This hugely successful HK film spawned a host of sequels and imitators; kinda hard to see why, as there's not really anything new here. It's the same "claw your way up the triad ladder" thing we've seen before, albeit with excessive camerawork and a cast of striking looks. Okay, you can see why it was a success, but ignore all claims of this being "A Better Tomorrow for the 90's": Cheng is not bad (much the same mob chic as he did in Return to a Better Tomorrow), but Chow Yun Fat he ain't, and the film prefers gloss to emotional intensity, though Ng makes a fine bad guy.
However, it's hard to care very much about most of the characters, who seem mostly to be single-faceted and shallow. Imagine a gangster version of 'Scream', and you'll be on the right lines. And maybe I'm getting old, but I wince when the publicity for a film touts "with the feel of a 100 minute music video" as a badge of honour. Fortunately, most of it isn't THAT bad, though there are moments when the slow-mo wobbly-cam did leave me a little seasick. Sporadically interesting. [Released by Hong Kong Classics on May 3rd: 12.99 for the dub, 13.99 for the subtitled,
widescreen version with the cinema trailer]