Set Me Free!

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Set Me Free!
(aka Set Me Free)
1988; directed by Raymond Lee

Spurned on by the runaway success of A Better Tomorrow, there was a huge surge of "heroic bloodshed" films (gangster pictures with a heavy emphasis on violent shootouts) released in Hong Kong in the later 1980's. There, of course, were quite a few classic movies that came out of this movement, but most of them were fairly forgettable -- yet still at least a little enjoyable, like the cinematic equivalent of a cheap pizza -- and that's what we have with 1988's Set Me Free! Yes, the exclamation point is supposed to be there -- it indicates how exciting the movie is, or at least that's what the producers would like us to believe.

Set Me Free

Set Me Free

Set Me Free

The film takes a fairly standard path on the genre. Alex Man plays a Mainland soldier who has to flee to Hong Kong after getting revenge on the gansgter that killed his father. He tries to go straight, but is soon drawn in to "the life", which of course leads to a bloody showdown. Most fans will find themselves struggling to get through the fairly leaden early exposition (though it is fun to see a very young Lau Ching-Wan in one of his first starring roles) but will enjoy the cheaply made but still frentic and violent finale.

RATING: 5

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