Sai Wan dik gu si
Mandarin: Xi Huan de du shi
English: Sai Wan Story
Pickpockets Kao Tieng-chiang (Mark Cheng Ho-nam) and Chuang Peng (Waise Lee
Chi-hung) find that they have some competition from leng jai Li Shao-wei
(Aaron Kwok Fu-shing), who has one up on them with his ability to make speedy
getaways on a motor scooter. Putting aside their differences, the three decide
to work together, and become inseparable friends in the process. Impressed
by the way Detective Sgt. Huang (Wu Ma, who also directed) makes short work
of imposing triad boss Mak Ying, the three are inspired to try and become
policemen themselves. Only Chuang is accepted and he is partnered with Uncle
Chao (Bill Tung Biu), a veteran concerned mostly with avoiding trouble and
collecting his weekly bribes from the area's underground casinos. Li and Kao
help their buddy nab a pair of Mak's men that tried to ice Huang, earning
Chuang a promotion in the process. When Mak seeks vengeance by torturing Li,
Kao accidentally kills the gangster in the subsequent skirmish. Chuang is
soon tainted by the corruption in his department to the point where he willingly
commits murder to secure further advancement. His loyalty to Kao and Li disintegrates
right along with his morals, leading to betrayal and tragedy.
STORY OF KENNEDY TOWN is often cited as an imitation of John Woo's BULLET
IN THE HEAD (which opened in theatres three months ahead of this Golden Harvest
production) and there are indeed similarities that go beyond just the casting
of Waise Lee in both features. It also does not help that KENNEDY's opening
scene unwisely cancels out much of the picture's suspense by revealing too
much about one character's fate. That said, the period detail and cinematography
in Wu Ma's film is quite accomplished and, predictable storyline aside, this
remains a worthwhile drama with effective performances from the three leads.
Sharla Cheung Man and May Lo Mei-mei (playing a deaf mute) are largely wasted
in standard girlfriend (ie flower vase) roles, and Tai Po also appears as
a second triad leader who makes further trouble for the friends.
Cover art courtesy Deltamac.