Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film
reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong
Roy Cheung Yiu-yeung, Vincent Wan Yeung-ming, and Tommy Wong Kwong-leung (left to right). Image courtesy Winson.
Veteran actor Vincent Wan Yeung-ming made his debut behind the camera
by co-directing (with Lam Kin-lung) this underworld drama, which features
a better cast than one often finds in productions of this sort. After
spending exactly half of his life in jail, 36 year-old triad Choi (Wan)
is released and rents a room from some teenagers running a credit card
scam. Re-uniting with buddies Shark (Roy Cheung Yiu-yeung) and Big Nose
(Tommy Wong Kwong-leung), Choi sets out in search of his old girlfriend,
Lotus Ho (Carrie Ng Kar-lai). Choi was incarcerated for murdering a man
attempting to rape Lotus eighteen years earlier but she has since gotten
married and will not have anything to do with him. One of the kids Choi
lives with is the son of mob boss Sik (Yu Rongguang, who has now adopted
the English name Ringo) and when the boy overdoses during a rave party,
Choi stabs himself in the leg to save the kids from being harmed in retribution.
Carrie Ng Kar-lai. Image courtesy Winson.
Ringo Yu Rongguang. Image courtesy Winson.
Deliberately paced and content to operate on a small scale, THE WARNING TIME will disappoint those looking for the cheap thrills triad movies usually supply in excess. There are no action sequences and, outside of some drug use during a rave party, no exploitation elements whatsoever. The screenplay (co-written by Wan and Lam) is interested in examining and contrasting the lives of the young and middle-aged protagonists and is occasionally insightful. Unfortunately, while the film's goals are commendable, its accomplishments are meagre, which may be due in part to production problems (the film's plot description in the hk-imail interview linked below is significantly different from what ultimately made it onscreen). On a positive note, the star elicits good performances from his cast (particularly Carrie Ng, who adds real sensitivity and depth to her cliched character) and the score is well above average. Wan has nothing to be embarrassed of here but, should he wish to try his hand at directing again, a more interesting and solid foundation should be the first step. Elvis Tsui Kam-kong, Jamie Luk Kim-ming, and Bryan Leung Kar-yan appear briefly. Yvonne Yung Hung is also listed in the credits but she apparently ended up on the cutting room floor.
Roy Cheung and Ringo Yu. Image courtesy Winson.
The aforementioned Vincent Wan interview can be found at:
Vincent Wan and friends. Image courtesy Winson.