Review: ALL ABOUT AH LONG 阿郎的故事 (1989) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Review: ALL ABOUT AH LONG 阿郎的故事 (1989)

Review: ALL ABOUT AH LONG 阿郎的故事 (1989)

As the title suggests, it centres around Ah Long (Chow Yun-Fat), a construction worker who has a great relationship with his young son, Porky (Wong Kwan-Yuen). Back then, Ah Long used to be a rascal who likes to race motorcycle but after injuring his leg badly, he is forced to give up his passion. His best friend, Dragon (Ng Man-Tat), on the other hand, keeps pursuing him back into motorcycle racing since he knows Ah Long's job doesn't earn enough money. Then one day in the school, Porky gets a golden opportunity to be auditioned for a role in a commercial, in which his cycling performance is heavily impressed by the director, Sylvia (Sylvia Chang). Little does Porky knows that Sylvia is actually his long-lost mother but Ah Long has once told him before his mother already died a long time ago. Ten years ago, Ah Long and Sylvia used to love each other and she's even pregnant with his child. But after Sylvia witnessed Ah Long sleeping with another woman, she is threatened to leave. She eventually flies to the U.S. with her mother, while Ah Long was sent to jail due to an illegal racing. As Ah Long and Sylvia meet again, he is attempting to rekindle their past relationship while Sylvia gradually learns that Porky is actually her son all along.

REVIEW: A certified Hong Kong tearjerker classic, ALL ABOUT AH LONG is one of Johnnie To's finest movies ever made as well as among Chow Yun-Fat's greatest performance to date.

Johnnie To's direction is airtight as he balanced between the movie's emotional power of heartfelt and lighthearted moments in such believable manner. Sylvia Chang and Chow Yun-Fat's plot is genuinely strong, yet so engaging enough to watch for.

The actors, in the meantime, is excellent, as characters are well-drawn and given a level of depth to make them as flawed human beings rather than film caricatures often plagued in this kind of family drama. Chow Yun-Fat is simply a tour de force, as he shows a great versatility of a common man who we can actually root for. That is of course if you can forgive that hideous, shoulder-length mop he sported throughout the movie (don't worry, he did trim his hair short during the crucial finale). His performance is so passionate and electrifying that no wonder he is so well-deserved to clinch his third Best Actor win in the Hong Kong Film Awards. His co-star, Sylvia Chang, is similarly marvellous, who gives a moving performance as the estranged Sylvia. Wong Kwan-Yuen is also great, as he shares the same limelight in his enduring turn as Porky. He is such a prodigy that his role as a son of Chow Yun-Fat's Ah Long feels so real you might actually believe there are like real-life father and son. No doubt everything about this film truly captivates the viewer that we can't help it but laugh, cry and feel for Ah Long, Sylvia and Porky struggled to be together.

The movie's final scene is unforgettable -- a devastating finale that will make you grab a box of Kleenex as Ah Long died in a motorcycle crash during an ill-fated motorcycle racing.

A huge box-office hit and nominated for 9 Hong Kong Film Awards including Best Film (which lost to Jacob Cheung's BEYOND THE SUNSET) and Best Director (which lost to John Woo for THE KILLER), this is certainly a must-see for every fan of Chow Yun-Fat as well as anyone who enjoy Hong Kong movies. On the other side, who can forget the evergreen touching ballad of Sam Hui's Ah Long's Love Song?

Blessed with a solid cast all around including Chow Yun-Fat, Sylvia Chang and Wong Kwan-Yuen as well as Johnnie To's engaging direction, ALL ABOUT AH LONG is a can't-miss HK tearjerker classic.

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