Directed by: Wilson Yip. Still scratching the Sammo Hung itch, I picked up this one with pretty high hopes—Sammo playing an evil gangster, with a goatee and long flowing hair. Already pretty promising! And I’m happy to report, this one was definitely more enjoyable than the last Sammo outing I had, Once Upon a Time in Shanghai. I can’t tell if it’s because the movie itself was appreciably better, or if my aesthetic judgement is limited to how much screentime Sammo gets. I think it’s just that I like this world a little better, the recognizably compromised world of ruthless and amoral gangsters (who still have a heart, and family members, etc) and crooked cops (who are so devoted to catching the bad guys that they will become bad guys, etc). I love seeing such familiar and embedded tropes from the gangster-cop movie brought to life in a non-American context, in a way that is probably decades-old. From what I remember, in Hard-Boiled, the morals aren’t quite as murky as they are here, but that was a while ago and my memory doesn’t serve. There’s just something about the development of this movie that feels very satisfying, from the beginning right to the crushing, Rod Serling/O. Henry ending (but not, in my opinion, up to the final shot of the shoes sitting on the beach, which I felt was a bit too on the nose, a bit too much of an ending where there already was a satisfying ending). I guess I don’t need to go on about it too much—this movie was great! It has everything: cops, gangsters, conflict within cop ranks, a tremendous scale of gangster activity that you never see in American gangster films—hundreds of these young toughs just hanging around—and such knock-down, drag-out fight scenes, like the one at the end, my God! There’s something about watching Sammo, a hefty middle-aged dude, throwing down with these young guys who look like Olympic athletes, that’s so satisfying. I think this Sammo itch has been scratched.