The awaited film starring Roy Cheung.
Lu Yi and Xu Jing-lei accompany him, plus the guest appearance of Alex Man and Shing Fui-on like a homage to "Brotherhood" 1986. It’s gorgeous. A tragic story of the assassin brothers in Shanghai 1930s. The casting, the staging, the camerawork and the soundtracks are excellent. This is a hidden masterpiece.
Long time awaited, Roy Cheung is the protagonist. "Han Feng" is the expert assassin. He was born poor in Shanghai after the WW1. He took up a gun to earn her mother’s medical costs and the study abroad fee for his little brother. At last, he fights against the mafia organization dominating Shanghai.
Han Feng has the aspect of Spaghetti Western. I love it. The story begins from the bar, it reminds me of a saloon, a beautiful woman is getting harassed by a French drunker (Mon Dieu!) because they are in Concession française de Shanghai. Then, Han Feng with a ten-gallon hat dramatically arrives like a bounty killer. He drives away this fly with a handkerchief. It’s so stylish.
Roy Cheung is sometimes undertook the role of the snobbish guy despite his gentle looks. He played three times the "Returnee elite police officer" in the 90s. As I know, this scheme was developed in 龍虎風雲 and retaken by 衝擊天子門生 and 嘩！英雄. I can’t forget the last scene of 龍虎風雲 where he was beaten his head by a brick.
Alex Man and Shing Fui-on of Brotherhood 1986
Alex Man is participating in this film as a "friend". It generally means that he worked for free. Also, Shing Fui-on briefly appears on the screen. It’s a homage. Their appearances surely evoke the pure masterpiece, the 1986 film 兄弟 (English title is Brotherhood). The same title and the same subject. This time, Alex Man plays an inspector of Shanghai police, a sort of enemy. Shing Fui-on plays a crime boss like 恐龍, but is easily eliminated.
In comparing two films, the script of "Brotherhood" is much better than this "Fidelity". However, I can confirm that both films are impressive.
As an aside, the latest 兄弟 in 2007 is quite interesting. Michael Miu and Andy Lau since 無綫五虎將 plus Eason Chan and Felix Wong, the main casts are fantastic. This film is unfortunately not released in Japan. I want to have the Blu-ray.
Chen Jian-hong is brilliant. She is from Shanghai and she won "Miss Shanghai natural beauty" in 1993. She married a famous actor Wang Zhi-wen, 12 years older, in 2008.
She and Xu Jing-lei were born in 1974, they are the same age. Both actresses were surprisingly 27 years old at the time, but they look nothing but the teenagers. They are already making this film unmissable.
Chen Jian-hong plays the lover of Han Feng. She is apparently the second heroine, but much more active than Xu Jing-lei’s role. Her end is dramatic, it’s like a cut scene from a good old Spaghetti Western. The most stylish scene of this film.
About Blackie Ko
The poster of this film says "Blackie Ko plays the crime boss for last" and his name is emphasized by the square. Blackie Ko passed away in 9 December 2003 in Shanghai. This film can be his posthumous work as an actor.
Last years, he ran for a representative of Kuomintang in Taiwan. This attitude was honestly disagreeable. However, his cinema works are out of the politic. We can meekly appreciate his great contributions to Chinese cinema development.
Lu Yi and Xu Jing-lei
Roy Cheung is the elder brother. Lu Yi is the younger brother. Actually, Lu Yi is the second hero "Han Yu" who is the most tragic character in this film. He is naturally my favourite actor, I wanted a little more positive story for him.
Han Yu is rather an aesthetic character than a hardcore assassin. He is mainly with his girlfriend on the edge of death. This situation might fascinate the young female audience. However, his face is often hidden by a hat. It’s nevertheless disappointing.
Xu Jing-lei plays Han Yu’s girlfriend. She and Lui Yi are a couple in this story. It’s rare. Her role is like a fair maiden. She doesn’t have any action scenes, but the poetic romance.
Xu Jing-lei is also a director. While the shooting of this "Fidelity", she was probably working in parallel for her directed and starred film 一個陌生女人的來信. Recently, I discovered this Japanese version DVD, I’ll watch it later.
She is my very favourite actress. I always remember 愛情麻辣燙, in this film, she is a lost girl among the gigantic apartments built from the real estate bubble.
"Fidelity" is a hidden masterpiece. The casting, the staging and the camerawork are excellent. Every picture angles are sophisticated and calculated. The soundtracks are enriching the atmosphere of Shanghai underworld.
The storyline is the sole weakness, it’s a classic revenge story. It’s simple and straight, but fatally lacking the fresh ideas. The filming quality is just as great as 無間道. Nevertheless, the story is mediocre. That’s why this film is lesser-known.
Tang Hong-gen is a Mainland director mainly working for the TV series. He made only two films. Another film is 霹靂鳳凰 (Thunderbolt Phoenix) in 1996. I want to see this film one day, but it seems very difficult. Jade Leung of 黑貓 and Farini Cheung of 赤裸狂奔 are starring in this film.
I remember, 黑貓 was ordinary and 赤裸狂奔 was an abomination, only the actresses were good. Tang Hong-gen can enhance their charm despite the subject is obviously the combat that I hate.
This film is unfortunately released from an unknown weird publisher in only DVD. The film title and the DVD cover are falsified as usual. Naturally, the original title is not noted.
Japanese fake title is Tiger. It’s a simple general word. Nothing related with the film. We must stop such Japanese robots which automatically attach the word Dragon or Tiger to the Chinese films. Updating the program for the Japanese publishers required. They are outdated 138.
The aspect ratio is strangely 16:10. An amateur who knows nothing about the cinema sometimes does that. Fortunately, the quality of the pictures is very good and the subtitles are coherent, it’s a blessing in disguise.
A used disc is over 25 USD and a brand-new disc is over 80 USD on Amazon, it’s absurd. You can find a used stuff with 5 USD on Rakuten. Try it. The DVD cover is maybe one of the official posters, Lu Yi version. The other posters featuring Roy Cheung, Xu Jing-lei and Blakie Ko may exist.