Monday, December 15, 2014

Full Contact

Full Contact Directed By Ringo Lam, Starring Chow Yun-Fat (1992).

This epic Ringo Lam flick doesn't give you a chance to catch your breath as you are assaulted by constant frenetic cartoonish action and ultra violence! This is a film I'd been wanting to review for a long time, but other obligations just got in the way. It's the best movie that Simon Yam has ever appeared in, he plays The Judge, a flashy over stylized flamboyantly homosexual gangster who opens the film by callously stabbing a female in the chest. Yam wears a lot of zebra print and has tons of hankies, it's as if he works on the side as a magician. In the opening scene, Judge and his gang of punk looking cohorts take over a ritzy antique shop. This film is a good way to convince someone who's on the fence about HK action films and should be mandatory viewing for anyone wanting to see a top notch entry in the genre. 

Stop or I'll shoot you with these Ebola bullets!

This is the only film where I've enjoyed the English dub as well as the foreign language version both are totally shameless. Anthony Wong plays Sam, a spineless twerp who gets involved with loan sharks, who stick his head in a car door and threaten to murder him. Here he still resembles his trade mark scumbag character from Ebola Syndrome, but this time does nothing as repulsive. He truly evolves during the course of the film and has lots of range as an actor. Some call Ringo's style "John Woo lite", fuck that shit, there's nothing light about this film!

Chow Yun-Fat is Godfrey, a super badass biker who must bail his pal out from under the thumb of a few petty gangsters hanging out in a rainy garage. The fight choreography looks bone crunchingly authentic. Yun-fat wields a lightning quick butterfly knife and washes his enemies blood in the rain water. The rock music sounds like bad Sammi Hagar novelty songs and fits perfectly.

Chow played Steve Martin's character in an Asian production of Little Shop of Horrors

Godfrey takes what I can only describe as a hallway bath with a bucket of water and waxes poetic with his petite stripper fiance Mona played by Ann Bridgewater. He bites her arm and says teeth marks are better than a marriage certificate, which is an odd line if you ask me! 
Wong's character seems to have a good heart in the beginning and only deals with those loan sharks in order to pay for his mom's funeral in Thailand. 

I'm happy to report that non of the homophobic antics seen in Pantyhose Hero (reviewed here) show up in this film and Yam's portrayal of a gay character isn't offensive. Godfrey teams up with The Judge's crew and they form a shaky alliance, both relying on the notion of "keep your enemies closer", which doesn't bode well for either group. 

Did you just queef, it smells like Starkist?

There's a really skanky tart in the group played by Bonnie Fu, who always wants people to check out her crotch. I remember the English dialogue being slightly more filthy when she talks. Just after masturbating in a moving vehicle, she tosses a grenade at a random motorist and blows half the bridge off. She's the most offensively over-sexualized character it's a tad nauseating.  
I like seeing Yam and Wong in the same car, they've appeared in many films we've reviewed at ToG and their careers are always trying to upstage each other. In my book Wong outshines Yam's career for grossout Cat III movies. The car stunts are on a Mad Max level of questionable safety and put your nerves on edge.

Chow and Yam get into a savage knife fight. Judge (Yam) who complains that his hair got mussed, licks the knife after it slices thru Godfrey's tender fingers. Sam is a spineless wimp and betrays his cousin for fear that The Judge and his pals will retaliate. He blasts him in the chest and leaves him to die, just after mowing down an innocent family and firebombing their house! Godfrey barely makes it out alive and escapes on a speedboat with an adorable Boston Terrier in tow.

Apocalypse Now reenacted with cute dogs

After missing a few fingers, he regains his strength and well being during an empowering, but cheesy montage. He hangs out with his dog on a motorbike and trains by shooting glass bottles. He also stitches himself back together Rambo style.

Sam has completely lost his mind and transforms into a cold blooded gangster with a sweet new Perm! He seems reborn a hardened criminal and proves it by blowing a meaty sized crevice into an old acquaintance's throat in a bar. Judge really gets off on violent explosions and eats his hotdog like a weirdo, without the bun.

"Aqua-Wong My Friend"by Jethro Tull

There are some wacky musical dance numbers that raise the molten level of hot bubbling cheese in Full Contact, but it's all part of the delightfully campy atmosphere.
Sam (Wong) knows that Godfrey is out for revenge and is shaking like a chicken shit loser.
Godfrey misses his old flame Mona who's shacked up with Sam now, because she assumed he died in a fire. They remain civil to eat other, but Sam cannot be trusted and Godfrey has fantasies of murdering him.
There's so much firepower and empty clips in this film, that it never gets dull. This came out the same year as Reservoir Dogs (which Tarantino borrowed the main plot from Ringo Lam's City on Fire). 

During a really graphic sex scene between Sam and the tart (Bonnie Fu), the dialogue switches to English. I'm assuming that clip was excised from the Foreign version, which is odd to me because usually they save the more extreme shit for the original. There's a really bloody ambush that involves ice blocks and someone being thrown off a ledge, hung by the neck! 

Godfrey doesn't give a fuck and flaunts his gutsiness by ordering a Perrier at the gangster's hideout. Their mouths all drop because they assumed he died. 
 Ringo Lam borrows from Argento and shows the perspective of the bullet fly out of the chamber and enter the brain of a victim. This same shot would later resurface in the Kill Bill animated sequence.
When Godfrey makes a deal with the Judge, he tells him to wash his butt, which reminds me of that Red Foxx comedy album "Wash That Ass!".

There's an incredible motorcycle shoot out toward the end, as Chow blasts thru gangsters faces while smoking a cigarette the entire time.
As he sends a fatal bullet sailing through Judge's throat he tells him to go beat off in hell, which may be the first and last time you'll ever hear a line like that!

Come any closer and I'll butterfly your testicles!

Almost all of the directors titles are featured in the Deep Red catalog like The Adventurers, City on Fire, Prison on Fire, Twin Dragons and Burning Paradise. None of them have been covered yet, so we've got our work cut out for us. Lam's Americanized career would be less embarrassing than his other HK action mogul counterparts like Ronny Yu, Tsui Hark and John Woo of course, but still kind of disappointing. It all went down the drain with Maximum Risk a Van Damme dud, although its not fair to lump Ringo in with other Asian directors out to make a fast buck and he's even returned to the forum (working with Simon Yam again) on Wild City coming out next year, so don't write him off just yet! This film is available to stream at most sites like Fandor, check it out!


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