Film Review Hand Rolled Cigarette 手捲煙 (2020) - Hong Kong
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
In a twist of events, debutant director Chan Kin Long managed to create a masterpiece of an extended finale filled with action packed and stunt choreography that is both impressive and technically complimented in the crime action film - “Hand Rolled Cigarette”. There are many themes that Chan touches upon, but the most evident one remains brotherhood, bloodshed and a recall of beautiful cocktail mixture between the likes of Hong Kong’s Fruit Chan and Japanese Takashi Miike. Despite a genuine overload of material enough for several films, the film outstanding acting from Gordon Lam Ka Tung to newcomer Bipin Karma to the criminally great overcoming by the duets of Ben Yuen and Michael Ning.
Gordon Lam headlines the film and carries it with the kind of burden that is both heart felt and lingers with the effect similar to a slow burn hand rolled cigarette. Lam is no saviour in this film and his darkened past and experience shaping his quest for financial freedom and self redemption. In many ways, the true nature of his brotherhood with Bipin Karma remains financial and a bit of pitiful of his situation. Karma does extremely for his debut film work as he shows the vulnerability of a radically divided Gangland and the classic Chung King Mansion as the cliche backdrop. Ben Yuen manages to steal every scene alongside the brutally depicted Michael Ning as ruthless money minded gangsters. Tai Bo makes a welcomed cameo as the Taiwanese gang leader.
All in all, “Hand Rolled Cigarette” is very much a local Hong Kong film filled with style over substance material, but it works on most levels. The characters are well built, the script is suitably tight by Ryan Ling and the direction is ambitious and emotionally intense throughout. The best parts remains the entertaining extended finale where the action overshadowed everything else and it is nothing short of amazing as we witness what Hong Kong action cinema once offers so much.
I rated it 7.5/10