Taking Manhattan

(Che-Kirk Wong, HK/USA, 1992)


Taking Manhattan is an oddity. A Hong Kong action movie shot in America, it displays the often breathtaking style which is a trademark of this national genre.

Director Che-Kirk Wong (aka Chi Keung Wong or later, simply Kirk Wong) is not as well known as his compatriots John Woo or Tsui Hark, but aficionados of Hong Kong cinema regard his historical action epic Gunmen (1988) highly.

Billy Chang stars as a rattled undercover cop who enters the multicultural world of a New York crime network. Wong is a fan of director Brian De Palma, so the hero's unholy ally (played with manic energy by Philip Tan) is a Chinese Scarface viciously murdering his way to the top.

Between the eye-popping fights, explosions and chases, Chang contends with a wife who ceaselessly screams her discontent at him, a rather kinky undercover supervisor, and a blind, rap artist neighbour named "Mr Steve".

© Adrian Martin August 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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