Year of release: 1996
Genre: Triad drama
Director: Billy Tang
Action director: Dion Lam
Producer: Andrew Lau
Writers: Manfred Wong, Not A Woman
Cinematography: Tony Miu
Editors: Ma Go, Angie Lam
Music: Jonathon Wong
Stars: Chingmy Yau, Michael Tiu, Hsu Chi, Simon Yam, Elvis Tsui, Valerie Chow, Linda Cheung, Spencer Lam, Maria Cordero, Joe Cheng Cho, Liu Fan
Rated IIB for violence, language, nudity, and sexual situations
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If you're a fan of trashy Hong Kong cinema, you're probably already familiar with the work of "bloody" Billy Tang, the director responsible for Category III classics like Red to Kill and Brother of Darkness. While Street Angels is "only" rated IIB, there's more than enough sex and violence presented here to keep devotees of the seedier side of Hong Kong movies happy.
Street Angels takes a page out of the "young Triad" playbook created by Young and Dangerous, which is perhaps not surprising, since it shares the same screenwriter, Manfred Wong, and Young and Dangerous' director, Andrew Lau, served as a producer on this release. Bascially, this is a highly fictionalized (and in many ways glamorized) look at life on Portland Street, one of the hotbeds of prostitution in Hong Kong.
Chingmy Yau plays Yen, a Triad moll who has come home after spending several months in prison to cover for her boyfriend, Walkie (Simon Yam). Desperate for money to help out her family, Yen begins working as a "mamasan" for a club run by Playboy (Michael Tiu). Playboy and Yiu begin to not only take over the hostess club business in the district, but fall in love. But after Walkie returns from being on the run, matters become more complicated, and bloodshed ensues.
The movie also features former nude model Hsu Chi in one of her first acting roles -- and, yes guys, she does show her goodies here. Between Chingmy, Hsu, and Valerie Chow, Street Angels is definitely not lacking in the eye candy department. And with rough bits that include a high heel to the eye and spicy wasabi used as a torture device, fans of the odd bit of ultra-violence won't be wanting for anything in that department, either.
Well, at least to an extent. Street Angels felt like it really should have went for the gusto, and unleashed a full fistful of cinematic fury. To Billy Tang's credit, he works well within the limitations of the IIB rating, and in fact, it appears that the movie may have been censored without his input, as there are several "hard" edits in some of the more violent parts and bleeping of certain Cantonese curse words.
Overall, Street Angels is the type of movie you're going to love or hate. If you're not a fan of violent, pulpy, and over-the-top Triad pictures, there's not anything here that's going to change your mind about the genre. But if you're the sort of person that has been disappointed in the teenybopper-skewed output as of late that's been coming at you from around the world and has a hankering for a bit of the flying claret and gratuitous boobie shots, then tuck in, grab a beverage, throw this movie into your DVD player, and get ready to have a good time.