by: Francis Ng
Written by: Sandy Shaw
Producers: Herman Yau & Ng Ga Bo
Starring: Francis Ng, Christine Ng, Amanda Lee & Fredric Mao
Buy the DVD at:
at the Hong Kong Film Awards 1999:
9413 begins at an odd pace where basically nothing of the plot
is revealed or becomes clear until maybe 30 minutes into the
movie. Some scenes can feel a bit self-indulgent,
most notably the two erotic scenes (which earned the movie
its Cat III-rating) with Amanda Lee (from Full Alert). They do manage end on a nice little humorous note though and they felt quite suiting for the character of Smash Head and what he has become. Eventually the movie finds its flow and Ng's very worthwhile directing begins manifesting itself. While stylized at times, Ng's choices remain valid in the way it echoes the world of the character of Smash Head.
9413 would've been a much weaker film if it weren't for the
two main actors; Francis Ng & Christine Ng (no relation). Especially
Francis continues to amaze me and he further adds to the fact
he is one of the best character actors working in Hong Kong
today. It's a somewhat anti-heroic character he takes on but slowly Ng gets his positive reveals in a suitably subtle way. It's suitably also to have Francis in charge of Smash Head therefore.
Amanda Lee got the movie's only nomination but I didn't feel that her performance deserved such recognition. She's not really bad in her role and she basically functions as a temporary love interest for Smash Head. We don't get to know more about her character than that. She gets more involved during the later and more tense parts of the movie but again I didn't feel she made enough of an impression to deserve that nod. But if the audience would've been in charge these choices, then I guess Sam Lee would've had 10 Hong Kong Film Awards by now. Fredric Mao is menacing as the script dictates and is a sneaky, creepy bad guy. More so as the movie turns darker and darker.
9413 is an interesting study of a shattered soul trying to piece together himself together in an destructive world. Take two very good lead performances and solid debut direction by Francis Ng and 9413 adds up to an interesting crime-drama. It definitely sparks interest for future projects with Ng behind the camera.
reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson