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Genre: Crime/Comedy
Starring: Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, Alex Fong, Candice Yu On-on, Conroy Chan Chi-Chung, Kwok Cheung Tsang, Ben Yuen, Sze-kwan Cheng, Wilfred Lau, Michelle Ye
Director: Felix Chong
Rating: NC-16 (Some Violence)
Year Made: 2010







Languages: Mandarin
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16x9
Sound: Dolby Digital
Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East




Brisket ( Jordan Chan ) has been recommended by the current Kingpin ( Alex Fong ) as the heir to the operations because he has once killed many people. However, he has no intentions to return since he is now a successful chef and owner of a renown restaurant in Hong Kong. Sparrow ( Ekin Cheng ), the other Kingpin candidate, has just been released from jail. His mother ( Yu An-an ) has big plans for him to make a return. However Sparrow's biggest wish was to study Economics at the Hong Kong University. Both of them try to keep away from the big boss and not get involved in the situations, but behind them is a big problem. they are implicated and expected to replace fallen comrades. It is difficult for them to behave with integrity, and they have no choice but to once more get involved.


There is just something really awkward about this Hong Kong movie. Some people call it intuition, we call it gut feeling. Whatever you call it, there is just, well, something not right about this Felix Chong directed production. Let’s lay out the elements in the premise first. We’ve got Jordan Chan and Ekin Cheng as gangsters. The duo are well known for their on screen chemistry during the Young and Dangerous days, where the series of movies inspired young people to become, well, gangsters. So having the two stars in this movie playing gangsters should be a good thing, right?

Well, before we argue our stand, let’s go on to what other things you can look out for in this movie. There are supporting characters played by familiar faces of Hong Kong cinema, including Alex Fong (Overheard, Triple Tap), Michelle Ye (Accident, Fire of Conscience), Wong Yau Nam (Ip Man, Murderer) and Candy Yu An-an (she’s a veteran whom you may remember seeing in movies from the 1970s-1980s). This is quite a decent list of actors, by any Hong Kong movie’s standards, which also means, this will bode well for the movie, right?

And rounding it all up is the genre. Since the Young and Dangerous series back in the 1990s, audiences, especially those in Asia, have been lapping up these gangster tales. With a plot involving aging gangsters in a potential gang war (throw in some parodies involving the equally successful Infernal Affairs series), what’s there not to look forward to in this movie?

The problem is, the 90 minute movie turns out to be a satire. Those looking for a serious and affecting plot will not get it here. In joke after in joke about the familiar setups we have seen in other gangster movies pop up frequently in the movie, and we just don’t find them very funny. It almost seems awkwardly inadequate to make fun.

Don’t get us wrong, because we are a fun loving bunch here. The laughs in this dramedy (that’s about the best way we can categorise this movie) are often off centre, which makes us think that the approach just isn’t sharp enough. Some of the humour may work on some audiences, but most of the time, it falls rather flat. To be fair, it didn’t work for us because the version we are watching features Mandarin dialogue, which means that much of the script has been lost in translation.

The cast delivers a find job though, each portraying his or her character with much zest. Chan and Cheng are still good as the lovable gangster duo. Fong plays a funny bad guy, Ye plays a fiery wife and Yu takes on the flashy role of a triad matriarch. So while the cast pulls off a satire which may have otherwise worked in Cantonese, we are left in the cold.

The red and yellow DVD cover doesn’t help a lot either.




The visual transfer of the movie is fine, but it is presented in an inadequately dubbed Mandarin audio track.



Review by John Li

Posted on 10 September 2010


. Once A Gangster (Movie Review)

Other titles from Scorpio East:

. The Haunting Lover

. Ong Bak 3

. Ip Man 2

. Yona Yona Penguin

. Being Human

. Dear John

. Alice In Wonderland

. Sherlock Holmes

. Capitalism: A Love Story

. Universal Soldier: A New Beginning

. Love At Seventh Sight

. Raging Phoenix

. Murderer

. Where Got Ghost?

. The Sniper

. Shinjuku Incident

. Hormones

. Elite Squad

. Boy A

. Bottle Shock

. The Promotion

. All The Boys Love Mandy Lane

. The Tripper

. Trailer Park Boys The Movie

. Jack & Jill Vs The World

. Disaster Movie

. Space Chimps

. The Haunting of Molly Hartley

. Stir of Echoes 2: The Homecoming

. Set Off

. Marigold

. Beast Stalker

. My Best Friend's Girl

. The Reef

. Connected

. Painted Skin

. 12 Lotus

. The Coffin

. The Luckiest Man

. Forget Me Not

. The Black Swindler

. Rule #1

. Dance of the Dragon

. Money No Enough 2

. Chaos

. Midnight Eagle

. The Leap Years

. Ancient Chinese Sports

. There Will Be Blood

. The Nanny Diaries

. The Magic Gourd

. Death Proof

. Dead Air

. A Tale of Mari and Her Puppies

. My Wife is a Gambling Maestro

. Fatal Move

. An Empress and the Warriors

. Ah Long Pte Ltd

. Talking Cock The Movie

. 2 Faces of My Girlfriend

. Lust Caution

. 881

. Brothers

. Ratatouille

. The Invisible

. The Lookout

. Alone

. Bar Paradise

. China Vampire

. Hooked On You

. Underdog

. Keeping Up With The Steins

. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

. High School Musical 2: Extended Edition

. Pixar Short Films Volume One

. Who Slept With Her?

. The Jungle Book

. Disney Princess Enchanted Tales

. Meet The Robinsons

. Goal II: Living the Dream

. Hanna Montana

. Meet The Robinsons

. Wild Hogs

. Breaking And Entering

. Jump In

. Primeval

. Forest of Death

. The Fox and the Hound 2

. The Fox and the Hound

. Dumbo

. One Last Dance

. Protege

. The Curse of the Golden Flower

. A Battle Of Wits

. Rain Dogs

. Heavenly Mission

. Exiled

. Operation Undercover

. Diary

. Fatal Contact

. Singapore Dreaming

. Rob-B-Hood

. On The Edge

. The World's Fastest Indian

. Dragon Tiger Gate

. Unarmed Combat

. Crazy Stone

. Election 2

. We Are Family

. I Not Stupid Too

. The Shoe Fairy

. 2 Becomes 1

. 49 Days


. Dragon Eye Congee

. A Chinese Tall Story

. Perhaps Love


. Election

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. Wait 'Til You're Older

. The Maid


This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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