1994 / Director. Albert Pyun. Movie # 19
In 1997 the English handed the city of Hong Kong back to the People's Republic of China. A few years earlier Albert Pyun made HONG KONG 97 which told the story of an assassin trying to flee the country before the hand-over at midnight. Robert Patrick lead the film as the American contract killer with a $10M bounty on his head. Having just assassinated several high ranking Chinese officials he finds himself on the run, along with two colleagues and his former lover and her grandfather. This movie is amongst Albert's most polished and mainstream efforts. It plays out very fluently and is really well executed. The set design is wonderful with all sorts of vibrant colours saturating the night-scape, giving it a nice oriental ambience and it conjures memories of Ridley Scott's BLACK RAIN. The cast is solid too with Patrick in the lead, supported by Brion James, Tim Thomerson and Andrew Divoff. None of them play into stereotypes and each lend modest and understated performances... although James does have a strange British accent, which coming from him... still works. According to Wiki-whatwouldtheyknow, the film has never been released on DVD. Ha. I guess they don't look hard enough. I managed to source and excellent copy from the Czech Republic of all places. It's been remastered wonderfully and the image is as polished as it is ever likely to get. In terms of Albert Pyun's filmography, HONG KONG 97 is probably most comparable to POSTMORTEM. Clearly different types of films, but both working within a more traditional and classic style of filmmaking. This is more restrained, less experimental and definitely more conformed. When it comes to Pyun films, us fans do prefer the crazy, fucked up and ballsy stuff... but every now and then these solid and conventional outings are necessary to remind us that Mr Pyun is not to be underestimated.