Young and Dangerous: Reloaded 古惑仔:江湖新秩序 (2013) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 17th January 2013
In cinemas across Asia

Starring: Him Law Chung-him, Oscar Leung Lit-wai, Paul Wong Koon-chung, Sammy Shum Chun-hin, Winnie Leung Man-yee
Director: Daniel Chan Yee-hang
Producer: Wong Jing and Manfred Wong
Writer: Manfred Wong

HK Box-Office Takings: HK$3,890,455

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Although, I must admit I ventured into this film with low expectations, especially still bearing the fresh scars from Daniel Chan’s dreadful “Triad” experience. However, there is something within me that want the reboot of 1996’s “Young and Dangerous” film to succeed, even if it is just revoking the glory bashing days of Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan and crew. The good news is that “Young and Dangerous: Reloaded” is probably director Daniel Chan’s best effort, but the bad news is that the film contains all the hallmark of bad film making and at times it even feel like a cheap soft-core porn production. Still, the latest reboot is essentially entertaining crap, but like McDonald’s fast food, it is probably bad for you as well.

If “Young and Dangerous: Reloaded” proves one point it is that director Daniel Chan like his predecessor Wong Jing, knows the audience, the market and clearly what sells. From the cheap sets, uneven direction, an all over the place plot, piss poor acting displays, exaggerated blood, sex and violence, the latest reboot have all the hallmarks of what we have grown up to expect from a Wong Jing production. Therefore, when Category III starlet Winnie Leung (“Love Actually…Sucks!”) decides to bear it for all to see, it comes as no surprise, as sex sells. Therefore in depicting scenes of extreme violence, bloodthirsty slashing of human heads, hands and internal organs, Chan improves from his shortcomings of his last outing (“Triad”), by not shying away from these frontal and brutal situations. However, more blood, gore and sex, does not equates a better movie.

Hin Law headlines as Chan Ho Nam, (the role that launched Ekin Cheng into stardom) is suitably intense and stoic, but provides the character with zero heart. Law is clearly a limited actor, therefore he is smart by playing safe with his character by never allowing himself to emote or overact. Law sticks to what he does best, that is smile, act cool and look intense, while combining all these attribute with a model outlook. TVB actor Oscar Leung probably flairs the better of the two as Jordan Chan’s infamous “Mountain Chicken”. Leung can act and provides some much needed comic relief to the preceding. However, the biggest issue in this film is not the acting, but rather the lack of chemistry between the four brothers. Whereas in the original, the audience can easily relate to their brotherly love and the foursome have an unique air of flair that makes them a comrade of gangsters. In this film, Law and Leung lacks this comradeship and the other two are given far too limited screen time for effect.

Perhaps the biggest failure comes in the character Ugly Kwan (played by Sammy Shum). Although it is no surprise that Shum is no Francis Ng, his take on the character is more laughable than horrific. Shum constantly tries to apt Heath Ledger’s Oscar winning “Joker”, but ends up being a mockery of himself. While Ng overacts with menacing effect, Shum is just plain crazy, unmotivated and all over the place. Meanwhile, Paul Wong flairs better as Uncle Bee with quite subtleness, before meeting his stunning fate. Other actors appear here and there, but none more impressive than Alex Man and Jim Chim Sui-man’s extended cameos.

All in all, “Young and Dangerous: Reloaded” is not a total failure, as there are plenty of entertaining bits and is most probably Daniel Chan’s most entertaining film. At least, he delivers exactly what the audience expected and wanted in terms of blood, sex and violence, but in terms of film-making, it is definitely not something to be proud of. I don’t know what ambition Chan holds in terms of directing, but the route he is taking is very much alluding down the path of the infamous Wong Jing. I am not saying that Wong Jing is not a successful film maker, as he is Hong Kong most prolific director, but if one day Chan would like to join the ranks of Derek Yee, Johnnnie To and company, then this is not the direction to be taking. Still, “Young and Dangerous: Reloaded” is simply an entertaining crap and like fast food, we should probably just enjoy it while it last. Stay tune for “Young and Dangerous 2: Refreshed”, not that we have demanded it. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 5.5/10

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