Wednesday, January 28, 2009

On the Run

Yuen Biao plays an unhappy Hong Kong cop who approaches his wife, who has split with him, to ask her to help him use their marriage to immigrate to the US. Soon after their encounter, his wife, who also happens to be a narcotics officer, is killed by a professional hit-woman (Pat Ha). Yuen Biao immediately hunts down his wifes killer, but before he can take her in, he finds himself an equal target. The man who ordered the hit on his wife is also CID (Charlie Chin in a fantastic villain role), who happened to be sleeping with the woman he just ordered dead for discovering that he and his unit (Yuen Wah, Philip Ko, Lo Lieh) are running drugs.

Now wanted by the entire HK Police force, Biao must join forces with his wifes killer and try to find safe passage for him and his young daughter out of Hong Kong.

On the Run is about as HK Noir as you can get, dark, violent, and full of unexpected shocks. It is also a showcase for Yuen Biao as an actor, not a martial artist. Some Hong Kong fans may be surprised to learn that even though the film stars Yuen Biao and Yuen Wah on opposite sides, there is no martial arts action at all. There are some brutal violence, and a lot of painful bullet wounds, but no real fighting. As I said, this is probably the best example of Yuen Biaos acting talent. He is fantastic in this rare dramatic role. However the real star of the film is our hit-woman played wonderfully by Pat Ha. She plays a very odd kind of professional killer, she is cold blooded killer with a bull’s-eye shot, who is also pure of heart.

There are some other noteworthy roles in the film. Who would have thought the silly Lucky Star Charlie Chin could pull off the villain role so damn well, and though Yuen Wah is known primarily as a great screen villain. He is not the slick psychopath we know and love from Dragons Forever, or Eastern Condors. Instead he is a somewhat cowardly fellow who is quick to cave under pressure.

This is probably one of the best Yuen Biao films to come out of the 80's, despite the lack of action it still manages to keep you, I hate to say it, “on the edge of your seat”! It also contains some truly shocking moments that I can guarantee you will not see coming!


A Film by Alfred Cheung

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