Wednesday, 8 August 2007

As Tears Go By (1988)

Chinese title: Mongkok Carmen

As Tears Go By (1988)
The 1st of Wong Kar Wai feature film. This 1 is more commercial and less artsy than his later films. Even without a magnifying glass, his fingerprints are all over this movie that developed fully later into his signatures. Nor do you need to slow down the video to study it because WKW already saved you the trouble.

This is another popular HK crime action drama subgenre focusing the lives of gangsters, which very often deal with 2 of the most important attributes for organised gang members living off the mean streets - loyalty and bravado.

This movie is a better viewing for me because I watched it when it's originally aired without any hindsight of later WKW movies get in the way (WKW was a total unknown to me) or other later gangster flicks. So I watched it without any preconceptions, and it should be judged this way (not that's possible). This movie predated Young and Dangerous franchise by nearly a decade, and in some ways surpass it. One can even go as far as saying this is the 1st major gangland flick or at least one that popularised it.

1 of the things I like about these gangster flicks is the very colourful Cantonese gangster lingo, which always put a smile on my face (burst out laughing in some cases). Hollywood's gangster flicks have similar colourful slang like 'put him on ice' or 'pump him full of lead', etc. Some of the colourful Cantonese speak could be translated using Hollywood equivalence (of course, some are untranslatable) to at least set the appropriate tone. Unfortunately all these are lost in translation in just about all the English subs I have ever came across, and make them sounded like mums and pops.

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