To Where He Belong 旺角街 (2000) - Hong Kong
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
A little known Gangsters genre low budget affair filmed within the streets of Mong Kok, starring Simon Yam, Gigi Lai and Steven Ma. The 2000 was the year when Hong Kong cinema went to its bottomless pit and the production values followed. Director Alley Wong creates an atmospheric feel about Mong Kok and smartly creates a lot of space showing loneliness of its characters and their pointless existence in this messy and muddled world. Instead of glorifying gangsters in numerous 90s related genre flicks, we get a sad and often hopeless look on wanna-be gangsters struggling to exist in an often forgotten alleyways of Hong Kong.
Simon Yam does extremely well in a paper thin role that he manages to convey a much more layered performance. Gigi Lai fresh from “Young & Dangerous” series fame, plays a tough girl on the outside with a good effect. Steven Ma overacts terribly as the immature gangster wanting to be a big shot. Ben Ng is the classic villain with zero redemption. Despite the triangle love affair between Tam, Lai and Ma, the film is really about lonely souls without a purpose in life.
All in all, “To Where He Belong” tries extremely hard to be entertaining, but the filmmaking remains lacking, feels far too experimental and a suitable waste of Yam and Lai’s quality presence. In search of lonely souls and use of grimmest of Mong Kok for its backdrop makes the film slightly more watchable. There are better films out there even if it was year 2000.
I rated it 5/10