Man Wanted
Sam Po Film Co.
Cast: Simon Yam, Yu Rong-Guang, Christy Chung, Eileen Tung,  
Producer: Benny Chan
Director: Benny Chan
Genre: Action | Drama
Length: 92 minutes
Category IIB
"Human relationships can be very scary!"
        Despite the obvious conflict of interest, Lok Man Hwa (Simon Yam), a cop, and Brother Lu Chan Feng (Yu Rong-Guang), a drug trafficker, are good buddies. Working undercover for the Organized Crime and Triad Bureau, Hwa has gradually earned the trust of Feng, who offers him control of a large piece of his drug business en route to a major drug buy at the Sai Kun pier. When the OCTB suddenly raids the scene, the two attempt to flee in Feng's car. Defiant to the end, Feng wants to take the entire force on. Hwa knows this is hopeless and is forced to turn his gun on his friend, urging him to give himself up and find another way to make a living. Besides, he argues, his drug trade even harms kids and pregnant women. "Do you know how many people die each day because of you?", he asks.
armed men and police vehicles, as Hwa manages to dive out the side before the bullet-riddled car careens into the   harbor and explodes.
Feng ain't goin' out like that- yelling "Let's die together!", he accelerates toward the
       Though Hwa is subsequently promoted to Inspector, he is more concerned about paying his respects to Feng, rushing over to his funeral ceremony, where he is stabbed in the gut by Feng's loyal minion Mindy, (played convincingly by Cherie Chan).
  After recuperating at the hospital, where he is tended to by his nurse girlfriend, June (Eileen Tung), he and his unit try and foil a ring of organized credit card counterfeiters at a mall. There he finds that one of the crooks is Feng's former girlfriend Yung (Christy Chung), in the act of fraud in a jewelry store. Out of loyalty to Feng, he lets Yung walk, and when her partners in crime catch up with her in an alleyway and begin beating her for walking off with the stolen merchandise, Hwa gives them a few headbutts and kicks in the stomach,, then nonchalantly throws one of them into a concrete wall.
Cherie Chan as Mindy
Mending his wounds at Yung's apartment, Hwa learns that her brother, who was one of Feng's men, was killed soon after Feng was. Wanting to help, Hwa pledges to be there for her anytime, 24/7. Yung takes him up on it, testing his loyalty by paging him at all hours of the day and night.
One night, Yung pages Hwa to keep her company during Mid-Autumn Festival; when he rushes over to her place he sees a figure emerge from the shadows- Feng. The two look each other over, throw some punches, then they stop, chuckle in recognition, and have a smoke together. (Personally I prefer a handshake).
      How Feng survived the explosion is never explained, but then the guy is made out to be virtually bulletproof anyway. Constantly needing to prove his loyalty to others, Hwa agrees to assist Feng with one last favor before returning to the Mainland- to drive Feng to "see an old friend".
Feng shows his gratitude by returning to the car with Mindy and a small boy, the son of crime boss Bald Yin (Law Kar-Ying). Feng plans to ransom him for the unpaid sum of HK $50 million that Yin owed him, and his coercion wins Hwa's presence at a pre-arranged meeting over the settlement of the money. Feng gets his money, then, with Yin's son still at gunpoint, demands another $100 million. Police arrive at the scene just after Feng murders the uncooperative Yin, finding Hwa in the middle of the bloodshed. Needless to say, it doesn't look good.
Hwa has no luck convincing his peers that Feng is still alive (makes sense, they all saw him blow up in a car), especially with one superior officer (Kenneth Chan) already intent on using any excuse at his disposal to bring him down. During his interrogation, Feng kidnaps June, and leaves a bomb in her apartment which ends up killing Sergeant Hwang (Parkman Wong), Hwa's strongest ally in the department.
His life unravelling, Hwa tries to get to Yung before Feng does, but Feng's men knock him out, shoot him up with drugs, and bring him to a pier where June is chained to an anchor. Feng kicks the weight over the pier as the delirious Hwa is forced to watch helplessly as she sinks to the bottom of the bay.
Framed as a suspect for several murders and considered armed and dangerous, Hwa is drugged up some more and thrown into the middle of Portland Street with a loaded gun duct-taped to his hand.  Pretty bleak, eh? But there's one source of hope- the woman who has always been secretly in love with him, Yung.
Man Wanted DVD information
With her help, Hwa recovers enough to take back control and steal a major heroin shipment from Feng, luring him into a seedy area of Mongkok where they clash in a bitter and violent finale in an abandoned building.
  Incidentally, Man Wanted was my introduction to Simon Yam, having seen it upon its release at the now defunct Music Palace theater in New York's Chinatown. Though it employs pretty common themes, it still manages to transcend the generic Hong Kong action mold with solid,. effective performances from Simon and Yu Rong Guang. Sure, it can be dismal, brutal even, but it's still an entertaining picture and as a vehicle for Simon Yam it's an ideal entree to his work.

     I liked Yu's relentless, seemingly indestructible drug kingpin, hardened by what he has witnessed during China's Cultural Revolution, and Yam's descent into madness, going from a well dressed cop to a sweaty snotty suicidal mess.
    The true relationship between the two men is ambiguous. Though Hwa betrayed Feng by setting up the sting that brought him down, he was upset over his presumed death, and he remained loyal to Yung even though Feng was out of the picture. Even Hwa's superior, Tai, seemed to sense Hwa's sentimentality towards Feng.

  Contains some decent love songs in the soundtrack, which are nicely subtitled for a change.
Cherie Chan, Parkman Wong, Kenneth Chan, Law Kar-Ying
Copyright Simon
        All rights reserved.
Related viewing:
A Touch of Evil (1995) Tony Leung Kar Fai,  Rosamund Kwan, Michael Wong
Man Wanted 3 (2000) Simon Yam, Allen Ting, Gigi Lai
Face / Off  (1998) John Travolta, Nicholas Cage (John Woo)