review by Neo

Support the Site by Buying from YesAsia

Gillian is a damn hot fighter!!!!
Em... what should I say about this movie? How should I rate this kind of movie? There is a type of movie that Neo kind of hate review, it is the sort that is not crap but not real good, that Neo really find it difficult to review. Well, I guess with that kind of introduction, you probably think that this review will finish in a few lines... but let's get on with it. This new Stephen Fung directed movie is one hell of a paper thin plot, but somehow it turns out not too bad at all. After being greatly impressed by Fung directorial debut in last year's Enter the Phoenix, this year's House of Fury got me kind of hyped up. So was I disappointed? Well kind of, but I was impressed by the action sequences in the movie and hell yeah it is the fight scenes that saved this movie. The fight scenes are numerous and all over the place, and perhaps the real reason this movie worked is because of Yuen Wo Ping who once again shows he is THE MAN.

Story goes like this: On the surface, Teddy Yu (Anthony Wong) is a Chinese chiropractor and a widowed father. His son Nicky (Stephen Fung) and daughter Natalie (Gillian Chung), learn the art of kung fu from him, but are unconvinced and sceptical of their father's claim to having a hidden life as a heroic bodyguard for retired secret agents. Then one day, Rocco (Michael Wong) arrives in his wheelchair, asking Teddy for information on an ex-agent code-named Dragon. Knowing that Dragon foiled Rocco's mission 12 years ago, an incident that left Rocco wheelchair-bound for life, Teddy's lips are sealed. Rocco leaves in silence but soon returns with his four henchmen. Teddy puts up a valiant fight but, outnumbered, he is finally captured and taken away. Tortured and drugged, Teddy reveals that data on the retired agents is hidden in his kids' lucky charms...

Sure, the movie dues with family values, but only very superficially and rather like a pathway to the action scenes. With Daniel Wu on board, I though he was gonna do some fight scenes, but once again, I was wrong and his performance here is adequate in a role is virtually nothing, meaning a wasted performance. However, Gillian Chung shines through once again and with the two twins head to head (although Ah Sa only have a cameo), Ah Gil easier wins the race, whenever Ah Sa is acting cute, Ah Gil shows exactly why she was nominated for HK Neo Film Award for Best Actress. While in Beyond Our Ken, Gillian took a dark turn, in this flick it is the action sequences that she really shines and her kicks and punches are more often believable than not and geez she handled her fights well. Another comment I must make is the natural chemistry between Daniel Wu and Gillian and I will put a bet on that they will go on starring in many movies together just like Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng.

One actor in this movie that Neo wants to comment on about is Stephen Fung. As a director he is showing good promise for many things to come, but as an actor Fung is somewhat losing touch. In saying this (before getting swamped with emails from Fung's fans), I am not knocking Stephen Fung acting, but rather feel somewhat pity and regret in seeing Fung evolved into roles that does not require any sort of acting talent. What Neo is disappointed about is not whether Fung can handle action scenes or not, as he can do that and showed his action skills here, but what I am unhappy about is when someone has so much talent back in 1997 can go backward in terms of acting. For those of you that have seen The Poet, will probably agree with me that Fung is a great actor, and even the TVB series as that handicap guy reinforce what I am saying, but now to be honest, I think Daniel Wu has surpassed him.

House of Fury is a part parody, part drama, part everything, but majority action. There are moments of family values that are greatly underdeveloped, and the scenes of Anthony Wong thinking and saying out to himself how parents actually knows about a lot of stuff that their children is hiding from him, but choose not to say it. These are relevant points in domestic family life and if only a few of the action scenes are discarded to further develop this movie, perhaps it will be a more meaningful one, rather than just wow the audience with good but forgettable action sequences.

This movie was filled with potential, but somehow all the opened chances turned into missed opportunities as Fung seem to be constantly making way for Yuen Wo Ping action sequences, while the action provides some sparks that has not been seen much in recent HK cinema, Fung as a director should be more decisive himself, rather than constantly regulating his duties. This is a major flaw in this movie to being a superior one than his last one. Enter the Phoenix showed Fung as a confident young director who uses the action scenes as a cameo appearance, but here, the story is the cameo. Nonetheless, and as ironic as it seems, it is truly the action scenes that saves this movie from being a dud and as uneven and as thin as the plot is, this is actually a pretty fun ride and especially when comparing to the other action movie in 2005 - Seoul Raiders, I can surely say that this one is a huge par better. Well's let's just say thumbs up for Yuen Wo Ping, and that's pretty much it.

I rate it 7.75/10

Comment on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum

Genre: Action
Directors: Stephen Fung Tak-Lun
Cast: Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Gillian Chung Yan-Tung, Stephen Fung Tak-Lun, Daniel Wu (Ng Yin-Tso), Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Michael Wong Man-Tak
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), April 2005