Ringo Lam's characters in Full Contact come in three flavors: bad guys with values, bad guys without values and victims. The first category is led by antihero Godfrey (Jeff or Gou Fei in other translations), one of Chow Yun-fat's most adversarial characters (not counting his Emperor role in Curse of the Golden Flower), who is a thief with a conscience who can deftly ride a motorcycle and wield his balisong knife. He is set to marry Mona whose creative dancing career apparently does not make enough money. Look for a later dance scene resembling something out of Encino Man. Their friend Sam (Anthony Wong: Exiled) had to borrow money from a loan shark in Thailand named Hung to help pay for her Mother's burial (the translation states this but I think it meant internment costs). Since he cannot pay back he is in deep trouble until Godfrey helps him out. This causes Hung to put out a hit on him.
Sam has a job coming up that could make him and his friends a lot of money. It is with his cousin the overly-flamboyant homicidal homosexual Judge (Simon Yam: PTU) and his two lackeys the muscular Psycho (Frankie Chan) who has a penchant for big guns and loose women and his girlfriend the nymph Virgin (Bonnie Fu). This job involves busting an ammo truck worth millions of dollars. However, unbeknown-st to Sam at the time they will get paid by Hung to take care of Godfrey and they will ultimately kill other pal Chung. In the meantime Mona has to take her Mom's ashes to Hong Kong. While Godfrey promises to marry her when she gets back, we all know that any promise before a big job will not be a promise kept. Those who see this will wonder why Godfrey takes this job when their initial meeting does not go well.
The operation goes almost exactly as planned for Judge. However, it is not as easy as he would have liked. While he finds Godfrey attractive he still has to kill him. This leads to an explosive showdown that leaves Godfrey with a missing thumb and trigger finger on his right hand, an innocent family dead and its daughter severely burnt. Sam capitulates in allowing this because he is a sniveling coward (his 180 degree personality change in the film is too unrealistic even though Anthony Wong still did a good performance with this character) and even shoots his friend and leaves him for dead. Why Judge doesn't check on the "death" of Godfrey, I do not know, but it allows him to live, take a cute dog, time to heal and time to learn to shoot with his other hand so he can exact revenge. His monomania allows time for Sam to sneak in on his girlfriend while everyone else thinks he is pushing up daises.
Lam's directorial style is grittier than John Woo's operatic mode of direction, but the spirit of Woo is in this film. He refers to Woo in a few scenes from the briefcase ending analogous to The Killer to Chow Yun-fat spitting out his cigar before killing like Tequila spitting out his toothpick in Hard-Boiled. While the action is not as hyperbolic as Woo's his characters are more exaggerated. Godfrey becomes a vessel for brotherhood (yi) in his quest for vengeance with his own code of conduct. He is not only taking revenge for a lost friend, he is taking revenge for a family wrongly slaughtered and a disfigured daughter. This film feels like a mixture of John Woo and Chang Cheh – it fits well in the sub-genre of heroic bloodshed. With a plot that could have been taken out of an old-school martial arts film what better place for Godfrey to get over his injuries then in a monastery with the help of a monk.
The one-dimensional characters are one of the biggest weaknesses with this film. When Judge states one sentence late in the film on why he acts the way he does it comes a little late – though Simon Yam's performance is a high point in this film. Virgin and Psycho are completely over-the-top as well but they do not have the finesse that Judge has. But in their excess with Psycho's muscle-bound dumbbell and Virgin's oversexed vixen there is a camp factor that I found enhanced the emotions and nihilistic content of this film. The triangle relationship between Sam, Mona and Godfrey annoyed me a bit but it did keep in line with the protagonist's revenge motif.
Where this movie excels is the gun-play scenes, fight action scenes choreographed by longtime Shaw Brother's actor/action director Lau Kar-wing and the excellent direction of Ringo Lam. He has a solid aesthetics in putting together scenes and creates a brute force style of action. The scene most mentioned from this film is club shootout between Godfrey and Judge. It sublimely employs the use of the bullet POV. There are also a couple of pyrotechnic scenes that are also quite extraordinary in explosive carnage and were a good reason for the overinflated budget.
This movie was not viewed as a success in Hong Kong. It was not a flop though since it made almost 17m HK dollars; however, since it cost over 23 million HK dollars it was a loss for Golden Princess. It has a better reputation here in the United States and along with City on Fire is it his most popular. I highly recommend it to viewers who are interested in action cinema. If you take a character first approach to film then you can probably avoid it. But for those who have gone this far in the review I figure you either have seen this movie or are interested in seeing this anyways. With great lines like "wash your butt and wait for me" I know you will like it.
Action / Crime / Thriller
Action / Crime / Thriller
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In an effort to get his buddy out of a gambling debt, Jeff agrees to join forces with Judge in a weapons heist. The job goes bad and Judge betrays Jeff. Jeff plots the ultimate revenge on Judge and his followers and it is a question of whether he can follow through with his plan.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN
September 22, 2022 at 10:48 PM