Cast:Chow Yun Fat, Cecilia Yip Tung, Alex Man, Sek Kin
Director:Leong Po Chih
Action:Hung Ga Ban, Lam Ching Ying
Genre:Drama / War
This was my first viewing of Hong Kong 1941, starring the brilliant Chow Yun fat in a great movie about Friendship, Loyalty and struggle to over come the invasion of the Japanese soldiers. This is a great movie from start to finish, it had me engaged not only with the brutal story, but every character gives 100% and Director Leong Po Chih does a terrific job.
The movie starts with the British soldiers, women and children leaving Hong Kong as anytime the Japanese will invade and they realize they are to strong at the time, so leave for Australia. The movie is centered around three friends Chow Yun Fat, Alex Man and Cecilia Yp who build a friendship to one day escape Hong Kong and head to the “Gold Mountain” for a better life. Chow and Alex start working at a rice factory as there is little food to go around, once there, they start to steal extra food to take back to there friends but are caught by the Police and have to run away before they are captured.
As time goes on, we get to see the friendship building into something special, as each of them look out for one and other, but this is also a little dangerous as Cecilia and Alex are in a relationship and plan to be married, but at the same time you can see feelings growing as Chow Yun fat and her share more time together. About half way through the movie, the Japanese soldiers start to arrive in force and slowly start to capture the Chinese locals and use them to put there own into more despair.
There is a scene when Cecilia reads a local newspaper, which shows a Japanese soldier holding a baby up by his sword, which is a very striking image and stays with you for a while. Wu Ma also appears as a Chinese traitor, working for the Japanese, in one scene he as two men sat in-front of him, he puts a fire cracker in one of there ears as another person holds a gun to his head. The cracker is lit which ends up going off and exploding on the side of his face leaving him blooded and with no hearing on one side (A very brutal scene).
After this we see Alex man head down there to sell clothes to gather money, but he is also caught by Wu Ma and beaten. Chow Yun fat by this time is pretending to be a Japanese worker and heads down there to find him, when there we see Alex sat down in-front of Wu ma with a cracker and gun in both hands. Chow asks him to let him do it and puts the cracker in Alex’s ear and says “I am going to run off with your wife), which left me shocked at first not knowing was to come next, which lead to the cracker going off on Alex, Chow then grabs Wu ma’s gun and kills him, before escaping with his friend.
When they return back to there village, Cecilia starts to see that Chow isn’t bad at all and when Alex is sleeping and getting back to health, Chow and her share a kiss which was coming all along. The ending of the movie sees the Japanese leader turn up at there home and insists he sees Cecilia, Chow will not let him pass and is attacked with a sword. Alex runs out to help but is thrown, but just as the Japanese leader is about to strike his sword down on Chow, he is killed with a hook to the throat by Cecilia and saves them all.
The three finally get on a boat and head to the Gold Mountain, but just before they reach it, they are confronted by a Japanese army boat. Chow goes onto the boat and holds them hostage so that his friends can escape and tells them to live their lives. I wont tell you what happens at the end, its best to let you watch it even though i have explained most of it already.
This is a great movie, a really enjoyed it from start to finish. Chow Yun Fat puts in a brilliant performance which lead to him winning best actor for his role. All the actors put in top performances and the movie also won the award for best cinematography at the Hong Kong movie awards. Well worth a watch, 8/10.