Where A Good Man Goes (1999) Review

"Where A Good Man Goes" Chinese DVD Cover

"Where A Good Man Goes" Chinese DVD Cover

Director: Johnnie To Kei Fung
Writer: Wai Ka Fai, Yau Nai Hoi
Producer: Johnnie To Kei Fung, Wai Ka Fai
Cast: Lau Ching Wan, Ruby Wong Cheuk Ling, Wayne Lai Yiu Cheung, Lam Suet, Raymond Wong Ho Yin, Law Wing Cheong, Chang Siu Yin, Ai Wai, Cheng Ka Sang, Wong Wa Wo
Running Time: 98 min.

By Mighty Peking Man

Not one single Hong Kong studio has developed a series of solid, back-to-back films like Milkyway Image company has. Films like “Beyond Hypothermia,” “Too Many Ways to Be Number One,” “The Odd Ones Dies,” “Expect The unexpected,” “The Longest Nite” and one of my favorites of all time, “A Hero Never Dies.” All of these films were released between the years 1996 to 1999. The year 2000 gave us the remarkable “Fulltime Killer.”

Since then, Milkyway Image has taken a turn for more mainstream, comedy orientated films like “Love On A Diet” and “My Left Eye Sees Ghosts.” Why? Well, only Johnny To knows. I suppose these types of films not only bring in more money at the box office, but they’re probably easier to make.

“Where A Good Man Goes” centers on Michael (Lau Ching Wan), an ex-gang leader who has just been released from prison. On his first night of freedom, he instantly pisses a taxi driver off, which causes the driver to physically attack him. Out of self defense, Michael takes on the taxi driver and a small duel turns into a “one vs. many” rumble when the cabbie’s co-workers pull up and join in on the beating. Victoriously, Michael takes them all on and shows them who’s badass. After the fight, Michael notices a hotel which he decides to stay in for the night. The hotel is owned by a struggling widow named Siu (Ruby Wong) and her young son. Both had just witnessed Michael’s violent encounter with the taxi drivers, which causes an instant tension between them and Michael.

During Michael’s first night at the hotel, he immediately feels warm and at home. Despite Michael’s temper tantrums, Siu treats him as if he were a VIP, offering services she wouldn’t normally do, like: getting him cigarettes and making him meals even though the hotel’s restaurant is defunct. Even when an asshole cop (played by Lam Suet) tries to blame Michael for starting the “taxi” brawl, Siu stands up for him. It’s during this time that Michael grows for Siu and her son with a feeling he’s never felt before; a feeling of having a woman that truly cares, and a son who looks up to him as a father-figure.

The plot thickens as Siu’s hotel is in the state of being repossessed by the bank, due to her constant financial hardship. Now that the hotel is sort of a “home” for Michael, he takes action and decides to help Siu financially by hitting the streets and getting back what he once had: money, and lots of it.

As he hustles the streets, Michael realizes that he had lost his power, mostly while he was serving time in prison. His old gang mates are now helpless hoodlums, his ex-partners have fucked him over in shares, and his bitchy ex-girlfriend took all his money while he was in the cell. What makes matters even worse is the asshole cop responsible for putting him behind bars is watching his every move, so committing a crime isn’t exactly the best thing to do at the moment, or is it? Deep down inside, Michael must choose between reviving his life of crime and taking whatever penalties it may hold; or he must learn to accept that his successful gangster days are over. In between all this is Siu, her son, and a hotel that they’re about to lose.

“Where A Good Man Goes” is a gangster film that’s high on human drama and low on violence. It’s a heartfelt film about about changing your life and letting go of the past, no matter how much you loved it.

Mighty Peking Man’s Rating: 7/10

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