FILM DIARY: Fury (Johnny Wang, 1988)

FURY is a solid enough retread of certain elements of the plot in John Woo’s A BETTER TOMORROW, with Michael Wong, Waise Lee and Philip Chan – plus a busload of recognisable faces in the secondary cast. It clunks along here and there, but there’s some moody, noir-ish photography (all glistening city streets and neon), accompanied on the soundtrack by some equally moody jazz. I watched this with the Cantonese language track but it seems that Michael Wong looks to have been speaking English on set and is dubbed on the Cantonese track by another actor. Waise Lee is very good in his role as a man burdened with guilt after he double crosses his friends (Wong and Chan) with his cousin – only to discover his cousin is utterly homicidal.

The plot is nothing groundbreaking but there’s some phenomenal action, particularly towards the end of the picture. The close quarters combat is frustratingly overcranked, presumably in an attempt to make it appear more hectic, in a manner that one might associate with the early James Bond pictures; but the gunplay and pyrotechnics play out in glorious Peckinpah/Woo-esque slow motion. Not a bad little picture.

I watched this via the Fortune Star Legendary Collection DVD, which is fine though the print’s in a rough shape.

FILM DIARY: No Compromise (Billy Chan, 1988)

This is a typical vehicle for Danny ‘The Man Who Play Cops’ Lee, who in this picture is a detective (natch) hunting a Bonnie and Clyde-style pair of criminals from mainland China. Only the female suspect (Wong Siu-Fong) is pregnant, and her husband (Lam Wai) bears a grudge because Lee shot her in the arm – causing a gangrenous(?) infection. The police pursuit is played against the deterioration of workaholic Lee’s marriage, his wife criticising the hours he spends away from the family, and Lee attempting to rebuild his relationship with his young son, Kee.

These two narrative strands come together in the film’s climax, in which Kee is taken captive by the male suspect.

This is a good ‘un with some brutal violence, most of it gun-based. There are also one or two extraordinary stunts, including near the beginning of the picture a stuntman leaping approximately 20 feet from a tall building into a tree, allowing only this to break his fall to the ground.

It’s a moody film – more film noir than action-er. The film’s last half hour, set largely in a hospital at night, is lit in a very low-key way, and on the DVD copy I watched (the Legendary Collection disc) these sequences were very hard to make out.