For the next review for this month’s Genre Grandeur – Comic book / superhero movies, here is Kim from Tranquil Dreams with a review of Young and Dangerous (1995). If you don’t currently follow Kim’s site, I strongly recommend that you do so. Her site features great movie reviews, awesome travel stories, new recipes and photo challenges
If anyone still is planning on sending me a submission for this month’s genre, please do so by tomorrow.
Next month’s Genre (chosen by Cara) will be alien movies – so start sending me your reviews for Alien genre movies to firstname.lastname@example.org
Without further ado…here’s Kim’s review
Director: Andrew Wai-Keung Lau
Cast: Ekin Cheng, Francis Ng, Jordan Chan, Gigi Lai, Michael Tse, Chi Hung Ng, Simon Yam
Based on a popular Chinese graphic novel called Teddy Boy, Young and Dangerous is a low budget movie showing the rise of five young triad members of the famous Hung Hing society. Each possessing their own qualities to balance their own group and friendship, they make it through a lot of the ordeals with the leadership of Ho-Nam (Ekin Cheng). Brought up by Uncle Bee (Chi Hung Ng) when they were teenagers, Ho-Nam and his four “brothers” show that even in triad society, there are also good and bad. As he rises, the big boss Kwan is against him. Can he overcome these obstacles and get out of this alive?
I’ve never read Teddy Boy. Mostly because graphic novels aren’t really my thing and plus, when Young and Dangerous was popularized, I was ten. My mom was hesitating to even let me watch the movie due to the vulgarity. I wasn’t really sure whether this was a good choice for genre grandeur but although this was a low budget movie, its also one of the longest running movie series in Hong Kong. It made those five guys thrive in the film business. But, what makes this a fun watch also is watching how Andrew Lau, director of Infernal Affairs (which I reviewed for last month’s Genre Grandeur) has grown.
There’s a lot of pure admiration for this movie and nostalgia attached to it. Somehow, watching it again, I realize that it was memorable in my mind because I just thought it was different. Triad societies was the no-no and the evil and somehow that made this whole premise so much more exciting. Maybe thats when I subconsciously fell in love with Ekin Cheng. He is still one of my favorite actors/singers in the industry, although he’s really slowed down in the last few years.
Since we’re talking about it, its impossible to brush off how Ekin Cheng and Young and Dangerous has built the iconic character of Ho-Nam Chan. How do you describe him? He is the “good” bad guy. He respects the triad society code and he lives his triad life following the simple values of loyalty, righteousness and brotherhood. That is what earn him respect. I find a lot of people misunderstand Young and Dangerous as a movie that praises the triad society. Watching it this time, I’m not saying its not vulgar and that its a good thing to be in the triad even if you can be a good sort of bad guy. The point is that it praises values that seem to be less and less present in our society.
Sure, Young and Dangerous is dated as it nears almost 20 years since it came out and I have no idea how accurate the portrayal of Hong Kong triad society is. I’ve heard that its pretty close to the real deal. How would I know, right? For most, this is definitely not as twisted as Infernal Affairs is either. However, the simple story that it has can still pack in some unexpected moments. We still have Ekin Cheng at one of his very best roles. Ho-Nam Chan is a nobody that fought to be a somebody in the society and he did it putting his friends and being grateful to those who got him there close to his heart. Add in the phenomenal acting skills of Francis Ng as the baddie and this movie can pack a good punch. Plus, Ho-Nam and his best bud, Chicken (played by Gordan Chan) is possibly one of the best bromances on screen.
There is no doubt that Young and Dangerous deserves a lot of praise. A few directors had their shot at taking over the production. There are six mainstream movies and eight more to follow with a prequel and several spinoffs with a few of the more popular characters. Plus, last year, they even rebooted the series with fresh faces. I haven’t seen the new one but Young and Dangerous has a nostalgic and memorable place in my heart.
Thanks again to Kim for this great review!