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Hong Kong 1941

av Po-Chih Leong

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1984 unrated WWII film set in Hong Kong. A love triangle drama set against the background of war. Also known as "Dang Doi Lai Ming," "Waiting for Daybreak," "Waiting for Dawn."

DVD Features: The DVD contains the movie, trailers, and some special features. The movie can be heard in English or Chinese (Cantonese) and can be read (subtitles) in English or Chinese. The trailers are for: 1) City Hunter (Jackie Chan, PG-13), 2) Naked Killer, 3) Magnificent Warriors (R-rated, Michelle Yeoh, WWII movie), 4) Magnificent Butcher (PG-13, Sammo Hung), 5) Heart of the Dragon (R, Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan), 6) Kiss of the Dragon (R, Jet Li, Bridge Fonda), and 7) The Transporter (PG-13, Jason Strathon as Frank Martin). The Special Features include: 1) this film's trailers (two), 2) photo gallery, 3) Interviews (two, one with Cecilia Yip (had been a model), and one with Paul Pui, actor ("film was very realistic, not dramatic"), 4) Chow Yun-Fat Movie Photo Gallery and Biography (born May 18, 1955 in Hong Kong; won the "Best Actor Awards at both Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards and the Asian Pacific Film Festival for" his role in this film; starred in "City on Fire . . . served as the inspiration for much of Quentin Tarrentino's, "Reservoir Dogs""), 5) Promotional Materials (posters and stills), and 6) Production Notes (synopsis, cast/crew list, and Chow Yun Fat Filmography). One final note, the music on the DVD menu screens sounds like something out of the Twilight Zone.

Credits: Chow Yun-Fat (Yip Fai, or as the synopsis credits the part as "Yip Kim-fay"; "The Killer"), Alex Man (Huang Kong, or as the synopsis credits the part as "Wong Hale Keung"; "The Con Man in Vegas"), Cecilia Yip (Anna Shin, or as the synopsis credits the part as "Ha Yuk-Nam"; "May and August"), Paul Chu (Fa Wang), and Sai-Kit Yung (General Kanezawa). Directed by Po-Chih Leong ("Out of Reach"). The movie is written by Koon-Chung Chan ("Kiss Me Goodbye").

Plot: The movies opens before the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong, with the British attempting to send the women to safety in Australia. Food is rationed, and a minor riot occurs when the rice warehouse owner refuses to pay his workers. Then the Japanese invade and occupy Hong Kong. Before and during the occupation, three friends struggle to survive, with each attempting a different method of survival (Kong, Fai, and Anna). At the beginning of the movie Fai is living with his aunt and uncle (and attempts to stow-away on a boat to Australia), while Kong works for the rice people, and Anna wanders around screaming (apparently she has some genetic disorder, and is the daughter of a rich man that owns the rice warehouse and who is attempting to marry off his daughter (arranged marriage) to his new business partner's son (even though she and Kong have some kind of relationship). The three friends decide to try to leave for Australia, but the day they attempt to leave, the Japanese attack. Fai makes it onto a boat, but the other two do not. He decides that he cannot leave without them.

Review: The movie opens with a woman remembering her darkest days, which occurred in 1941 in Hong Kong. The woman occasionally offers some narration during the movie. A strange movie that opens slowly and, for the most part, continues to be slow. The movie picks up, a little, when the Japanese invasion starts and the Hong Kong citizens riot and loot.

Interesting movie about a strange time in Hong Kong history. The inhabitants either collaborate (and some do it to help others), attempt to hide in the shadows, or actively work against the occupation. Some of the collaborators really take advantage of the situation, torturing others, stealing money, and generally being overall evil.

The spoken English and subtitle English seems to be the same (except the profanity which is only in the subtitles, and I believe that occasionally a couple words are different). The dubbing isn't the best, though it is harder to tell considering that it isn't always easy to see their mouths.

The slow movie has a somewhat strange story-line (not enough of the resistance action shown, not enough of any action, really, shown). The acting appears to be good. The music is good. Overall, I would give the movie 3.40 stars. ( )
  SteveVander6 | Apr 29, 2010 |
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