Features Live Action Movies

Made In Hong Kong
(Heung Gong Jai Jo,

Director – Fruit Chan – 1997 – Hong Kong – Cert. 15 – 108m


A teenager struggles to survive in Hong Kong around 1997 – plays Focus Hong Kong 2023 on Saturday, June 24th at 6pm

This picked up prizes at film festivals in the Far East and elsewhere. Director Fruit Chan assembled an excellent cast of young unknowns, shot his film on short ends, and ultimately obtained completion funding from impressed Oriental megastar Andy Lau.

The plot, worthy of Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee or Ken Loach, concerns teenager Autumn Moon Cake (Sam Lee), living in the Hong Kong equivalent of a council high rise block with his abandoned mother, looking out for his educationally subnormal best mate Sylvester (Wenders Li), dodging the local street gangsters and constantly struggling with the ever present open invitation to start a career with the more powerful and all pervasive triads.

Obsessed with a suicide called Susan (Amy Tam Ka-chuen), who threw herself off a tall building, Moon becomes involved with another girl, the terminally ill Ping (Neiky Yim Hui-chi) who is in need of expensive medical treatment, after she pays him a fraction of the money he’s attempting to extort from her mother (Carol Lam Kit-fong).

Character- rather than stunt‑driven, this nonetheless has more than its share of tense thriller and action moments. It’s by no means perfect – chiefly, it has the most endings to any film since Celia (Ann Turner, 1989), with Chan unable to make up his mind where to end the film when he has so many superb possible stopping points. So he tosses them all in, one after the other, settling finally on the least satisfying conclusion of the lot where he attempts to up the ante via right on, anti-Chinese political content not found anywhere else in the proceedings. Otherwise, though, this remains a genuine achievement: if it’s a gritty action film you’re after, look no further.

(The above combines my reviews from What’s On In London and Manga Max around the time of the film’s UK release in 1999.)

Made In Hong Kong plays Focus Hong Kong 2023 on Saturday, June 24th at 6pm, info here.

The film is also available on Eureka! Blu-ray.


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