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Issue #145a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES February 3rd, 2003

Code of Honor

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

Cantonese: Yee boon mo yin
Mandarin: Yi ben wu yan
English: Chivalry Needs No Words

Alternate English Titles: Brotherhood, Triad Savages, Triad Savager (sic)

Although Tai Seng is presenting him as the star, Chow Yun-fat really only has a supporting role in this dreary, all-too-familiar triad thriller which hit HK screens a few months after A BETTER TOMORROW broke records and made him one of the most bankable stars in Asia. Veteran Taiwanese actor Ke Chuen-hsiang plays elderly ganglord Ho Chen-tung, who seeks to conduct his affairs in a civil fashion, a goal made difficult by his brutal underlings. A police inspector (Dick Wei), determined to see him behind bars to avenge the crippling of his brother (Lung Ming-yan), arrests some of Ho's men and convinces them to testify against him. Han (LONG ARM OF THE LAW's Lam Wai; image), a Vietnamese refugee who had saved Ho's life years before and has remained friends with him, eliminates the three witnesses without getting Ho's permission. This forces the courts to dismiss the gangster for lack of compelling proof but the police compile evidence that makes it look as if Ko ordered the murders. Chow (who only has about ten minutes of screentime) plays Ho's disillusioned son, who has chosen to live in Australia, rather than be a party to his father's ways.

Aside from a few gritty fight sequences, there is very little here that is fresh or notable. Believe it or not, a sequence in which slimy character actor Shum Wai attempts to rape a defenceless girl was re-used by director Billy Chan Wui-ngai in his 1994 comedy, BEGINNER'S LUCK! Arena/Xenon's HONG KONG CORRUPTOR is a retitled version of Joseph Cheung Tung-cho's RETURN ENGAGEMENT (1990), "supplemented" by footage of Chow Yun-fat lifted from this picture. Danny Lee Sau-yin, Shing Fui-on, and Dennis Chan Kwok-san also appear.

Cover art courtesy Tai Seng.

Chow Yun-fat and Ke Chuen-hsiang. Image courtesy Tai Seng.
Tai Seng #10934 (U.S. Label)

Dolby Digital 1.0

Cantonese, Mandarin, and English Language Tracks (all post-synched)

Optional English Subtitles

12 Chapters (not illustrated, titles only)

Fullscreen (cropped from 1.85:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

Macrovision Encoded

NTSC Format

88 Minutes

Contains brutal violence, sexual violence, and coarse language

DVD menu courtesy Tai Seng.

Great Britain: 18 [Passed With Cuts totalling 2:08]
Ontario: R (Violence)


The DVD is derived from the same master as the 1987 Ocean Shores videotape release. The 1.85:1 frame is cropped to fullscreen and noticeably squeezed, with consistent grain, weak colors and contrasts, and occasional blooming whites. The sound is adequate but the two Chinese tracks are missing a brief section of dialogue that is retained in the English version. Two bits of violence (in which a fork is plunged through Lung Ming-yan's cheek, followed shortly thereafter by the steak knife amputation of the fingers on his left hand), originally toned down by HK censors, appear intact here, though Tai Seng had to do some finessing of the Chinese audio tracks to keep everything in sync. This is particularly evident on the Mandarin dub, which features a different score than the other two versions. The disc includes an audio commentary, featuring Ric Meyers, Bobby Samuels, and Frank Djeng. They provide interesting minutia on events in HK at the time of production, the history of triads, and relevant Chinese traditions. All three oversell the movie's accomplishments but Meyers' digressions and generalizations are fewer in number than usual here, helping to make this a focussed and satisfying discussion.

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