This one plays like a Chinese Goodfellas. Andy Lau is a small time mobster who goes ape with a cleaver one night to rescue his boss Prince from rival triad Crazy Ball and his gang. As a consequence he is promoted way beyond his station and his courage. Gigi Leung is the lawyer who represents him when he gets into hot water, much to the consternation of her special agent boyfriend. Andy is just trying to get by, but between his rivals in the gang, the cops, and the reappearance of the man he was famous for killing, it’s just too complicated. His struggle between what he needs to be and what he is is well done, but his complete non-reaction to a horrific event in the middle of the film just about cancels any sympathy you may feel for him.
The Gigi/Andy attraction is way arbitrary, and seems to occur more because they are famous HK leading actors rather than for any character reason. The film mixes the soppy love scenes with ultraviolence – these 1998 style triad boys go at it with sledgehammers, long knives, and barbed wire smeared with chili oil (ouchy).
But, many scenes are remarkable (particularly the children’s party in which the youngsters are frolicking in the pool while their dads are inside beating up a rival tied up in a hessian sack), and the ending almost redeems the whole picture. Almost.