. This relationship is mostly told in the form of memories, photos, and video. Sadly this is also given the least screen time and Intira Jaroenpura talents are not given a full chance to shine. Instead the brunt of the story shifts between the relationship between Mong Fu and his adolescent daughter Ploy and Mong Fu's growing affection for Sister Mioko. The father daughter relationship is touching and well played. The scene of Mong Fu franticly searching for Ploy at the rail station while she watches from afar is one example of how the film makers use the actions of the characters rather than sappy dialogue. Unfortunately this story also falls to the background in favor of the love story between Mioko and Mong Fu. Mioko is conveniently not yet a fully ordained nun and this opens the doors wide for the typical dramatic romance genre one might expect. Arguably this film might have been more interesting if it could have focused on the only one romantic relationship along with the father daughter relationship.

Of course being a film about boxing, the climax of the film leads to a final fight scene with the current Muy-Thai champ. Fortunately the audience is spared from the typical 'Rocky' style ending. It is clear from the beginning of the match where the finale is heading. Unlike 'Ah Long', 'Ah Fu' arrives there in a softer less, jolting manner. (Given his film career Andy Lau must hold the record for being the actor who has had the most blood rush from his nose and mouth).

The fight scenes themselves are nothing special. Much of the footage is fast and shaky, which was perhaps an effort to add to the feel of confusion in the ring. At times however, this becomes a bit tedious to watch.

In short, even though 'Ah Fu' isn't a cinema knockout, it is one of the better films in current release and definitely worth seeing.

Overall review rating : 3

Review by Paul Fox

Location: Presidential Theater, HK Island

Time: Sunday 31 December 4:00pm