Born to Be King (2000)
Reviewed by: lordmanji on 2000-10-30
Born To Be King is a welcome breath of fresh air. After the dismal movies part 4 and 5, which celebrated a waning of freshness (especially with the absence of Jordan's character, Chicken) BTBK not only brings back Chicken but also the energy which the first three in the series also had. From the opening "comic book" style sequence, one can tell that the Young and Dangerous series has once again gone back to it's roots.
The story itself has become increasingly political, building on a trend most evident in the Y&D prequel, reflecting the major political event at that time, which is the tensions of the election of Taiwan's new president. While I still prefer the coming of age theme of the first three episodes, as the characters themselves have become big time, so too understandably must the story maturing in the sense that it now details what happens at the "top" of the game, as opposed to the struggle at the "bottom" of the previous films.
As noted, Chicken has now become the story's central focus - a breath of fresh air. Ho Nam and Chicken were always the two central characters, and without Chicken notably in part 5, the movie itself suffered. The story revolves around triad politics, and Chicken has a chance to become as his "hing tai," Ho Nam. BTBK fleshes out Jordan's character further, and Ho Nam actually is the side story here. However, his story while less, is actually more interesting than his appearance in the last two movies, if not last four. It is a touching story of loss and letting go, however brief, and fills in the blank as to whether or not he missed Smartie since he got with Liar.
Hsu Chi is as annoying as ever, what with her childish ways, but even her character turned out to be endearing.
All in all, Born To Be King is a very welcome addition to the Y&D series. It expands on the ever interesting life of Chicken, which was sorely missed, but furthers the timeline of their lives and of their characters. Technically, the film is a step above the rest as director Andrew Lau gets better and better with his craft, and the intro music energizes the movie throughout.

* It is to be noted that unless you're a fan of the Y&D series, or triad films in general, the convoluted plot and trial-like plot revealing may not be for you.

**If anyone has missed out on "Those Were The Days," I strongly recommend that fine movie before or after watching BTBK. Chicken's character is one of the two best reasons to watch Y&D, and that movie gives light to his history and what has made his character.