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Issue #185a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES November 10th, 2003

Man Wanted
(1995; Sam Po Film)

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

Cantonese: Mong gok dik tin hung
Mandarin: Wang jiao de tian kong
English: Mongkok's Sky

The sort of disposable action film director Benny Chan Muk-sing routinely produced before getting back on track with BIG BULLET (reviewed in issue #16), MAN WANTED has plenty of noise and explosions but precious little else. Simon Yam Tat-wah (looping his own dialogue) stars as Lok Man-hwa, an undercover cop who has cozied up to big time pusher Lu Chan-feng (Yu Rongguang; image) and gotten a little too close to the man in the process. When the police ambush a clandestine drug buy, Man-hwa hesitates when it comes time to hand his friend over. Chan-feng manages to escape, but is blown up in a car crash. In the aftermath, Man-hwa strikes up a relationship with Yung (Christy Chung Lai-tai), Feng's ex, forsaking his righteous girlfriend, June (Eileen Tung Oi-ling). Unfortunately for Man-hwa, Chan-feng has survived and involves him in a kidnap/extortion plot that puts his career in jeopardy and his life on the line.

While logic can be tenuous in Grade B cop actioners, the plotting here is just plain sloppy (biggest lapse in logic: why would the police be so quick to declare Chan-feng dead when no trace of his body was found in the vehicle?) and the action setpieces are not interesting enough for one to forgive such poor writing. Yam and Chung have no chemistry and the idea that they would even fall in love in the first place is never communicated in a believable fashion. MAN WANTED proved to be yet another bad career move for Yam, whose filmography would be dominated by one bad movie after another until he got his career back on track in the late 90s with quality projects like EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED and THE MISSION. Cherie Chan Siu-ha, Law Kar-ying, Kenneth Chan Kai-tai, and Parkman Wong Pak-man are among the supporting players. 20th Century Fox purchased the US remake rights to this a few years back but it looks like they are not going to do anything with the property.

Cover art courtesy Tai Seng.

Simon Yam and Christy Chung. Image courtesy Tai Seng.
Tai Seng #40054 (Hong Kong label)

Dolby Digital 1.0

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

Optional English Subtitles

17 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Video Grabs

Letterboxed (1.75:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

Macrovision Encoded

NTSC Format

92 Minutes

Contains moderate violence and language, and drug use

DVD menu courtesy Tai Seng.

Australia: M 15+ (High Level Violence, Drug Use)
Great Britain: 18
Hong Kong: II
Ontario: R (Violence)
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]

Colors are a bit drab and the image is soft, hazy, and murky. The 1.75:1 framing is zoomboxed (in the opening seconds, the telecine operator has to raise the frame slightly to make the English title visible) and the compositions occasionally look unbalanced (the old Universe LD transfer is 1.81 and reveals some more picture on the sides). The Cantonese, Mandarin, and English tracks all sound passable, though there is a brief sync problem with the Canto version in the second half and the optional subtitles are up too high, often obscuring close-ups. Good (but now outdated) filmographies are provided for Chan, and stars Simon Yam, Yu Rongguang, and Christy Chung, along with some made-for-video trailers.

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