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等待黎明 (1984)
Hong Kong 1941

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 07/12/2006
Summary: Entertaining

There is not much i can say about this movie apart from it being entertaining. One and a half hours flew by as you become engaged into the lives of three characters, Alex Man who is a robin hood of sorts, Cecila Yip is Alex's man only friend and boyfriend, While Chow yun fat is Alex man's friend but also has a eye on his girlfriend, as does she to him.

When the japanese invade, there lives change as they try to make plans to leave the island.

The ending was expected, a little over the top but thats ok.

There is not many bad things you can say about this movie, as it feels like its about REAL people and a REAL situation, but i didnt find this movie great. I am not sure what was lacking as only there seem to be minor negatives about this movie, but i did enjoy it all the same.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 09/11/2005
Summary: The Hong Kong

December, 1941 means one thing in the United States—the destruction of much of the Pacific Fleet by the Japanese Navy at Pearl Harbor and the entry of the U.S. into the war that had already engulfed Europe and Asia. It was another matter entirely in Hong Kong and Singapore, British colonies much too far from England to be defended. It was the beginning of a cruel occupation by an implacable enemy and forcible integration into the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, which meant, among other things, being a forced labor pool.

As in any occupation there were resistors, collaborators and the vast mass of people between them who just tried to get along with their lives. Movies about such unfortunate events generally show more heroes than scoundrels among those occupied and “Hong Kong, 1941” is no exception. Chow Yun Fat, Alex Man and Cecilia Yip are steadfast in their opposition to the Japanese although each for his own reasons. Even Mr. Shin, who starts out as an evil capitalist who tries to hoard rice to drive the price up and wants to cheat coolies of their pay, winds up with a scrap of nobility when he refuses to allow the evil Japanese officer to marry his daughter.

The complete immorality and lack of humanity of the collaborators in underlined by the actions of Sgt. Chun, who becomes no more than an animal driven by hatred and lust and by the former actor in the wheelchair who tortures and kills Chinese patriots for sport—and for the entertainment of Japanese troops.

Excellent performances by the three leads. Chow Yun Fat is terrific as the fixer who ostensibly becomes part of the Japanese war machine so that he can spy for the resistance and help his friends. Cecilia Yip is a striking looking woman and was very well directed by Leung Po Chi. She was usually in the background of scenes or, in the scenes that centered around her, had broad, intense emotions to portray, much easier than the subtleties that are the stock in trade of an experienced actress. This was only her third film. Alex Man was all rough edges, a tough guy who was adrift in the new reality of the occupation.

Cecilia Yip’s character, Ha Nam, gave the movie its structure. She was a framing device, looking back at the events depicted and occasionally narrating them. Like many war movies most notably “Casablanca” and “From Here to Eternity”, “Hong Kong 1941” tells a layered story of individuals against a backdrop of world shaking events. It shows the three friends who are stuck in the city, the victorious Japanese, running not only Hong Kong but most of East Asia and the Pacific, and the destruction of the very fabric of society among the Chinese inhabitants. That they were able to hold together and mount a resistance (as least as shown here) is represented as the triumph of the noble Chinese refusing to give in to their conquerors.


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: Waiguoren99
Date: 07/10/2002
Summary: More than equal to America's best cinema

In 1941 Hong Kong, childhood sweethearts (Cecilia Yip, Alex Man) meet and form a deep friendship with another young man (Chow Yun-Fat). Although he falls in love with the girl as well, he wishes to be true to the friendship. When the Japanese take over Hong Kong, all three become involved in the wider struggle.

A wonderful script, an exciting and touching story set against invasion and the Resistance, and incredibly sensitive acting (especially by Chow Yun-Fat, known principally in this country for his action films, more's the pity) make this more than equal to some of America's best cinema. Best in Chinese with English subtitles, but even the dubbed version will show you what those who only see American films are missing!

Reviewer Score: 10

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 11/29/2001
Summary: Excellent drama with great performances

HONG KONG 1941 (1984) - Chow Yun Fat, Cecilia Yip and Alex Man play 3 friends in Hong Kong who have dreams of leaving to find the 'gold mountain' somewhere in the world, but whose plans are disrupted by the Japanese invasion of HK. The movie is basically about their friendship, and how their lives are changed by the invasion. It's quite a bleak film, showing some of the horrors that happened in HK under Japanese occupation (which is probably much the same as in any country under any occupation), but with a good 'spirit' as embodied by our 3 heros. Hard to know what genre to put it in really... not a romance, not an action movie, not a thriller. Just 'drama' I guess, a good story. Excellent performances from Chow & Cecilia, and Alex Man does his best though he seems unable to produce any facial expression except 'psychotic grin' very well. Great story, well directed, quite moving and thought provoking. Recommended. DVD is not so great... the picture seems quite unsteady in the frame... but it's not too bad.

Reviewed by: Hongkie
Date: 05/18/2001
Summary: HK Drama at its Best

Although many people do not take HK movies seriously unless they have martial arts, farcical comedy, or gunplay, this movie should prove otherwise.

All three leads involved, Chow Yun-Fat, Alex Man, and particularly Cecilia Yip, give some of the best performances of their careers. The on-screen chemistry is good, the acting is fantastic. The only thing that could have made this movie perfect is if the production value was higher, and the quality of the film was better. Still, a great war-time drama about the horrors of war, selling your soul to save others, and the bad things that happen to simple, good people.

Reviewed by: Yellow Hammer
Date: 05/10/2001

Set against the backdrop of a chaotic life and war preparation in Hong Kong. The year is 1941, and Hong Kong is in a state of turmoil. The Japanese are ready to invade at any time, too much for the British to handle. British women and children are fleeing to Australia and beyond. Lawlessness and anarchy are about to hit Hong Kong.

Ha Nam (Cecilia Yip) and Wong Hak Keung (Alex Man) are friends since childhood. Nam has a terminal illness. She comes from a rich family, her father Ha Chung Sang (Enter the Dragon bad guy Shih Kien) controls the entire rice distribution in Hong Kong. Keung is an outcast from his family and is a coolie out to make a buck wherever. Yip Kim Fay (Chow Yun Fat) belonged to an opera troupe and failed in an attempt to become a stowaway on one of the ship sailings to Australia. While working together at one of Chung Sang's rice distribution centers, Keung and Fay become friends. The three would then share a bond that would stay together through thick and thin, sticking together when denied the opportunity to escape to freer destinations, and staying strong through the Japanese takeover. More than a friendship, both fall in love with Nam, though Fay is much more quiet and mature throughout his friendship with Nam.

This is a very powerful and beautiful romantic drama in the tragic sense. Tremendous chemistry amongst the three. The cover says that this movie is similar in tradition to The English Patient. Not sure where the similarities are except for the time period.

Chow Yun Fat became a superstar with the movie A Better Tomorrow in 1986. But before that he was a solid but unknown actor who was best known for his TV series The Bund and this movie, Hong Kong 1941. He was nominated for HKFA Best Actor and won the Taiwan Golden Horse for Best Actor for 1984 for his portrayal in this movie. In addition, this movie was nominated for 8 Hong Kong Film Awards (HKFA) in 1984. It won for Best Cinematography.

Reviewed by: ElectraWoman
Date: 10/29/2000
Summary: 9/10-A classic!

I loved this film. It's got a great storyline, and engaging leads.

Chow Yun-Fat is an idealistic Northerner (and God is he sexy) who wants to go to America. He lives with his uncle, who hates him, and gets work in a factory, where he strikes up a friendship with Alex Man, and his girlfriend Cecilia Yip. Their world is turned upside down when the Japanese invade Hong Kong.

Chow Yun-Fat is perfectly cast, with the chemistry between him and Cecilia Yip very obvious, and Alex Man, for once, doesn't cry but acts :) The story is touching without being sentimental, and the ending is very tragic. There's some gruesome parts in this-Wu Ma as the diabolical, crippled turncoat places dynamite in an unfortunate prisoner's ears then sets it off, and while the man is screaming and running about, Wu Ma uses him as target practice. But these moments are rare. Overall, this is a beautiful film, and a definite must-see.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

War-time drama. Chow plays a Northerner who comes to Hong Kong,becomes friends with coolie Alex Mann and falls in love with his girlfriend Cecilia Yip. Chow finally sacrifices himself. Best Actor Awards for Chow, Golden Horse Awards (Taiwan), 1984, Asian Pacific Festival, 1985.

[Reviewed by Anonymous]