D7: Dangerous Duty
Hong Kong 2003
Directed by Siu Chung.

For a movie supposedly starring Max Mok Siu-Chung, there is surprisingly little of him in it. In fact, he dies in the opening scene. He does reappear later though: in a flashback repeating the first scene, but this time in black and white to denote its age. And he reappears one more time, in footage borrowed from REVENGE OF CHEETAH. D7: DANGEROUS DUTY is the sequel to that movie, and though I wish I could tell you all about REVENGE OF CHEETAH, I can't, it was too boring to watch. That I managed to sit through all of this movie is not so much a testament to how good it is, rather it underscores how much lower my standards have become in the interim.

Though his buddy Max Mok gets killed right away, and his wife hacked and beaten, Cheetah manages to escape, and start over tending bar. His evil triad boss, who betrayed him, also gets betrayed in turn, and both his legs broken. Cheetah takes him in, because he is so righteous (though in a funny subtitling gaffe, whenever someone says he is "righteous," the subtitles translate this as "royal." As in: "That Cheetah -- he is so royal."

Of course, peace and quiet doesn't last for long, and his old triad ways drag him back into the business of slashing and killing.

In a nice little bit of local flavor, the bar he works at shows old HK movies on a widescreen in the background (you can catch a glimse of Lau Ching-Wan and long for better movies, so tantalizingly out of reach...), and the bar owners eject patrons who start playing finger games (drinking games done by counting out loud and flashing certain amounts of your fingers).

The 90min running time probably only has about an hour of original footage, a lot of scenes are run twice, some quite long scenes as well. The editing is so lazy it appears some reject scenes stayed in the final cut. One scene in the bar is without sound for a moment before it cuts abrubtly to the same scene with sound. In the end, a particularly dramatic stabbing is shown twice, from two different camera angles, though not only that, the moment also has different choreography and dialog. Now that's a neat trick.

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on July 10, 2004.

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