Despite what my other reviews suggest, I do enjoy action films. Shocking, right? I’m even willing to step outside the safety boundaries of John Woo and Jackie Chan films to get my Hong Kong fix. Gallants fits this mold. It doesn’t have brand name directors and the leads are Bruce Leung and Kuan Tai Chen. Not exactly young pups, as they are mostly known for their seventies and eighties films. Having them as the leads, it’s easy to assume the film will be wallowing in nostalgia. The trailer certainly reeks of the seventies (not that I’m complaining!)
I recommend letting this music play as you browse the blog for maximum effect.
Gallants thankfully goes beyond parodies and tributes. The story involves Cheung (Wong You Nam) who works at a real estate company where he is sent to settle a property development dispute in an old teahouse. On arriving, Cheung finds that it was was previously a kung-fu dojo until Master Law (Teddy Robin Kwan) had fallen into a coma. The tea house is operated by Dragon (Chen Kuan-tai) and Tiger (Bruce Leung), two of Master Law’s original students. One night, the tea house is broken into which causes Master Law to be sent to a hospital. Master Law awakens in the hospital and does not realize how many years have gone by, and tries to rejuvenate the dojo.
Gallants is a bit of a mixed bag but is a generally satisfying experience. The action works and the comedy is never trying, but the film is hindered by it’s low budget and occasionally wandering script. What saves it is good action scenes (including a great final showdown involving former Bruce Lee impersonator Bruce Leung), occasionally funny gags and the best part: Teddy Kwan. As soon as Kwan’s character springs to life, he steals the show and even brings an emotional weight to the film out of nowhere. Want to know how much drama he brings to the table?
Listen to this music from the DVDs menu screen.
Even the DVD menu music knows it’s all about him and the feeling of getting older. Outside the film, the DVD is as classy as imports get. A nice looking package that includes a making-of feature that involves behind the scenes footage and interviews (all thankfully subtitled in English). The video is widescreen and anamorphic and features subtitles that are Engrish free. You get the lovely trailer and uhh…a music video by MC Jin. Remember when he was in the Ruff Ryders? I can assume in 20 years, Hong Kong will have a remake of Gallants that will feature an aging MC Jin waking up from a coma to resurrect Hong Kong Hip Hop. Let’s hope this blog doesn’t still exist at that point.