Funimation // 1985 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Roy Hrab (Retired) // May 14th, 2010
Power is fleeting when the streets are bleeding.
Gratuitous nudity, extreme violence, plentiful bloodletting, cheesy sets, even cheesier fashion, discount special effects, and lousy acting; it's all on display in Hong Kong Godfather, a Shaw Brothers production that makes for a fairly entertaining distraction.
Han (Kien Shih, Enter The Dragon) is an elderly triad boss. He's living the high life along with his younger associates, including Wei (Ka-Yan Leung) and Lung (Norman Chu). Times are good. However, a rival boss wants to move in on Han's territory and quickly manages to engineer the old man's downfall. Wei and Lung vow revenge. Much violence ensues.
There's not much to Hong Kong Godfather. The story is basic and actually pretty boring. It just provides a vehicle for moving from one fight scene to the next. Not much happens in the first half of the film, but once the gang wars start to escalate mayhem takes over. Each fight becomes bloodier and more ridiculous than the last. Perhaps the most outrageous scene involves a gang tough giving Han's six-year-old grandson (more accurately, an obviously stuffed dummy) a WWE-style backbreaker and then tossing the child/doll through a window. There are also plenty of bodies being tossed through walls and breakaway furniture. Further, the casualties pile up so quickly in the film's final ultra-insane fight sequence that it's almost impossible to keep track of the body count.
Aside from the violence, there's little else to keep your attention, although that really depends on your tastes and preferences. For you see, the acting is pretty hammy. The bad guys snarl, snivel, and look untrustworthy. The good guys shoot meditative glances and display righteous anger. The interior sets look like they could fall apart at any time. The wardrobe is pure 1980s Miami Vice styles. The soundtrack is overbearing at times. And there are laughable uses of slow motion reaction shots. And so, I must admit that there is some good camp value in all of this, and that I kind of enjoyed the film.
The video quality is remarkably good with clear evidence that the print has been cleaned-up significantly. The colors are strong and they are very few imperfections. The stereo audio is fine.
There are no extras.
Bad acting, bad story, crazy violence. Hong Kong Godfather is a film with a clear mission and goal. If you agree with it, you'll enjoy it.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (Cantonese)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 1985
MPAA Rating: Not Rated