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The Independent Culture

This study of a power struggle within one of Hong Kong's oldest Triad gangs is, for most of its length, utterly impenetrable. The backrooms in which the top guns convene are so shadowy it's well-nigh impossible to identify anyone, and the intermittent bursts of action consequently make little sense. Simon Yam and Tony Leung play chief rivals in the battle for succession, the one a quiet family man, the other a hot-tempered pistol with a nasty streak, and only at the climax do we discover who's got the moxie to be last man standing. Johnnie To directs at a pace fans will call stately, though most will find it merely sluggish.

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