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Issue #156a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES April 21st, 2003

Story of Kennedy Town
(1990; Golden Harvest/Golden Way Films/Paragon Films)

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

Cantonese: 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.

From left to right: Waise Lee, Sharla Cheung, Mark Cheng and Aaron Kwok. Image courtesy Deltamac.

May Lo. Image courtesy Deltamac.
Deltamac #DVD78127 (Hong Kong label)

Dolby Digital 2.0

Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks (both post-synced)

Optional Subtitles in English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)

9 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With (Tiny) Clips

Letterboxed (1.85:1)

NTSC Format

Coded for ALL Regions

93 Minutes

Contains moderate violence

DVD menu courtesy Deltamac.

British Columbia: 14 YRS (Some Violence)
Hong Kong: II
Ontario: R
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]

This is a very handsome transfer, offering good definition and solid colors. The source material suffers only from minor imperfections and the audio is fine. The sole extra is a four minute trailer that contains major spoilers and should definitely not be viewed beforehand.

is available at Poker Industries.

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