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Issue #125a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES September 16th, 2002

A Fiery Family
(1988?; Attraction Film Co.)

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Lung fu ga juk
Mandarin: Long hu jia zu
English: Dragon Tiger Families

Here is a triad actioner from the late 80s that has fallen between the cracks and is not mentioned in the usual reference sources. Honorable gangster Koo (Norman Tsui Siu-keung) asks permission to leave the underworld, in order to help his sister, Ming (Miss Hong Kong 1985 Shallin Tse Ling), run her business. Naturally, this does not sit well with his boss, Cheung, who orders that Koo be murdered while performing one last errand. Koo survives the trap but ends up spending four years behind bars. Upon release, he is greeted by his hot-tempered little brother Pang (Kwan Lai-kit) and Ming's husband, Wei (Gordon Lau Kar-fai). The latter owes HK$200,000 to loan shark Chuen, a debt that Koo helps to clear up for him. However, that is only the beginning: Wei and Ming's factory is also HK$1 million in debt. One evening, Pang gets carried away in a fight and kills rival hood Chau Tai-fat (played by the film's director, Wilson Tong Wai-shing), who was one of Cheung's lieutenants. The deed will be forgiven if Pang and Koo murder a Caucasian lawyer trying to bring down powerful mobster Law Chung-lit (Lo Lieh), a job for which they will also be paid exactly the amount needed to bail out Wei and Ming. The execution is carried out but a witness (Ng Man-tat) relays descriptions of the men to police and the pair are soon apprehended. Wei and Ming manage to free Koo and Pang, while they are being transported to prison, and the four plan to hop a boat for Taiwan. However, Law's men and a police inspector are determined to prevent their escape.

Probably filmed in tandem with the director's A BLOODY FIGHT (a 1988 Attraction Film production also toplined by Tsui and Lau), this is a typical effort for Tong, meaning it is second rate in most departments and third rate in the rest. There is plenty of action and, considering the time and money, much of it is well staged. Ultimately though, the plotting and presentation are so routine, the film will really only be of interest to fans of the stars and "Heroic Bloodshed" completists. The stock score includes cues heard in KILLER ANGELS, another indie from around the same time that also features Lau. Chen Jing and Tai Po also appear.

Cover art courtesy WA.

Norman Tsui. Image courtesy WA.

Lo Lieh. Image courtesy WA.
WA #D-DVD 2336 (Mainland China label)

Dolby Digital 5.1

Dubbed Mandarin Language Track

Optional Subtitles in English and Simplified Chinese

8 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Clips

Letterboxed (1.72:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

90 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)

Contains brutal violence

DVD menu courtesy WA.

Not Available

WA's transfers are generally pretty good, given the age of the films, but this one looks more like a World Video release and leaves a lot to be desired. The image is soft and pale, while dark sequences are very lacking in detail and suffer from soft contrasts. As usual with this label, the audio is echo chamber mono that is best run through a single speaker. The English subtitle translation is poor and significant paraphrasing is constantly in evidence. The disc comes packaged in a Super Jewel Case and there are no extras.

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