Disc 1: Long Arm of the Law (Sheng gang qi bing / Sang gong kei bing, 1984)

Disc 2: Long Arm of the Law 2 / Long Arm of the Law Saga 2, 1987

US 88 Films 2K restored 2023 special Blu-ray 2 disc edition - Region A+B

Finally on a Blu-ray in a special edition with a Booklet and a Poster

Please read below about the story and about the greatness of this Crime Drama Masterpiece
and about the sequel made three years later


Long Arm of the Law, 1984. Direction, co-production: Johnny Mak
US 88 Films 2 disc 2023 Blu-ray edition poster and Booklet. Widescreen 1.85:1
Cantonese audio mono with english subtitles in Hong Kong 106 minutes version
English audio mono export 105 minutes version

Extras: Audio Commentary by Hong Kong film expert Frank Djeng, Booklet

Please read below about the story and about the greatness of this Crime Drama Masterpiece
and about the sequel made three years later


Long Arm of the Law, Saga 2. 1987. Direction: Michael Mak
US 88 Films 2 disc 2023 Blu-ray edition poster and Booklet. Widescreen 1.85:1
Cantonese audio mono with english subtitles in Hong Kong 90 minutes cut version
English audio mono export cut 87 minutes version

Extras: Audio Commentary by Hong Kong film expert Frank Djeng
Bringing the Action: Interview with director Michael Mak (25 minutes), Man of Action: Interview
with co-star Ben Lam (16 minutes) who says everything was shot without a permit (including the
fun car chase scene in LAOTL along streets packed with people wondering wtf was going on,
An offer you can't refuse: Interview with scriptwriter Philip Chan (8 minutes), The iron fist of
Crime: Interview with stuntman Stephen Chan (24 minutes), HK Trailer, English trailer


When re-watching Long Arm of the Law Saga 2 in january 2024 for the first time in some 20 years
or so i found it to be a Great and Gritty Crime Action too, if not as great as the classic first one.
This film also has a Feel Bad ending and with a great and bloody shoot-out where the only one's
displaying some honor were the three mainland ex-PLA soldiers. The Scriptwriter Philip Chan, an
ex-HK cop himself, has a dark view of authorities corruption as the HK police, in the movie, is
rotten to the core. A theme more actual than ever when I write this in january 2024 when politicians
world-wide are bought by the military industries and strive for lucrative eternal war.

The film starts with 2 police officers watching footage from the film "Long Arm of the Law" and
commenting that 90 % of the Hong Kong crime were committed by Mainland Chinese Triads, the
Big Circle boys. Hong Kong Police has failed to place "Moles" inside the Big-O gangs because
these criminals are very secretive and they trust only each other and distruts the HK people.
So what to do ? The HK police instead has to make mainlanders into Moles, undercover cops.

Three ex-PLA soldiers have been caught by the HK police and are awaiting deportation to China,
they are: Qi Jing-Xin (Ben Lam), Yuen Yat-Choh (Simon Yuen) and Li Xian Dong (Elvis Tsui).
They are promised permanent residence cards if they work as undercover cops for two years,
trying to get a foot-hold into the Hong Kong Triads, and their connection to the HK police is
the undercover cop Biggie (Alex Man).
Simon Yuen as Xue-Jun / Yuen Yat-Cho shows amazing agility skills, especially in the Airport
chase scene and he was a member of the Yuen Woo Ping stunt team.


Hong Kong Fortune Star re-mastered 2008 DVD


4th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards (1985):

Won - Best Supporting Actor (Shum Wai)
Won - Best Editing (Cheung Yiu-Chung)
Nominated - Best Film
Nominated - Best Director (Johnny Mak Tong-Hung)
Nominated - Best Screenplay (Philip Chan Yan-Kin)
Nominated - Best New Performer (Lin Wei)
Nominated - Best Cinematography (Koo Kwok-Wah)
Nominated - Best Action Choreography (Billy Chan Wui-Ngai)
Nominated - Best Original Score (Lam Mo-Tak)

Long Arm of the Law was ranked #6 on the list of Best 100 Chinese Motion
Pictures during the 24th Hong Kong Film Awards ceremony on 27 March 2005

Directed by Johnny Mak - Produced by Sammo Hung & Johnny Mak
Written by Philip Chan
Cinematography Johnny Koo Kwok Wah

Release date 11 July 1984

Followed by Long Arm of the Law II (1987)

This magnificent crime-action is a rarity of the genre during the The Golden Era of Hong Kong film. Let's
forget about a master like John Woo, Chow Yun Fat and elegant bullet ballet because this is something
totally different. The Long Arm of the Law has got a more realistic approach to it's subject. A Desperate
Crime Action
without any well known star actors and with non-actors but well acted and masterfully
directed by Johnny Mak, and it's very good, even GREAT.
Today LAOTL is considered a Classic and one of the best HK films ever made, but that's in HK,
unfortunately Long Arm of the Law is very, VERY underrated if not completely unknown in the West.
But, that's the case for many of the best HK films and maybe this is The Best Unknown Hong Kong
Movie here in the West.

In this deliciously gritty crime movie we get to follow a gang of mainland criminals on their "adventurous"
journey from China to the rich Hong Kong in quest for a suitable place to rob. This was the old times when
China still was "Communistic/Socialistic" and isolated and passages over the border were troublesome.
Well, their adventure ends unhappily in a cramped space in the old Kowloon Walled City in a truly desperate
shoot-out with the police. The old Walled City that is no more, pulled down. This shoot-out are masterfully
shot, it's claustrophobic, cramped and full of Angst and it's hypnotically fascinating to follow these criminals
last moments in life.

The Feel Bad ending, one of the most powerful i've ever seen on film
, what a great film this is, HK Noir at it's
best . Director, co-producer Johnny Mak really made everything work, but haven't directed any film later.
In the commentary we're told why. Because of the crazy burning car scene where the Big Circle Gang ties up
Shum Wai's Tai inside a car and then pours gasoline all over it and put it on fire. A surprise for the actor,
and what if the fire extinguisher hadn't worked fast enough and the tank would've exploded ?

Above: The Unhappy New Year at the The End of Johnny Mak's Masterpiece

Yes, i love Hong Kong crime-action and certainly so the slick great-looking but unrealistic Gun Play
of a John Woo or a Ringo Lam in their Bullet Ballet type of films as A Better Tomorrow, Bullet in the
Head or Full Contact. But Long Arm of the Law was made before John Woo let Chow Yun Fat explode
on the screen in Bullet Ballet in 1986 and I much prefer the grittier style of Johnny Mak.
It was great to see that a director like Dante Lam re-animated this dirtier more realistic style of crime-action
in his beautiful neo-noirish crime movies The Beast Stalker in 2008 and Fire of Conscience in 2009, and
he obviously was inspired by this Johnny Mak's masterpiece.
When i write this I must sadly confess that the Gun Play movies of John Woo or Ringo Lam from the
1980's and 1990's feels a bit dated and a film like LAOTL feel more modern with it's gritty realistic style

Why is that? I guess because of the sensation these Gun Play movies caused in the west among the
more adventurous film fans .... and in Hollywood too. And not just the Shit Factory but every other film
industry in the world jumped on the train and made film after film after .... using the Bullet Ballet style
and finally made this type of crime action movies feel generic.
Yes, sure, Long Arm of the Law is known for it's Heroic Bloodshed too and even though there certainly
are some Gunplay in it the film isn't made in the hyper-stylized unrealistic way that John Woo or Ringo
used in their films.
Gunplay movies that were popular in HK 1986-1996 and in the rest of the world for another decade.

Above: The first early HK Mega star DVD edition

Above: The sequel in HK Mega Star DVD edition

The 1987 sequel directed by Michael Mak co-produced by Johnny Mak was also a fine and gritty
crime action if not as masterful as the first, and with good acting especially from Elvis Tsui.
The film features mainland cops and ex PLA soldiers trying to infiltrate a Hong Kong crime syndicate
and it's a good if not great film. Michael Mak is best known for his classic softcore movie Sex & Zen
(with category III legend Amy Yip in her only fully nude role) and his somewhat confusing Wuxia
Butterfly and Sword with Michelle Yeoh. These Hong Kong Mega Star editions were letterboxed

The Story of LAOTL- with - WARNING!! SPOILERS below


In the intro of the film we get to see the Mainland chinese Big Tung (David Lam Wai) sitting on a
train leaving the Kowloon station and on his way home to his brothers in the O-Gang AKA The
Big Circle Gang. Big Tung or Brother Tung is a notorious gangster and the info flashing by on
the screen show us his background. He's an ex-PLA soldier and a Revolutionary guard who has
slided into crime and in Hong Kong he's one of the most wanted criminals.

The Big Circle Gang consists of 6 members - Tung, Chubby or Fat Gu (Wong Kin), Ah Chung
(Chang Lung or Kong Lun), Blockhead (Lee Ying-git), Rooster (Chan Ging) and Bull's Eye (Lam
Seung-sam) and they plan to rob a jewellery store in Hong Kong and then to immediately return
to mainland China with enough of riches to pimp up their dirtpoor mainland lives. This was 1984
and the Chinese economic wonder hadn't happened yet.
Armed and ready they leave on foot for the border, the heavily guarded border by soldiers and
dogs and one of them, Bull's Eye, is killed by the guards but 5 of them reach their destination
in Hong Kong, the paradise of luxury and wealth.
But things start to go wrong, the quick in and out of HK robbery fails when the jewellery store
already have been robbed and they're unwillingly forced to stay in Hong Kong over The New
Year. To do this they need money and they've to loan money from the small-time gangster Tai
(well acted by Shum Wai, awarded with the best supporting actor award at the 1985 Hong Kong
Film Awards). Big Tung decides that the gang will make another try some days later, and he wants
to treat his buddies to some Hong Kong nightlife including prostitutes on New Years Eve.

Above: DVD edition from Deltamac

To get the loan from Tai Tung's gang must do him a favour, "a little murder" and a spectacular
murder scene is filmed at an indoor shopping centre skating rink. But, the seemingly random
victim is an undercover policeman and the Hong Kong police is furious and soon there's a
Dragnet on looking for the unlucky gang. Something that finally leads to fantastic shoot-out
in the Walled City of Kowloon.

One of the most magnificent shoot-outs ever made for sure - Goosebumps - Crime noir at
it's best and .... maybe the most depressing christmas movie ever made

The gang did get their money finally but were caught in a massive police trap, and then
escaped to the nearby Kowloon, into the fascinating Walled City with it's maze of cramped
alleys and dead ends. With No Way out the most claustrophobic and desperate shoot-out
ever caught on film ensues, and Long Arm of the Law ends with maybe the greatest Feel Bad
ending ever put on film. Insanely GREAT movie this is and a necessary viewing for every
fan of crime-action. Officially ranked as the 6th best Hong Kong film ever made.

Specs for the 2008 Hong Kong Fortune Star re-mastered DVD:
Anamorphic widescreen 1.85:1 with a cantonese audio DTS, 5.1 or the original 2.0 with
english subtitles (or mandarin dub 5.1). Extras: original movie trailer, a new edited trailer,
stills gallery and a slideshow.
Wow! This one i would like to have in my collection as a blu-ray but will probably be
released without subs.
Note: Please scroll to the top of this page. US 88 Films has released Long Arm of the Law
Part 1 and 2 in a special 2 disc 2K restored Blu-ray edition in 2023. Finally a Blu-ray.


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