at the Hong Kong Film Awards 2001:
Best Actor (Andy Lau)
Best Cinematography (Keung Kwok-Man)
Best Editing (Chung Wai Chiu)
After 13 years in prison, kickboxer Mong Fu (Andy Lau from Fulltime Killer) is released and decides to go to Thailand
to look for his, back then, girlfriend Pim (Intira Jaroenpura).
They had a short but intense relationship just prior to Mong
Fu's imprisonment but it sadly turns out that she has died
at the hands of Thai drug dealers. Unknown to him, she gave
birth to a babygirl named Ploy who is now 14 years old. With
the help of Sister Mioko (Tokako Tokiwa from Moonlight
Express), who runs the orphanage Ploy once stayed at,
Mong Fu locates his daughters whereabouts. At first the relationship
is tense but in time they both become closer to each other.
It is during this high in the relationship that we learn the
reason why Mong Fu was in jail and that you can't run away
from the past, just find closure to it.
Lee's (director of Black Mask) film aims really high
but doesn't have the resources to compete with the best movies
in the drama genre. The message of the film is well meant
but Daniel's direction and the script can't quite bring to
the screen what it wants. Much of the content has been done
better before and the cliché factor is high. A Fighter's
Blues doesn't fall below average but it doesn't go above
either. It's merely ok. The intentions were there but it halted
at an average movie.
script has weaknesses and left me with a few questions regarding
logic and character motivations. For example, I was never
truly convinced of Mong Fu's huge love for Pim. Their scenes
together doesn't really show the emotion and bond that apparently
was between them. It's done rather shallow and doesn't gel
with other sequences connected with this past memory. Andy
Lau's characters journey isn't clearly realized or made clear
either. I understood it's meaning but it was barely touched
upon and we as an audience has to sort of figure it out ourselves.
That was something the filmmakers should've made more clear
Andy Lau is the movies main strength though. It's not a terribly
emotional or original character but Andy shows charisma and
brings out the inner sadness in Mong Fu's often empty face.
Probably one of his better performance out of the ones I've
Tokako Tokiwa is probably one of the most beautiful faces
to grace to big screen recently but it's too bad she's not
much of an actress. For some reason she is always constantly
smiling, which isn't suiting for certain scenes in the movie
that needed to be more understated. She would've fitted the
character better if she and the director had choosen a more
subtle approach for her. Her acting during the later parts
of the film gets better though so overall she's ok.
Thai actress Apichaya Thanalthanapong who plays Andy Lau's
daughter is ok in her role. Her looks and acting makes a few
scenes with her father rather touching but other scenes involving
her are seriously corny and clichéridden. The other
assorted Thai cast does speak their mother language as well
as English, so that brings a nice realism to the movie as
The best aspect of A Fighter's Blues is it's Thailand
locations combined with the wonderful cinematography by Keung
Kwok-Man. It brings a very different feel compared to other
Hong Kong movies today and the look deserved to be backed
up by a slightly better movie.
If our main character is a kickboxer then you can be sure
that we're going to see scenes involving the sport. The climax
of the movie is done in true Rocky-style with emotions flying
in the air. Again, the message and meaning of the movie doesn't
quite reach out to us in these scenes. It may be a little
more apparent on subsequent viewings but I feel the filmmakers
should've gotten it right on the first viewing. The choreography
in the boxing scenes is not too bad but would've been better
if we had less shaky cam and less editing. It's evident that
Andy Lau trained for this role so why not more clearly show
the result of that?
wouldn't say I disliked A Fighter's Blues but I wish
it had been a few notches better. As it is now, it's only
watchable for fans of Andy Lau and for the beautiful cinematography.
The Mei Ah dvd gives us the movie's original 1.85:1
aspect ratio. We got some specks and lines on the print and
I thought it was too bright and soft in places. It has good
detail and sharpness in night scenes and the boxing scenes
The four sound options are: Cantonese in Dolby Digital 5.1
and 2.1 and the same for the mandarin dub. Overall it's a
good track that comes alive the most during the boxing matches
but stays mostly centered throughout the movie. Note that
the mandarin dub doesn't include any of the English or Thai
The English subtitles are what we expect from Mei Ah these
days. It's has both grammatical and spelling errors but seems
to stay true to the dialogue. Mei Ah should've included a
subtitle stream for only the English and Thai dialogue though.
That would make the viewing for the Cantonese audience more
giving. Traditional and simplified Chinese subtitles are also
Normally Mei Ah includes the theatrical trailer at least but
not this time. We only get the synopsis from the back cover
and a list of the cast & crew.
reviewed by Kenneth
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