Street Gangs of Hong Kong aka The Delinquent aka Fen nu qing nian (1973)

Posted: 06/03/2014 in Trash movies, Tribute
Tags: , , , , , , ,

If you check out the IMDB page for Street Gangs of Hong Kong you can learn that this is a movie about ” an ambitious martial arts student who infiltrates a murderous gang in the hope of finding the man who killed his father”. Not a one word of this is true. Now lets set things straight and start from the beginning.

THE_DELINQUENT.avi_000056022Staring newcomer Wang Chung!

This movie was made in 1973 as a Show Bros’s answer to “new” genre of contemporary action films with less influenced by Peking Opera and more by gritty street fighting you could find on the streets (and especially roofs) of Hong Kong. The leader of the said genre was of course the late, great Bruce Lee. Public unanimously embraced his hits like The Big Boss, Fist of Fury and The Way of the Dragon and that made Show films( with their extensive wife-work and lavish costumes) look like a relic from the past.

Never the ones to back out from the challenge Show Brothers decided to branch out and make an urban, hard hitting movie of their own. The result can be observed right here and it’s one hell of an oddity, even by today’s standards! Movie punches you straight to the gut from the get go with rapid psychedelic colored images of martial arts training accompanied by some tribal, wild drums that send the whole room spinning. Before you recover from that you’re attacked by (even worse)images of people eating in a butcher shop/ restaurant in slums of Hong Kong.The level of disgust you feel can only be compared to the one agony you experience when watching Yugoslav Black Wave films (link). Our hero is of course doing some dishes at that awful place.Then he goes to deliver some food to the local Kung Fu gym full of young and skinny people putting in the work hours.Young John Shen takes a minute to devastate a punching bag (or two) but afterwords insists that he doesn’t have time for things like Kung Fu. Of course he again demonstrates his Kung Fu two seconds later when he takes the money for the food (yes, you need Kung Fu to get payed around here).

Next morning he again practices his Kung Fu and gets into a fight (verbal one- this time) with his father because of his smoking habits. Father practically chases him out of the apartment (placed in the even worse slums than the fist ones- if that’s possible) and then he’s stricken by a sense of horrible gut-wrenching guilt. That pattern repeats incredibly ofter during the film. Meanwhile … throws the cigarets to some neighbor kids, practically toddlers but already nicotine addicts! Man they really start early here. He goes to his job and there we find out his ruthless employer is in fact his step father- that might not be so bad but some Triad lowlifes decide to poke him because of it and he loses his mind. They settle it the old fashion way- fighting on the junk yard, full of stuff that can kill or cripple you. The only worse place would be the top of the tall building (but then I hear young Chinese people like to do that too).

THE_DELINQUENT.avi_000687286They start early in China, really early!

Badly beaten the gang return to their boss, fatty who operates a whore house and pretty much spends all his time there. He gets mad at a gang members because he planes to rob a Wing Kee’s whorehouse that’s guarded by Johns’s father (we learn- a really tuff dude). They should perhaps change the strategy. Now, in the meantime John loses his job (because it seems no one likes young people here in Hong Kong), and gets into another argument with his dad. Running away he meets up with his girlfriend but that also somehow escalates into a 30 on 1 all out brawl. I guess if I had John’s luck I wouldn’t survive a whole day.

After the horrible fight is over his girl is mad at him- even thou he risk his life to defend her honor. Things then get more introspective and we get some interesting flash back sequences that include John’s father beating on his mother while he explains that his father is in fact a good man- it’s just the hard life that made him that way. Now, that theme is quite fascinating- son loves and respects his father, and his father adores his son and cares about his deeply, yet every time they are in the room together they almost kill one another. If it wasn’t so ridiculous it would be touching.

StreetGangs1…I really do!

Then it the ultra romantic scene he’s girlfriend instead of supporting him urges him to get a new job and John pissed again- just walks away. After roaming aimlessly for a while he runs into a cripple, the dude that lead all the gang members against him. Of course cripple is now all fun and games because they need John’s help. Having nothing better to do, he excepts to see their boss Big Sean, in the whorehouse of course. Big Sean, knowing how teenage boys are gives John a whore to calm him down before they get to business. Seeing a naked woman body John completely losses his mind and jumps on the whore like he’s fighting for his life.

Morning after (John spend the whole nigh with the whore) he finally has that conversation with Big Sean. Shockingly he doesn’t accepts his offer and decides to walk away. At this moment you have to admit that John rules. He almost fucked the life out the dude’s whore for free and then just went home. To his credit he did promise that he’ll pay Sean back as soon as he can. That of course sequeyed into another all out brawl, this time with motorbikes! This thing is going crazier by the minute.

After a devastating and grueling fight with bikers he ends up almost killing the cripple (big Shawn’s retarded brother) with a 2×4 and gets meet hook in his shoulder for the effort. He gets out alive but this time just barely. Police picks him up and detain him and humbled he bags his father to come and pick him up. Father, having a perfect sense of how to further destroy their already shaky relationship refuses. Whit that he practically sealed his fate- you’ll see how very soon. Left desperate without the help of his father John became the victim of the supreme big boss of the Triads who different than his underlings has a more cunning approach. He gets John out, gives him nice clothes, a car and his main ho Funny. It seems that a main thing to do in Hong Kong, what everyone is striving for i getting piss drunk and chasing whores. In the end John brakes and promises to help them get the codes for the safe in the warehouse under the condition that he’s father will not be harmed. Now the scenes where he pretends that he wants to help his father just to get the codes is probably the only truly touching scenes in the movie. The only time they are actually proper father and son is in fact a set up for the inevitable tragedy.

THE_DELINQUENT.avi_003983079Some father and son time…

After a moment of doubt John gives codes to the Boss just to learn that his father will be the one guarding the place that night (even thou he initially traded the shift with some other dude). In desperate attempt to stop them he breaks into the mob’s safehouse (some kind of sawmill facility). Unfortunately faced with a full rooster of the gang he falls short and end up tied to the chuck  waiting for a saw to cut him in two. Yes it turns out that the big boss of Mafia is… EVIL.

THE_DELINQUENT.avi_004467196See how evil he is…

Triads surprise the old Mr.Shen but everything is not black- it seems that in Hong Kong regular weapons for the guards is a shotgun! Now, he’s a bit short on bullets but he uses the shotgun to whack people on the head so it’s still good. After taking a beating Triads fire back with a host of big sticks and beat the old man to the ground. But after a second or two he is back on his feet and using a high pressure hose to fuck the triads up. Man, this dude is unstoppable! They eventually get him down again just because of the sheer number but Mr. Shen fought like a lion right until the end.

John survives his horrible ordeal but wakes up to find out that his father is dead. Devastated by gilt and fueled by uncontrolled rage he escapes the hospital and goes to the whorehouse that he burns to the ground after beating the crap out of everyone. Than he goes straight to flat of the big boss Lam. The fight gets increasingly bloodier by the second and he even gets a broken leg and harpoon in the stomach. He still finds the strength to enact his revenge (by choking the boss with a harpoon line). Having nothing left to live for as soon as he hears the police sirens he throws himself from the building and the last thing he remembers is doing Kung Fu with his father and then everything goes black. And officially every major protagonist of the movie is dead, that reminds me of the movies my grandma likes to watch.

Verdict: Ok, the main problem with this movie is that the attempt to make a realistic action scenes kinda backfired and turned into a mixture of what producer thought was realistic (and that’s mostly stylized moves minus the wire-work with added gore,), horrible social realism, and ton of late 60es, early 70’s psychedelic rock music and images thrown on top. Now that kind of mix is a thing you experience probably once in the lifetime and I’m not sure if even the same people would recreate it if they had to. Still, beside the point that they absolutely did not hit their mark- they sure hit something- and the end result is still all kinds of awesome.

Trivia: We don’t usually do this but because this movie is so rare, we uploaded it specially for you. Just use this link:

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