Film Review: Island of Fire (1990) by Kevin Chu Yen Ping

It is no secret that Jimmy Wang Yu, with his connections had helped Jackie Chan, then a young actor to settle his dispute with director Lo Wei. So in returning the favor, Chan appeared in a couple of films created by Wang and this is 1 of their collaborations. Interestingly, even although he only showed up briefly in assistance roles, these films nonetheless get marketed as him getting the primary lead. As Chan became extra well known in the West, and on DVD, this production became &#8220Jackie Chan is The Prisoner”, which is misleading.

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Set in Taiwan, this prison drama has fairly an impressive ensemble cast of supporting Hong Kong actors in addition to Golden Horse Awards winner, veteran Taiwanese actor Ko Chuen Hsiung as the prison superintendent. Nonetheless, Tony Leung Ka Fai plays Andy Wang Wei, a cop who, upon his return to Taipei, witnesses his father-in-law gunned down by an assassin who in turns gets blown up by a vehicle bomb. Additional investigating later, he discovers that the assassin is a not too long ago executed and deceased felon from a nearby prison. Intrigued by the possibility that the penitentiary is into some type of killers recruiting business enterprise and determined to locate out the truth, he gets himself arrested and thrown into the identical prison exactly where he can go undercover and investigate additional.

It is right here that he gets into difficulty with Lucas Kui, a nearby crime boss played by Jimmy Wang Yu. On the other hand, he also strikes up some friendships with fellow inmates Charlie Chiu (Tou Chung Hua) and Fatty (Sammo Hung). Just before extended, Da Chui (Jackie Chan) a pool player who accidentally kills a card player arrives at the scene. As it turns out, the dead man has a brother referred to as Boss Lee/Iron Ball (Andy Lau) who accordingly gets himself thrown into the identical prison so he can seek revenge for his death by killing Da Chui.

This is essentially the plot and every single actor gets their likelihood to shine but Sammo Hung stands out the most. His breaking out of jail often to bond with his young son offers the emotional and tender moments of this otherwise gritty and violent story. We do not get to see him in action but he does flex his acting expertise right here. In contrast and as anticipated, Jackie Chan plays a significant, moody character displaying his martial arts expertise in a extra brutal and realistic way. Gone are these goofy and nicely-choreographed graceful extended fights, the arrangements right here are brief but nonetheless fairly impressive.

Becoming the primary protagonist, Tony Leung Ka Fai has the most screen time but the script appears to have forgotten his investigating goal when he is in jail. Regardless of the truth, he carries the film just fine. Poor Andy Lau, the script does not give him a great deal to do except appear cool and dashing in his nicely-tailored suits in his extra or significantly less a fast stroll in job although reading his lines. Nonetheless, we do get to see him in a brutal knife fight with Chan. Even although spotting heavy tattoos and a facial scar, producer Jimmy Wang Yu does not appear as scary playing the virtually untouchable prison kingpin. In truth, all the supporting roles are not that difficult and contemplating their status, the actors look to be performing it for a favor.

At any price this is a common prison drama with all the clichés mined from other jail associated films, for instance pet mouse, dining area fights, cruel and corrupted officers, as is becomes apparent Chu hasn’t provided us something original. Nonetheless, he does give the ending an unexpected heroic bloodshed twist and turns it into a John Woo film. Apparently the Taiwanese version runs about thirty minutes longer with extra character improvement regarding Charlie Chiu, Wang Wei’s cellmate.

Although bleak and brutal at instances, “Island of Fire” is fairly an entertaining watch and the 4 supporting actors are undoubtedly a draw card. Apart from, in a completely unrelated scene, we get the pleasure of watching a voluptuous girl in a wet shirt bouncing along attempting to alter her flat tire in the pouring rain.

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