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洪興仔之江湖大風暴 (1996)
War of the Under World

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 06/09/2007
Summary: some brain blood vessels are broken so he's having a so-called stroke...

siu chun (jordan chan) is a low-ranking member of the hung hing triads, he's a bit of a klutz and he lives with his sister, tong (carman lee). after a chance meeting with the enigmatic hong fei (tony leung), estranged son of hung hing's boss, sui chun finds himself involved in a power struggle between hung hing and their rivals, tung sing...

when a film is directed by herman yau and written / produced by wong jing, you can't quite be sure what you'll get; it could be good, it could be bad or it could be both. this film is the latter.

the narrative shifts between from the realms of the ridiculous to reasonable drama, whilst the attempts flashy editing and cinematography ends up being hit and miss. still, despite (and probably because) of this, it does become a pretty watchable slice of triad action, even if its 'triads who sell drugs are bad, those who don't are good' stance is a little questionable to say the least.

entertaining junk...

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 09/27/2005

After the success of Young and Dangerous, there was a slew of lookalikes that continue to this day. War of the Underworld is one of the more successful of these films, perhaps not coincidentally because it features some of the same crew and stars as Y&D. It also manages to keep a sense of humor about itself, which makes it a nice change of pace from many of the other "young triad" movies, which seem so concerned about being "cool" that they forget about actually making a good film.

Like other movies in the genre, War of the Underworld tells the story of a young gangster moving up the ranks of the Triad ladder. The gangster here is played by Jordan Chan, who is of course famous for playing "Chicken" in the Y&D movies. But unlike the strong Chicken, Chan's character here is cowardly and only becomes a "good" Triad after being befriended by Tony Leung, who plays the son of the local dai lo (boss), who doesn't want anything to do with the gangster lifestyle. However, after Tony's dad falls ill, a power struggle erupts and forces both him and Jordan into actions they had never imagined.

Jordan Chan. Image courtesy of Mei Ah.
The plot is fairly standard Triad stuff, but War of the Underworld is propelled by a smart script and solid performances. Most of the principals such as Jordan and Simon Lui (who plays the "bad" gangster) are probably able to do this sort of thing in their sleep, and their good work comes as no surprise. However, Tony Leung does a change of pace from his recent "artier" work and injects a nice bit of class into a genre where performances are often left by the wayside for the sake of style.

War of the Underworld also does a good job of playing with conventions of the genre. One of the best scenes in the film comes early on, as Jordan clashes with a rival gang outside of a screening of Young and Dangerous 3. The fight is full of biting, kicks to the groin and sharp camerawork -- a change of pace from the MTV-style quick cuts and "noble" confrontations presented in many other recent Triad movies.

However, War of the Underworld still falls prey to some of the traps of the genre. There is almost too much gimmicky camerawork -- so many of the shots are tilted, I thought the VCD must have been wrongly formatted. Also, the musical montages with lame Cantopop slowed down the movie. Finally, the movie becomes a bit formulaic towards the end, with a "one or more of the heroes must die" ending, complete with yet another syrupy ballad. Overall, though, War of the Underworld is a very solid crime film that fans of the genre should enjoy.

[review from]

Reviewed by: S.A. Winters
Date: 01/02/2003
Summary: Hey, is it entertaining? Yes. Original? No.

So here you have another movie with a buch of tough triad kids running around with an array of huge cutlery shredding each other ( or at least their clothes) to peices for honor. A lot of backstabbing ( pun intended) and doublecrosses and one freak in a yellow wig make this enjoyable fare. I will admit, more than once I said to myself, "self, did I see this before?". Because we all have in one foem or another. One reviewer states "another movie glorifing triads". Yes, just like Hard Boiled don't forget. THE BOTTOM LINE - If you like this type of film - SEE IT!

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 02/05/2002
Summary: As Sydneyguy said...

...Sydneyguy summed this up for me! It is another movie glorifiying triads.

Rating: 1.5/5

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 06/08/2001
Summary: CRAP!!

I agree with SHELLY!!

I think this movie is a waste of time!! Not much fo a plot, not much action and NEVER have i seen such a movie where they promote being TRIAD is honorable!!

I actually couldn't see that the YOUNg and DANGEROUS was a triad recruitment movie, but this movie OBVIOUSLY is!! OH Hung Hing don't see drugs, so they are the good guys??

The only good thing about this movie is it's poster!! And Simon Loui as the bad guy!1 He plays this role very well!!

Nothing to recommend, but if you want to see how honorable it is to be triad, step right this way!!


Reviewed by: hktopten
Date: 12/21/1999

There is a reason why Wong Jing is among one of the HK masters. This film, like Mean Street Story and Ghost Lantern, is actually not what it seems. You would figure from the title, "Oh no, another Young and Dangerous clone from BoB and Partners." Don't let the fact that the film is based on another gang comic book fool you; the film is actually a Louis Cha/Gu Long-esque story hidden behind a gang wrapping. In fact even Tong's (Carman Lee) narrative in the beginning refers to such classics. Tony Leung is Hung Fei, a master of the blade, whose father is the head of the Hung Hing Society. Jordan Chan plays Siu Chun, a chicken of a gang member. Both are great at their roles. Adding the always yummy Carman Lee and we got a winner. Recommended.

Reviewed by: shelly
Date: 12/09/1999

Wong Jing (writer and producer) tries and fails to knock off a Triad Boyz film. The coarsest, most derivative, least interesting Goo Wat Jai movie yet. And that's quite an accomplishment, given the calibre of cast he's working with. How could a movie with Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Jordan Chan and Carman Lee be so boring? All the elements are here, but they just serve as sterile markers of a style, a genre. Jumpy camera work, a "rock" score, night street fights, tilted handheld camera, gang betrayals, car races (woops, that's another genre). And a few new twists, such as a first-person female narrator (but this is an awkward and pointless shift in perspective, vitiated by a casual misogyny that is Wong Jing's trademark). The plot is a mess, and all these bits are sloppily pasted together, one on top of the other, with no point other than to try to squeeze another hit out of the Y&D style. Skip this turkey.

Reviewer Score: 2

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

The two stars, Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Jordan Chan, had terrificchemistry in HEAVEN CAN'T WAIT and another team up should have promised the same results. Unfortunately, WAR OF THE UNDERWORLD is poorly directed with an unfocused, convoluted script. Tony and Jordan spend little onscreen time together. Tony, once again, plays a strong, silent, alienated hero and Jordan, once again, plays a wacky sidekick. He must have been bumped to star billing due to the success of the YOUNG AND DANGEROUS serious. Speaking of which, there was a bit of gratuitous promotion when the "rascals" have a fight over who gets tickets to the premier of YOUNG AND DANGEROUS III. And for some reason one of the rascals was in a get-up that made him look like Khan in STAR TREK II. Carmen Lee does her usual good job of playing a good girl who loves a bad boy. She and Tony make the best of their material and turn in touching performances together. WAR OF THE UNDERWORLD wasn't a bad movie, but it could have been so much better.

[Reviewed by Lori Saltis]