Six PLA veterans rob a Hong Kong jewelry store in this still-shocking masterpiece of Hong Kong New Wave. Johnny Mak's only film as director was released in 1984, the year of the Sino-British Joint Declaration ensuring the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
Mak allegorises, then complicates his scenario. A group of mainland criminals wreaks spectacular violence in a series of set pieces: a thrilling car chase, a murder at a skating rink, and a climactic ultra-violent confrontation as the heavily armed robbers are besieged in the infamous Kowloon Walled City. The film today gains added complexity, as Mak's astonishing humanisation of these ferocious criminals plays against the indiscriminate violence of the film's Hong Kong Police.
As Hong Kong critic and programmer Li Cheuk-to writes, the film depicts “Hong Kongers' fatalism facing a no-win situation” when “pent up sensations of frustration, defeat, and insecurity ultimately result in no-holds-barred violence and fatalistic destruction”.