In the 90s, Sek Shi Ding (Jordan Chan) from the famous triad
"Hong Sheng" is a very good fighter but was sentenced
to prison due to assault. He decides to wash his hands off the
gang after leaving prison. He opens a renovation company together
with his good friend, Jiu Fei (Timmy Hung). Unfortunately, a
rival gangster Johnny is afraid that Sek Shi Ding would come
back to the gang and decided to prevent that from happening.
Sek Shi Ding's siblings were attacked and his good friend, Jiu
Fei was killed. Hence, Sek Shi Ding who wanted to take revenge
is forced into the world of the triads again...
Jordan Chan in yet another triad flick? Yes, while
his buddy Ekin Cheng has pretty much retired from such roles
after the Young and Dangerous series, Jordan Chan appears
content to reprise a similar role every once in a while.
The good news is that Hong Kong Bronx is no dud, unlike this
year’s dismal Fatal Move. But Wong Jing’s name
on the producer’s credit should also tell you that this
will be no classic either. Instead, Hong Kong Bronx ends up
being characteristic of many such mid-range works- a guilty
pleasure to watch but ultimately forgettable.
As if a nod to his age, Jordan Chan plays Sek Shi Ding, once
a big time triad member who has spent the last eight years
of his life behind bars. These eight years have made him a
reformed man, and upon his release, he wants to start a legitimate
business with his buddy Faye (Timmy Hung). He also wants to
dedicate his time to taking good care of his two sisters,
Bonnie (Vonnie Liu) and Barbie (Ada Wong). In short, he wants
nothing to do with his past life.
But naturally, Neil’s attempts to sever his connections
with the triads will be thwarted. An impending election is
coming up and the elders feel that Neil is the best candidate
to take over. They do not want power-hungry Johnny (Chan Bo-Yuen)
to assume the post. Gradually, Neil finds himself sucked back
into the vortex of his past.
There is also another parallel story of Bull (Kenny Wong),
a truck driver who wants a honest and simple life. But his
son is bullied into joining the triads and his girlfriend
owes the triads money. A chain of events will lead Neil and
Bull to take on the triads in a violent bloodletting climax.
And indeed, Hong Kong Bronx represents an emerging trend in
triad movies of late, involving more violence and copious
amounts of CGI blood. There is much of each to be had here
as well, but the ever vigilant censors have once again exercised
their better judgment especially at the climax which turns
out to be as horribly mauled as that in Fatal Move.
As with all such movies, there are themes of loyalty and brotherhood
here especially with Sek and his buddy Faye. Although there
are moments of melodrama, they are thankfully balanced with
an always watchable performance by Jordan Chan. You could
go as far as to say that he has mastered the role of the reluctant
and reformed ex-triad member whose past catches up with him.
Whether intentional or not, Hong Kong Bronx feels like it
was shot cheaply on handheld DV cameras. Perhaps that is director
Billy Chung’s idea of lending the film a gritty feel.
Regardless, it does take a while to get used to the slightly
bleached colours in the day, and the overexposed look at night.
All in all, if you lower your expectations, Hong Kong Bronx
still is fun to watch. There are many elements which are basically
a retread of the genre, but hey if you’ve enjoyed them
before, you’ll still enjoy them here.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
track comes in Chinese and Cantonese with both English and
Chinese subtitles. Choose the Cantonese track for a more authentic
feel. Visually, the film looks like an amateur home video
at times, but that is due to the nature of the film than the
transfer to disc.
by Gabriel Chong