Heung Ming (Yuen Biao) is a small time cop hoping to make enough money to be able to emigrate. His wife, who he is in the middle of divorce proceedings with, is also a policewoman but with a considerably more successful career. While on the verge of cracking an important case she is assassinated in a packed restaurant by a mysterious female assassin. Despite not being part of the homicide division, Heung Ming takes the matter into his own hands and tracks down the killer. However, minutes after calling in to HQ, Heung Ming and the female assassin (Pat Ha) are set upon by some disguised assailants. It quickly becomes apparent that someone at the police headquarters is connected to Heung Ming’s wife’s death. With no-one to trust our protagonist is forced to form an uneasy alliance with his wife’s killer to survive.
‘On The Run’ is quite simply a brilliant viewing experience and the most under rated in Yuen Biao’s filmography. Director, Alfred Cheung, who is more known for his comedies has crafted a dark, gritty and exciting rollercoaster ride of a film with tension bursting out of nearly every scene. There are none of Yuen Biao’s trademark gymnastics on show here – instead Biao’s character is forced to resort to survival tactics as he is pursued relentlessly over the city. Pat Ha who plays the assassin is perhaps one of the most memorable female characters in a gunshed film. Ironically, despite technically being a baddie her character shows more humanity than almost any other in the film. I loved her shoot first ask questions later attitude. Special mention must also go to the baddies – Charlie Chan is quite despicable as a crooked Superintendant but it was also great to see Phillip Kao Fei, Lo Lieh and Yuen Wah as the three main hitmen.
The pacing and mood of the film is perfect throughout though my only gripe would be the final confrontation. A film of this quality deserved a slightly more satisfactory climax and there were a few instances in the last few reels which threatened to derail the film but it thankfully it manages to keep it together.
The Joy Sales VCD omits a short final scene before the credits which is also missing in most VCD & DVD versions. The new remastered French DVD has this scene restored so I’d like to think that we can expect a remastered uncut English friendly release soon.
Highly recommended film not just for Yuen Biao or gunshed fans – I believe this one should have enough in it to satisfy all fu fans and I’d even go as far to call it a minor classic.
For disscussion about gun play movies of all the eras.
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