The Shaw Brothers have created over a thousand films and with several having been aired on US television and some being released on video, and as most people tend to think of martial arts when it comes to the Shaw Brothers, they have also done several films outside of martial arts. A perfect example is their 1985 film "Hong Kong Godfather" (Jian dong xiao xiong).
"Hong Kong Godfather" revolves around three buddies who are part of a triad gang. Playboy Lung is one of the higher ups in the triad, while Wen is now a sergeant in the police and Wei is the former hack and slash member who has retired from the gang and now living a peaceful life and raising his teenage daughter. Each of these men are loyal to triad leader Uncle Han.
But there is a bit of dissension within the gang as one of their own members who doesn't get along with Playboy Lung is working with the rival gang and planning to kill of Uncle Han, his family and everyone who is a member of their triad.
When the rival gang goes after Playboy and nearly kills him, both Wei and Sergeant Wen know they must help their friend out and avenge their fallen uncle the best way they know how...by machetes.
So far, each Shaw Brothers release that FUNimation Entertainment has looked quite solid. Thanks to Celestial Pictures going through major remastering and restoration for many of the Shaw Bros. films, "Hong Kong Godfather" looks pretty good for a 1985 film. But where there martial arts film doesn't seem so dated, "Hong Kong Godfather" reeks of '80s fashion and music. From the "Miami Vice" clothing, the Crockett and Tubs hairstyle (yes, the mullet is in full-effect) and more.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Hong Kong Godfather" is presented in Cantonese. As mentioned, this is a 1985 film and for the most part, dialogue is clear but the film sports some major '80s synth music that is more like listening to early '80s music from the old televison show C.HI.P.S. I don't remember music being like this in the mid-80's, probably early 80's but for the most part, the music doesn't hold up all that well over 25 years later.
Subtitles are in English.
"Hong Kong Godfather" comes with trailers of upcoming releases.
The DVD release comes with a slipcase cover.
"Hong Kong Godfather" was definitely an interesting and entertaining triad film.
I use the word "interesting" because I have watched many triad films and I don't think I have seen a film this bloody or violent. In some way, it's like playing a video game like "Resident Evil" or "Dead Rising" in which your constantly hacking and slashing or killing so many zombies. In this case, "Hong Kong Godfather" is a film about exact justice and three men taking on a lot of triad members with machetes and a lot of blood spurting while still maintaining some martial arts during the fight sequences. But for the most part, this is a film that focuses on machete slashing.
So, in many ways, "Hong Kong Godfather" is an "interesting" Shaw Brothers film for its mere content. Granted, today's violent films look more realistic while "Hong Kong Godfather" sports the "Miami Vice" clothing and hairstyles, bad '80s synth music but because of how crazy this film gets, you can't help but be entertained and in awe of what takes place.
The film has violence against men, women, children. Tons of blood and hacking. Many foreign, non-Chinese actors (makes me wonder if the Shaw Brothers was trying to make this film more accessible to a wider audience) as triad gang members (working for the rival gang), full frontal nudity and if your only exposure to Shaw Brothers films was martial arts films, "Hong Kong Godfather" definitely brings something new and over-the-top.
Overall, if you are looking for a crazy, bloody and violent Shaw Brothers film, "Hong Kong Godfather" is definitely for you!