Or maybe not! I’ve been reading the Stokes/Hoover book "City on Fire" in which they interpret many HK films as being influenced by the Handover and containing a great deal of subtext. It seemed like a fun game so I thought I would give it a go!
The film has a great mixture of action, comedy and even a little romance that makes it an enjoyable treat. The trio wanted to give their characters a bit of an edge in this film and not make them as likable as they always were in previous films. Apparently lawyers are no better liked in HK as Jackie takes on the role of a sleazy womanizing lawyer, Sammo is a flim-flam man and Yuen is just basically crazy.
My rating for this film: 8.0
The American distributor has of course, butchered this film to pieces, but there are actually a few scenes that were cut from the HK version that are included in the American cut. I will explain later on.
From the beginning of the movie until the scene with Sammo trying to sell the dummy guns to the criminals, everything is pretty much the same between the two versions. The only thing I noticed up to this point was that there was a piece of music cut out when Sammo does his little victory dance after fighting off the criminals on the HK version.
Now this is where it gets weird. Anybody who’s accustomed to seeing Yuen Biao’s psychiatrist visitation scene from the US version will be shocked to see that it’s not in the HK version for some unknown reason. Not only does Yuen’s wonderfully psychotic acting go unseen, but so does Stanley Fung Shui Fan’s cameo appearance. Be forewarned; this isn’t the only Yuen scene cut from the HK version.
Later on in the movie in the HK version, when Sammo and Deannie Yip are fishing together, a scene with Sammo doing a Peking Opera-type little number was cut out. Too bad this was cut because it’s always a lot of fun to see him sing and dance like that. And as they walked off together, another piece of singing was cut.
From the HK version, I can’t believe they cut out the scene when Yuen goes to the psychiatrist the second time! I’m sure everyone knows the whole scenario: the doctor’s office is being held up and Yuen taking the advice of some thug posing as the doctor while talking to Yuen over the intercom. Having this scene cut was a bad idea, because it gets really confusing later on as to why Yuen’s character comes to kill Jackie’s girlfriend claiming that he has to kill all the witnesses. Again, this is a scene that is in the American version but missing from the HK version.
In the scene where the final court hearing is being held about the dispute between the chemical factory and the fishpond, there are a few minutes cut from the US version. Namely when Jackie asks his lady friend, Ling (who happens to be the prosecutor of his defendant) if she loves him or not. This scene was shortened a bit, because she answered “No” at first, then he reminds her that she is in court and has to answer truthfully. After that when it is all resolved and the courtroom is clearing out, another part was cut with the two lovers holding hands and smiling at each other.
Ever wonder how Jackie, Yuen and Ling got into the chemical works? Well, in the HK version there was a scene that showed them sneaking around in the factory, with Yuen telling them everything that happened when Sammo was captured. Then the three of them sneak up to the secret door that leads to the hidden part of the factory where Sammo is being kept and drugs are being made. Before they rush in, Jackie grabs a pair of pants off a clothes rack and hands them to Ling to put on under her skirt. There was a guy guarding the secret door, so they send Ling to distract him while Jackie comes up behind and gives the guy power-kick right in the head! Now that’s how you get in unharassed!
Everything from here until the end of the movie
is all the same, including the absence of out-takes. Only the Japanese
version has out-takes. When it comes down to which version to get,
it’s probably best to see both the American and HK versions to get the