Review: ON THE RUN 亡命鴛鴦 (1988) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Review: ON THE RUN 亡命鴛鴦 (1988)

Review: ON THE RUN 亡命鴛鴦 (1988)

Yuen Biao plays Heung Ming, a down-on-his-luck cop who is hoping his ex-wife, Inspector Lo Huan (Ida Chan Yuk-Lin) can help him emigrate together to Canada to start a new life. However, Lo Huan ends up getting shot in the head by a professional killer named Pai (Pat Ha). Apparently, Lo Huan is a narcotics officer who knows too much about her current lover, Lu's (Charlie Chin) dirty deeds involving police corruption and drugs. Ming is furious when he finds out about his ex-wife's death and determines to track down the killer at all cost. His action worries Lu a lot and so he sends out his team of corrupt cops (Lo Lieh, Yuen Wah and Phillip Ko) to get rid of Ming before the situation gets worse. With no one else to turn to, Ming's only ally is surprisingly Pai, who in turn, helps him to overcome the matter.


REVIEW: Mention the name of Alfred Cheung, I'm sure a lot of Hong Kong cinema fans will instantly relates him to comedies (e.g. 1987's TO ERR IS HUMANE, 1991's HER FATAL WAYS and THE BANQUET) And as for the name of Yuen Biao, he is always remembered as one of three popular martial art stars (the other two are of course Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung) who ruled the '80s Hong Kong action cinema. But in 1988, Alfred Cheung and Yuen Biao collaborated in an underrated crime thriller called ON THE RUN -- a radical departure from their usual norms. This is a pitch-black noir where the action is graphically violent and the comedy is non-existent. Even fans of Yuen Biao will feel alienated upon watching this movie because there are nary a sight of this usually-acrobatic actor uses his martial art skills at all. Some viewers might view this as a disappointment, but for those who are adventurous enough to watch different sides of Alfred Cheung's and Yuen Biao's effort, ON THE RUN turns out to be a decently-made dark thriller that recalls the gritty work from someone like Ringo Lam.

Despite not displaying any martial art skills in this movie, Yuen Biao proves to be a competent actor who knows how to act in a dramatic role after all. It's rare to see him this serious but he manages to play his role well enough. Charlie Chin, who is best known for his comedic role in MY LUCKY STARS series, is perfectly cast against type as a corrupted cop. This is his rare villainous role where he gets to prove his acting ability with a satisfying result. But of all the acting talents involved here, it was Pat Ha who excels the most. She is pitch-perfect as a cold-blooded killer with a heart of gold.

Alfred Cheung's direction is solid, while Peter Ngor's moody cinematography is stunning (particularly the way he made use of Hong Kong's nighttime setting to portray a gritty world where everywhere is unsafe and nothing is certain). The action is well-choreographed, especially during the shootout sequence and of course the fight-to-the-death finale between Yuen Biao and Charlie Chin.

If there's any flaw, the movie suffers from a few overacting histrionics (particularly in the last scene involving Lo Lieh, Yuen Wah and Phillip Ko) and at times the plot feels too static for its own good.

A refreshing change of pace that witnessed the different sides of Yuen Biao, Charlie Chin and among others, ON THE RUN is a flawed but decent dark thriller.

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