Hong Kong Release date: 2nd April 2009
Watched on Terrestrial PVR Friday 26th July 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
I admit to being partial to the odd gangster movie here and there and I also like films from other parts of the world. So a film that combines the two was bound to attract my attention. Add to that the fact that Jackie Chan is in it and I’m hooked! I enjoyed this one with a few reservations, oh, and I should warn those that fear the subtitle that yes, they appear on this one too. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
When Steelhand (Jackie Chan) leaves China to find his girlfriend in Japan, he enters the country illegally. He manages to evade the police and eventually meets up with some friends, other Chinese who were illegal’s. Having worked at several less than exotic locations around the place he decides there must be a better way of making money. The only way, it seems, for people in his position, is illegal. But before he can do this he saves the life of a cop, Inspector Kitano (Naoto Takenaka), who is indebted to him. And so he begins his criminal empire. This soon comes to the notice of the Yakuza and in particular, one of their leaders, Toshinari Eguchi (Masaya Katô), who just happens to be married to Steelhand’s girlfriend, Xiu Xiu, now Yuko Eguchi (Jinglei Xu). Having saved Eguchi’s life, Steelhand now has what he needs to get on the next rung of the ladder. He is employed to kill a couple of other Yakuza bosses and as a reward is given the Shinjuku district. But will it be as he planned or will there be a twist in the tale and will he have to call in his debt with Inspector Kitano?
Very well made with the emphasis on the drama rather than the martial arts. Yes, there is some, but very little, I guess Jackie Chan is concentrating more on his acting these days. All the performances were very good with Jackie Chan, Naoto Takenaka and Daniel Wu (as Jie) standing out for me. It did put me in mind of films like ‘Goodfells’ and ‘Once Upon a Time in America’, maybe without the epic scope of those movies, but certainly the look and feel of them. I did find it was beginning to drag a little towards the end and I did find some of the plot lines a little predictable. Other than that, a decent watch.
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 7.1/10.
IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 6,676 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: 63/100: (Based on 4 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 27/100 ‘Want to See’ (based on 10,643 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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