Plot: What’s it about?
This film is the first in a two part series, with the other movie being Tragic Hero. This movie can be viewed as a single film, but if you want to see the arc of the entire storyline and characters, then you need to watch both films. Lee Ah-Chai (Chow Yun Fat) is a powerful triad leader and though he holds influence over many, he knows not all can be trusted. But he does take in two young brothers, Yung (Alex Man) and Kwok (Andy Lau), who have run into some problems and they have asked Chai for some assistance. It seems that one of the brothers has run up quite a debt while gambling and since he has no real cash, he & his brother seek out Chai for some help. Chai enlists them to support him in a battle with his rivals, which he sees as a sort of payment for his assistance in their debt issues. Soon enough, the brothers find themselves smack dab in the middle of a massive & deadly gang war and things seem to get more dangerous all the time. Sooner or later, this will erupt into a massive gunfight and when that happens, who can be trusted?
I want to make a quick recommendation and that is make sure you have access to the film Tragic Hero before you watch this, as the two go hand in hand. I recommend picking both titles up and watching them together, but both also stand alone well as single films. If you’re an action fan and gunplay is your style, then Rich and Famous is a movie you will not want to miss. Of course Chow Yun Fat kicks some serious ass, but the rest of the cast is also impressive and on the whole, this movie could rival most American action flicks. The production values don’t measure up to the massive American films, but the basic elements can stand toe to toe and most of the time, I’d give this movie the edge. This is a mobster style film in which tempers flare and guns are drawn with no hesitation, which is just the way I like it. I do wish there were more action sequences, but I am pleased with the ones that do appear. If you’re a fan of action flicks, Hong Kong cinema, or Chow Yun Fat, this is a film you will want to check out for sure.
I think the reason a lot of people will check these out is because of Chow Yun Fat, who has established himself as a superstar in the realm of action flicks. I wouldn’t say he is the featured performer in these films, but his name is billed first and he does steal these films from under the other cast members. I think he is one of the best in terms of humanistic killers and here he proves this again, bringing his character into a state of realism that makes us believe he is Chai. I don’t think this is his best performance, but then again when you think about Hard Boiled or The Killer, how can he top those roles? Chow Yun Fat is in fine form in these movies and he turns in some of his finest work here, which is a real testament to his skills. You can also see him in such films as Hard Boiled, The Killer, God of Gamblers, The Replacement Killers, Anna and the King, A Better Tomorrow, and Prison On Fire. The rest of the cast is also superb and includes Andy Lau (The Conman, Running Out Of Time), Alex Man (Yellow Rain), Pauline Wong (Mr. Vampire), Danny Lee (The Killer), and Carina Lau (Flowers of Shanghai, Project A II).
Video: How does it look?
Rich and Famous is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, which is not enhanced for widescreen televisions. This transfer provides a good improvement over previous editions, but the source print is in pretty bad shape and could use some restoration work. I wasn’t too distracted by the print flaws though and I think Tai Seng has done the best they could, given the materials they had to work with. The colors look on the soft side, but retain their boldness and I found minimal signs of bleeds or smears. Also a tad soft is the contrast, but detail was never overexposed and I was pleased with the overall shadow layering. I wish this one looked better, but it still looks better than any edition before, so no real complaints.
Audio: How does it sound?
This disc offers three language choices, but for this review I decided to focus on the Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 option. I think this track sounds terrific, but I am aware that it doesn’t use the surrounds much in the least. I would have liked a much more active mix, but the overall dynamic range is still pretty good, which is surprising. This mix might not blow you over in your chair, but you’ll hear all the elements in good form. The dialogue seems crisp and well balanced, while the sound effects & music compliment each other, always in a nice balance. This disc also contains audio tracks in Mandarin & Spanish, as well as English subtitles.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc contains some talent files and also some trailers, but none of them are for this movie