Man on the Brink (Bin Yuen Yan, 1981)

Hong Kong CN Entertainment 2020 DVD edition, region 3

Kam Hing-Yin (or Chin Hsing-Hsien), Eddie Chen (or Eddie Chan Ngai Dik) and Ga Lun


Text below written 2021-04-12


Fine crime drama thriller from Alex Cheung Kwok-Ming in his second directed feature film, and the precursor to Andrew Lau and Alan Mak's
hugely successful 2002 "Infernal Affairs" that one with at least 2 sequels and a US Remake.
Director, scriptwriter and cinematographer Alex Cheung won a Hong Kong Golden Horse award for best direction and for best original
screenplay, and Eddie Chen/Chan won a Best Actor award at the 19th Golden Horse awards.

I love the gritty and less flashy HK crime actions made in the early 1980's and culminating in Johnny Mak's 1984 masterpiece "Long Arm of
the Law". Made before the Bullet Ballet style of John Woo and Ringo Lam et al. conquered Hong Kong and the rest of the world.
Why ? Well, this style of gunplay on film have been so massively used by Hollywood action directors and elsewhere since then that i've
gotten tired of it (especially used in the 1990's by the Hipster style of directors). But, when writing this almost 20 years has passed since i
watched the John Woo and Ringo Lam movies, and Johnnie To continued their heritage style into the new millennia, and maybe it's time to
re-watch some of their old crime-action movies. I remember "Bullet in the Head" by Woo and "Full Contact" by Lam were my favourites.

Ho Wing-Chui (Eddie Chan or Chen) is a young police rookie and already slightly bored with his job. One day he's called up for a talk with
police inspector Chan (Ga Lun) and he wants to assign Chiu to a special mission, to quit his job as a regular policeman and to work as an
undercover agent and infiltrate the Hong Kong Triads. The Mafia.
A top secret mission with only Inspector Chan and his Triad contact Ah Tai (Kam Hing-Yin) knowing about it, and he can not tell anyone
about it. Not his girlfriend Bik-Fong (Ada Fung) or his sister (Mei-Bo).

Chiu quickly is accepted by the local thugs and easily adapts to the Mafia style, almost to easy. He joins into muggings and robberies and
he's released from jail by Inspector Chan if getting caught. Chiu lives on the street and his girlfriend is about to be his ex-girlfriend when
jewellery owner Simon (Leung Hon-Fai) advances on her in his absence

SPOILER ......... SPOILER ........ BELOW .......... WARNING !

What's better than a Mighty Feel Bad ending to a HK crime movie from the Golden Era ?

Something that punch you in the stomach as in Derek Yee's 1987 "People's Hero" or in Johnny Mak's 1984 "Long Arm of the Law" or as
in this film when a robbery suddenly turns into a community riot with a nasty ending. I didn't expect it and it felt like a sucker punch.
Ga Lun, Kam Hing-Yin and Eddie Chan were great (but the actress playing his girlfriend, Ada Fung; not that great and only made 3 films)

The DVD presents the film in anamorphic widescreen 1.78:1 with cantonese audio 5.1 with english subtitles. Extras a trailer, behind the
scenes 8 mm footage (14 minutes) and a picture gallery

 

Back to Hong Kong Classics Film Page