The Young and Dangerous Series and the people behind it: Portland Street Blues - 1998
Unlike previous spin off Once Upon a Time in Triad Society (1996), Portland Street Blues (1998) is an official part of the franchise, involving a number of series stalwarts such as writer/producer Manfred Wong and executive producer Wong Jing. It also features cameos from the likes of Francs Ng, Ekin Cheng and Jerry Lamb portraying the roles they made famous in the main Young and Dangerous series.
What sets Portland Street Blues apart from the main series is not only that it is one of the superior entries of the series, but that the main focus is on a female character in a usually male dominated genre.
Portland Street Blues main focus is on the life of bisexual Triad member Sister 13 (Sandra Ng), who fans were introduced to in Young and Dangerous 4 (1997). In that film her screen time was limited but she still managed to make an impression, which led her to re-appear in part 5 before getting her own spin off.
Portland Street Blues flashes back before the events of Young and Dangerous 4, showing the audience how Sister 13 became the Triad leader she is. The film starts with Sister 13 getting drunk and beginning to tell her story to fellow Triad Ben (Vincent Wan).
It turns out that at one time Sister 13 was a young street kid who would commit petty crimes with her friends. Her father (Ng Man Tat) is a low lever Hung Hing member who is overall a good guy that would rather just gamble than get involved in any Triad activity.
Through her petty scams, Thirteen ends up running afoul of scummy Triad type SOB (John Ching), who ends up putting her on the path to becoming a branch leader herself. This path involves a number of life changing incidents, mostly harrowing events such as the murder of her father.
Sister 13’s story also intersects with Tung Sing Triad Coke (Alex Fong), who she falls in love with and that of Kei (Shu Qi), an ex prostitute and now drug addict. She is also assisted on her path by on off again lesbian lover Yun (Kristy Yeung).
In place of usual series director Andrew Lau is Raymond Yip, who comes from the Wong Jing stable of directors. Not as stylish a director as Lau, with Yip shooting the film in a less frenetic style than any of Lau’s entries. Yip focuses more on the actors, with the film being full of award worthy performances.
Yip, assisted with one of the series best scripts, also handles the fact Sister 13 is gay with surprising tenderness and sensitivity, unlike other Hong Kong films of the period, which would have used a lesbian relationship as a chance to titillate the audience, not unlike other Wong Jing productions such as Raped by an Angel 2: The Uniform Fan (1998).
Yip isn’t as prolific a director as Lau, but like him, his filmography is extremely inconsistent, with him directing something as well done as Portland Street Blues, then going on to direct films like the abysmal For Bad Boys Only (2000).
Yip actually started out his directorial career with one of Chow Sing Chi’s poorer films, Sixty Million Dollar Man (1995). Produced by Wong Jing as an attempt to emulate the success of big budget Hollywood comedies like The Mask (1994), Sixty Million Dollar Man unfortunately doesn’t have the same budget as those types of films and features some very poor effects work, although decent in comparison to other Hong Kong features of the time. There is some humour to be had, with Chow Sing Chi doing his usual shtick although Elvis Tsui steals the show as a wacky scientist.
His follow up was still a comedy of the low-brow variety, yet again produced by Wong Jing. I’m Your Birthday Cake (1995) an extremely sleazy romantic comedy, which has some troubling views on homosexuality, which is the more surprising considering how he handled the same subject a few years later in Portland Street Blues. The film is saved by a surprisingly decent lead role from Wong Jing regular Chingamy Yau.
Yip’s third film as director was the anthology horror comedy Till Death Do Us Laugh (1996), a slightly better made film than his previous two, with him directing the third and final story that forms the film. The first two stories are directed by Joe Ma and Chin Man Kei. Yip’s section of the film is probably the best and also had him directing Shu Qi for the first time.
After these he would then go on to direct Portland Street Blues, which is still to date his best feature, although he has made other quality features since that are at least on par with his work here.
His next film as director would keep him associated with the Young and Dangerous series, with another spin off to the franchise. Those Were the Days (2000) is another well made drama akin to Portland Street Blues, this time focusing on possibly the series most popular character, Chicken, as played by Jordan Chan.
Ekin Cheng had made cameo appearances in Yip’s previous two movies, before he would take centre stage in the afore mentioned For Bad Boys Only (2000). Considering that it involved a number of the people that was involved in his last two successes such as writer/producer Manfred Wong, Cinematographer Liu Yiu-Fai and actors Ekin Cheng and Shu Qi, For Bad Boys Only is an unmitigated disaster.
Yip shows none of the skill that made his last two films so memorable, with an abundance of terrible CGI, poorly shot action and wooden performances from the leads.
The critical failure of For Bad Boys Only didn’t stop Raymond Yip from continuing to work with writer/producer Manfred Wong. Luckily their follow up would be City of Desire (2001), which had him working with Portland Street Blues leading lady Sandra Ng. The film also features performances from other Portland Street Blues actors like Alex Fong and to a lesser extent Kristy Yeung.
Not completely successful, with the film feeling more like an educational film about Macau instead of the Triad drama that it portends to be. Still it is a major improvement on Yip and Manfred Wong’s previous endeavor.
The following year would find Yip returning to the comedy genre, making the entertaining but underwhelming Beauty and the Breast (2002). The enjoyment factor is upped by a couple of funny turns from leading men Francis Ng and Daniel Wu, with the added bonus of getting to see what they would look like with a set of breasts.
Within the same year, Yip would direct another comedy feature, this time co-directing alongside Andrew Lau with Manfred Wong yet again involved in the script. Unfortunately, Women From Mars (2002) would prove to be another failure for the director. Even the star studded cast which includes the likes of Ekin Cheng, Michael Wong, Shu Qi and Louis Koo can’t save it, although Francis Ng does have fun in one of the smaller roles.
Women From Mars was made as a benefit film for producer Ng Chi Hung, who was in a considerable amount of debt at the time, so it is understandable that the film feels rushed and cheaply produced compared to both of the directors other features. This doesn’t cover the poor script and the fact that both directors seem to be going through the motions.
2002 was quite a busy year for Raymond Yip, with him going on to direct his third feature of the year. Romantic drama Loving Him (2002) is a well acted time waster that may not be Yip’s finest work but is an improvement on Women From Mars. Once again the film was scripted by usual cohort Manfred Wong.
The following year unfortunately didn’t fare better for the director, with him turning out the woefully unfunny romantic comedy My Dream Girl (2003) then on to the slightly better Anna in Kungfu-Land (2003), which at least has the bonus of some decent fight scenes courtesy of choreographer Tung Wai. Both films starred Ekin Cheng, moving him further away from his Chan Ho Nam persona.
Yip would take some time off after Anna in Kung Fu Land, eventually returning to movies with director Peter Chan’s The Warlords (2007), which he is credited as executive director. The Warlords is a violent remake of Chang Cheh’s masterpiece Blood Brothers (1973). An excellent period drama, with terrific battle scenes, high production values and great leading roles for Jet Li, Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau. This is a major improvement on Yip’s previous work although it is unclear how much of the finished film could be accredited to him.
Before he worked on Warlords, Yip directed the film Fate (2008), which he apparently shot in 2006. There isn’t much information to be found online regarding the film, as it is unclear if it was even released, so I can’t comment on the quality other than it had Yip working once again with director Andrew Lau, who produced the film.
He would continue to take a back seat, with him showing up as either an executive director on an Empress and the Warriors (2008) or as a second unit director on family movie Trail of the Panda (2009).
His return to the director’s chair in 2010 probably went unnoticed by most, although his two films in the year are solid, with his first of the year Lost on Journey (2010) being a fun lighthearted road movie. His follow up film was the underrated Bruce Lee, My Brother (2010), a biopic focusing on the early years of the martial arts superstar.
Co-directing with Manfred Wong, the film goes in some way for making up for some their poorer collaborations in the past, with the film being excellently shot, featuring great performances and some well staged fight scenes, although it must be noted that it is not an action film. The film certainly doesn’t deserve some of the bad press that it has received.
Raymond Yip and Manfred Wong would stay loyal, teaming up yet again, this time on the supernatural thriller Blood Stained Shoes (2012).
The majority of Yip’s recent directorial endeavors have involved Manfred Wong in some capacity, with the Phantom of the Theatre (2016) and Cooking up a Storm (2017) being two of their better collaborations
The major selling point of Portland Street Blues is the excellent lead performance from Sandra Ng. The character of Sister 13 had proven popular in the previous 2 installments, but her screen time was limited. With Portland Street Blues she is front and centre, giving the character further depth and Ng a true chance to shine.
I have written in detail previously about the great work that Ng has done throughout her film career. Equally adept at comedy or drama, Portland Street Blues film went on to garner Ng a best actress award at both the Hong Kong film awards and the Golden Horse Awards.
Co-star Shu Qi, one of the more famous faces from the series, is equally impressive in her role as an ex prostitute come drug addict. This would be the second character she portrayed in the Young and Dangerous series, as in the same year she had already appeared in Young and Dangerous 5. She would play yet another different character in the next entry, Young and Dangerous: The Prequel (1998).
Shu Qi was rewarded for her performance by winning the best supporting actress award at the Hong Kong film awards.
Although nominated for best supporting actress, Kristy Yeung was overlooked when it came time to giving out awards, although she is one of the stronger elements of the film. Like co-star Shu Qi, the quality of her performances betrays her model roots with her sharing great chemistry with leading lady Ng and conveying a great deal of emotions sometimes without even saying a word.
Yeung had previously lost out on the award for best newcomer at the Hong Kong Film Awards for her performance in Peter Chan’s Comrades, Almost a Love Story (1996). Before this she had taken part in the Miss Asia Pageant beauty contest which was organised by broadcasting company ATV.
Yeung was crowned Miss Asia 1995, and through her association with ATV began to appear in a number of their television programmes such as King of Gamblers (1996), before moving into film work.
Further high profile film work would come during the remainder of the decade, with co-starring roles in Andrew Lau’s fantasy epics The Storm Riders (1998) and A Man Called Hero (1999). She would again reprise her role of Yung from Portland Street Blues in both Young and Dangerous: The Prequel and Those Were the Days, albeit in cameo appearances.
Like Co-star’s Shu Qi and Ekin Cheng, Yeung would have the misfortune of working on the inferior For Bad Boys Only as well as the enjoyable swords play comedy The Duel (2000), which saw her working again with three of the architects of the Young and Dangerous franchise, Andrew Lau, Manfred Wong and Wong Jing.
Even after the failure off For Bad Boys Only, Yeung wouldn’t be put off from working with director Raymond Yip again, making a small appearance in City of Desire alongside Portland Street Blues co-stars Sandra Ng and Alex Fong.
Considering her stellar work in Portland Street Blues, the actress still ended up acting in a good deal of inferior films, such as Fall for You (2001), The Avenging Fist (2001), Fate Fighter (2003) and PTU File – Death Trap (2005).
Yeung would appear less in movies at this point in her career, with small cameo appearances in the art house martial arts drama thriller Ming Ming (2007) and Bruce Lee, My Brother, which had her working under Portland Street Blues director Raymond Yip yet again.
At least she would get a substantial role in the comedy Where Are You From? (2011), even if the overall quality of the film was sadly lacking. The same can be said for the romantic drama Be Together (2015), which is only marginally better.
It may seem that looking at the films she has appeared in that she has been away from the public eye, but she has racked up quite the amount of television roles in conjunction with her film work. Shows like My Date With Vampire (1999) and its sequel show as well as more recent shows as Great Wudang (2015) and Women of the Tang Dynasty (2015).
Portland Street Blues may take a more female orientated view of the Triad world, but there are still a couple of notable male performers included. As well as cameos from series stalwarts Ekin Cheng and Francis Ng, there are main roles for the always dependable Alex Fong and the terrific Ng Man Tat, who is his usual terrific self.
Fong plays Triad member Coke, the unrequited love of Sister 13. Coke is a member of the Tung Sing Triad, whom sister 13 meets before setting of on her own Triad way of life. Coke isn’t exactly one of the actor’s best roles, with him being clearly overshadowed by his female co-stars. Saying that, it is still better than his role in Raped by an Angel 3: Sexual Fantasy of the Chief Executive (1998), made the same year.
During his career, Fong has racked up more than 100 film appearances, some admittedly better than others. The actor has been working steadily since the second half of the 1980’s, and can be seen in popular films like Angel (1987) and its sequels as well as the early Chow Sing Chi comedy Sleazy Dizzy (1990).
In the same year he would get a chance at more of a leading role in veteran director Chor Yuen’s stab at the Heroic Bloodshed genre, Bloodstained Tradewinds (1990).
Similar fare was to follow, with a number of genre quickies like Devil Cat (1991), Pretty Woman (1991), Gigolo and Whore (1991) and its equally sleazy sequel released the following year.
Some of these films would turn out better than others, such as Guns of Dragon (1993), which has him in a main co-starring role. Not the greatest example of Hong Kong film making, there is still the requisite action scenes and decent production values that should keep fans happy.
Consistently giving decent performances in inferior films, it would be a few years before Fong’s film roles would get better. In 1996 he co-starred in Johnnie To’s A Moment of Romance 3 (1996), the final part of the trilogy. Not a great role, but at least he was acting in something more worthy of his talents.
Further work with Johnnie To was to come, with him acting alongside Lau Ching Wan in the directors Lifeline (1997), a sold disaster thriller, finally giving the actor a worthy character to play. Moving further into big budget filmmaking (in Hong Kong movie standards at least) was his smaller role in Teddy Chan’s Hollywood style thriller Downtown Torpedoes (1997).
1998 would prove to be a considerably busy year for the actor with him acting in 8 films, of varying quality. As well Portland Street Blues and the previously mentioned Raped by an Angel 3: Sexual Fantasy of the Chief Executive, he would feature in worthwhile movies like Till Death do us Part (1998) and Your Place or Mine (1998) in main roles in addition to a small part in The Storm Riders.
One of his more enjoyable films at this time was director Clarence Fok’s Cheap Killers (1998), a throwback to the best Hong Kong films of the 1980’s. To follow would be the decent Triad drama Rules of the Game (1999), before going on to act alongside the late Leslie Cheung in Double Tap (2000) from director Bruce Law and producer Derek Yee.
Fong can quite easily switch between A and B level productions. For every Double Tap, there is a Sharp Guns (2001) or a Devils Touch (2002), both of which come from B movie director Billy Tang.
Luckily directors like Herman Yau and Derek Yee would still see the qualities of the actor and cast him in more worthwhile fare such as Yau’s psychological thriller Astonishing (2004) or Yee’s One Night in Mongkok (2004).
Fitting around these were two of his lesser films, with the straight to video Cop Unbowed (2004) and the enjoyable Explosive City (2004) which features a decent cast for a film of its type, including Simon Yam and Japanese superstar Sonny Chiba.
Fong would team up yet again with director Derek Yee and One Nite in Mongkok co-star Daniel Wu on the comedy Drink-Drank-Drunk (2005), although considering their previous collaboration the film ultimately disappoints. Slightly better is the supernatural thriller Home Sweet Home (2005), with the actor in a co-starring role alongside Karena Lam and Shu Qi.
After these co-starring roles he would headline the horror comedy Don’t Open Your Eyes (2006), reteaming him with Cheap Killers director Clarence Fok. Sadly the film doesn’t live up to the fun of their previous collaboration.
Heavenly Mission (2006) would bring the actor back into the Triad genre, co-starring alongside Ekin Cheng, with Fong giving the best performance of the film.
The remainder of the decade would have Fong appearing in supporting roles such as Tsui Hark’s female led comedy All About Women (2008) or Overheard (2009) from directors Alan Mak and Felix Chong. Overheard was produced by One Nite in Mongkok director Derek Yee.
One of his Overheard directors, Felix Chong, would employ his services the following year for Triad satire Once a Gangster (2010), which would reteam Young & Dangerous co-stars Jordan Chan and Ekin Cheng. Disappointingly Cheng is little more than an extended cameo although Fong goes in some way for making up for this giving a hilarious performance throughout.
Triple Tap (2010) should have been a surefire hit. A sequel to the previous hit Double Tap, but with the added bonus of master director Derek Yee taking over the reigns. Add in some star power from the likes of Louis Koo and Daniel Wu and Triple Tap really should have easily surpassed the original.
Unfortunately the film never fails to be a disappointment, with a total lack of pace or action and also relegates original star Alex Fong to a small supporting part, playing his character from the previous Double Tap. Fong is one of the saving graces of the film and it would have been better suited focusing on him than the more popular Louis Koo or Daniel Wu
Directors Felix Chong and Alan Mak are clearly fans of the actor with them casting him in two of their films in the same year, with the first being The Lost Bladesman (2011). Appearing in a small role he is sadly overshadowed by the excellent Jiang Wen and the star power of Donnie Yen.
In addition Fong would have a very small role in Overhead 2 (2011), the director’s sequel to their previous success. A thematic sequel with all the returning actors playing different characters, Fong’s screen time amounts to no more than a cameo.
The same is true of his turn in Derek Yee’s The Great Magician (2012), which proved to be another lacklustre effort from the usually dependable Yee. At least he would have a more leading role in the same years Be a Mother (2012).
Due to the success of the previous two Overhead films, a third was inevitable. Overhead 3 (2014) would prove to be the weakest entry of the series, although the excellent performances from the leads are a plus.
Further work with Derek Yee would continue in the same year, with a supporting turn in psychological thriller Insanity (2014) which Yee produced before making a cameo appearance in Yee’s own directorial offering I Am Somebody (2015), another step in the wrong direction for the previously stellar director.
Sadly it has been a while since Fong has had a leading role with even his most recent output, the romantic comedy Paris Holiday (2015) and romantic drama Perfect Imperfection (2016), relegating the actor to supporting roles that he could do in his sleep.
In addition to Alex Fong, the legendary Ng Man Tat stars as Sister 13’s father, a low level triad. Although Man Tat is primarily known as a comedy star he has proven time and time again how versatile an actor he can be. His performance in Portland Street Blues is no different with his Triad character essentially being a good guy if somewhat weak.
Man Tat has been working within the Hong Kong television and film industry for decades and deserves an article of his own, which I am currently working on.
Yet again Manfred Wong carried out scripting and producing duties. Portland Street Blues would turn out to be one the best scripts he has written within the Young and Dangerous series, with the change of primary focus doing wonders for the film. The film only slightly falls back on genre clichés in the last third film when it fall back on usual Triad film tropes and brings in Ekin Cheng as Chan Ho Nam to remind you you’re watching a Young and Dangerous film.
Manfred Wong wasn’t the sole writer on Portland Street Blues, sharing a writing credit with Patrick Kong.
Kong is a writer and director in his own right, probably most famous for directing Marriage with a Fool (2006) and its recent sequel Anniversary (2015), which stars the other Alex Fong, Fong Lik-Sun.
Before co-writing Portland Street Blues, Kong had already worked as a writer on Love Amoeba Style (1997) and First Love: Litter on the Breeze (1997), both of which starred Eric Kot. Of the two, First Love is the most worthwhile, being just strange enough to be enjoyable and being visually similar to the films of its producer Wong Kar Wai.
After Portland Street Blues, Kong would continue to ply his trade as a screen writer, working once again with Manfred Wong on the forgettable romantic drama Un Baiser Vole (2000).
The majority of Kong’s work as either writer or director has focused on his characters love lives and how love stinks. His next two writing credits feature this at the forefront with the dogme like Leaving in Sorrow (2001) and Loving Him (2002) from Portland Street Blues director Raymond Yip. Like that film, Loving Him was again co-written between himself and Manfred Wong.
More lighthearted was My Lucky Star (2003), a Lunar New Year romantic comedy which he co-wrote with the film’s director Vincent Kok. Even with the star pairing of Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Miriam Yeung, the film is nothing more than a disappointment, being one of the un-funniest Lunar New Year comedies to come out at this time. Only a scene stealing turn from Ronald Cheng goes anyway in making My Lucky Star a worthwhile experience.
Not learning his lesson, Kong would reteam with director Vincent Kok in the same year, this time on the more enjoyable Dragon Loaded 2003 (2003). This time Ronald Cheng is moved up to lead performance, with him pretty much carrying the film on his shoulders.
Not the best example of a Hong Kong comedy but fun enough and a major improvement on Kong and Kok’s previous. The success of the film led to Vincent Kok directing a sequel two years later, Dragon Reloaded (2005).
Staying within the comedy genre, Kong contributed to the script for adult comedy Men Suddenly in Black (2003), a more successful Hong Kong comedy than some of his previous efforts.
2004 would mark a turning point in Kok’s career with him making his directing debut with My Sweetie (2004), which he also wrote. Unfortunately it would prove to be one of his poorest efforts, with some abysmal acting and an equally poor script.
Luckily he had the successful Super Model (2004) to fall back on, which he co-wrote. Directed again by Vincent Kok and starring Ronald Cheng, the film is essentially a Hong Kong reworking of Ben Stiller’s Zoolander (2001), stealing scenes wholesale. Thankfully star Ronal Cheng is able to pull the film through, making Super Model an enjoyable Hong Kong comedy.
Kong would wait a couple of years before trying his hand at directing again. The result was the better realised but still not wholly successful Marriage with a Fool (2006), which I wrote about earlier.
His next film as director would yet again cast the lesser Alex Fong, Alex Fong Lik-Sun, this time in Love is Not All Around (2007), another romantic drama which was a step back for the writer/director.
Kong would continue to have a cynical view of romantic relationships with L for Love, L for Lies (2008). Starring his usual leading man Alex Fong Lik-Sun, the film is a major improvement on their previous two collaborations.
Unfortunately the director would follow this up with supernatural drama Forgive and Forget (2008). At first the film seems a step out of the directors comfort zone, being a supposedly supernatural thriller, however the director reverts back to his usual themes of doomed relationships and how much love sucks.
2008 was a busy year for the director with the release of his third film, Nobody’s Perfect (2008). Surprisingly Kong eschews his usual themes of doomed relationships and opts for a breezy comedy, although one that is tinged with some downright unpleasant scenes of racism.
He would return to his usual romantic themes with Love Connected (2009), which further proved that Kong is clearly better at writing material for other directors than he is directing his own material, with Love Connected being one of his poorest examples of filmmaking to date.
72 Tenants of Prosperity (2010) was a step in the right direction, being an extremely fun Lunar New Year Comedy with winning performances from Eric Tsang and Jacky Cheung. However this could potentially be down to the fact that Kong co-directed the film with Chung Shu-Kai and Eric Tsang himself.
Getting 2010 of f to a good start with 72 Tenants of Prosperity, Kong would quickly fall back to his usual film making ways with Marriage with a Liar (2010), which has all the hallmarks of a typical Patrick Kong film. This is in no way a recommendation.
Kong would take a step away from Hong Kong at this point, making his first film for Mainland China. Mr and Mrs Single (2011) was a change for the better for the actor, with the film having good production values and two sold actors in the leads, Eason Chan and Rene Liu. It was notable also as the first film Kong directed that wasn’t based on his own script, although he apparently done some un-credited writing work on the screenplay.
His follow up film was the final part in his “marriage” trilogy which included his previous two films Marriage with a Liar and Mr and Mrs Single (2011). The third part, Love is the Only Answer (2011) is clearly the most successful of the three, with a funny script and a winning performance from Alex Fong Lik-Sun, proving that he has been gradually getting better as an actor since he made his debut in the film 2002 (2001).
Kong’s third film of 2011 shook things up a little, with him dipping his toe in the horror genre once again with Hong Kong Ghost Stories (2011), a horror comedy co-directed by Wong Jing. This consists of two separate ghost stories, with Wong Jing directing the first part of the film.
The film is quite uneven due to the differences of the two filmmakers, although the film is satisfying on a pure enjoyment level, with Kong’s section of the film being superior to the first half, with him managing to still fit in some of his usual themes of doomed love and his typical pop culture references.
The films to follow would have Kong churning out his usual disposable romantic comedies like Natural Born Lovers (2012), A Secret Between Us (2013) and The Best Plan is No Plan (2013) which can be attributed as being possibly his worst film as director.
He would come back from this failure by directing the high concept comedy Delete My Love (2014), which stepped back from the usual love sucks scenario’s of his output for something slightly more fantastical. The film is given plus points for starring veteran comedy star Michael Hui in a supporting role.
Including his work as a director, he would write and produce S for Sex, S for Secret (2014), Love Detective (2015) and Are You Here (2015). They may not have him as director but each film has the hallmarks of his work, with the usual themes and each being as equally inept as the other.
At the same time he would make his own similar fare with Return of the Cuckoo (2015), a sequel to the television series of the same name and Anniversary (2015), a ten years later sequel to his earlier success Marriage with a Fool.
Kong’s most recent work, like the previous year’s Anniversary, saw the director making a sequel to one of his earlier successes. L for Love, L for Lies Too (2016) is an in name only sequel that offers pretty much more of the same to whatever fans Kong may have. It also had him working with regular leading lady Stephy Tang yet again.
Portland Street Blues could never be mistaken as an action movie, but like the majority of the Young & Dangerous series, there are the usual beatings, slashing and stabbings included, although less than some entries. Like previous entries the limited action is handled well but not exactly the best work the choreographers have done.
The action choreography is handled by a lesser known name in the Hong Kong film industry, Adam Chan Chung-Tai, who has worked steadily as a stuntman and action choreographer since the early 1990’s,
Chung-Tai’s work can be seen in a number of B grade Hong Kong films of the time such as Young Wisely (1993), On Fire (1996) and Thunder Cop (1996). The last two were directed by Clarence Fok and have a certain charm about them, but could never be classed as quality films.
During this time, he worked on the memorable Remains of a Woman (1993), a Category 3 true crime drama. Chung-Tai clearly worked on the film just for safety sakes, as the film could never be considered an action movie, although it can be exciting due to the nature of the story.
It would appear that director Clarence Fok liked working with Chung-Tai, as he would go on to choreograph the action on Cheap Killers, Her Name is Cat (1998), The HK Triad (1999), Century of the Dragon (1999), Don’t Look Back...Or You’ll Be Sorry (2000), Martial Angels (2001), Stowaway (2001), and The New Option (2002), all of which Fok directed.
His work with Fok varies in quality, partly due to differing budgets, but there are standouts, with the action in both Cheap Killers and Her Name is Cat having especially memorable action scenes.
Chung Tai worked again with Portland Street Blues and Cheap Killers actor Alex Fong on the previously mentioned Explosive City, creating some well timed action scenes.
The remainder of Chung-Tai’s career as action choreographer has seen him strictly stay in B Movie territory with the odd standout like I Corrupt All Cops (2009) or Turning Point 2 (2011), where he would work with director Herman Yau again after their previous collaboration on the disappointing Dating Death (2004).