Most of you know that I’m not really a film critic, but my friend who is asked my thoughts on Made In Hong Kong about a month ago, and I’m just getting around to posting them now. This isn’t really a review, just my opinion. I suppose that is a review, huh? Here’s the trailer if you haven’t seen it:

If the embedded video doesn’t load, click to watch
MADE IN HONG KONG [OFFICIAL TRAILER]
at YouTube.

I wasn’t sure I had seen the film based on the trailer. The cast looked familiar enough and I had seen plenty of movies back then. Even though the trailer mentions that this if the first time Made In Hong Kong was released in the US, there were plenty of movies shown in Chinatown (not to metion bootleg VHS tapes and DVDs) that never had official American releases. I don’t even know the titles of many of the ones I saw back then. It also mentions that this is the first independent HK film, but I’m sure Tsui Hark would take issue with that.

Turns out, I had not seen the film before. The 4K restoration I saw looked like the movie was shot yesterday. It looked better than it would have had I seen it back in the 1990s, because in those days the 35mm prints were beat up by the time I saw them. It was actually a little disconcerting to me at first, but not everyone is going to have that issue. While it isn’t for everyone, I enjoyed the movie. Given the plot, it could have gone the extreme melodrama route like similiar gangster youth films of the era. The director chose instead to keep things grounded, focusing on the characters, their relationships to each other and the greater societies they inhabit, occasionally injecting some social commentary. I wouldn’t call Made In Hong Kong a bleak movie, but it does have that streak of fatalism prevelant in HK cinema leading up to the Handover and uncertainty about the future. It’s worth a watch, but not if you’re in need of cheering up.

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