Young John (Wong Chung), estranged from his mother and at odds with his father, struggles with anger management and can barely hold a dishwashing job. When a criminal gang lead by plutocratic Boss Lan asks him to betray his father, John is sucked into a whirlpool of seduction, betrayal and revenge.
The violent potential of youthful alienation has a long history in Hong Kong cinema. The glorious excesses of Kuei Chih-hung's spectacularly weird and entertaining action film reveal a complicated engagement with underlying social issues. Shot in the period following the 1967 anti-colonial, Cultural Revolution-inspired riots, Kuei's portrait of 'angry youth' (the original Chinese title) melds action cinema with social realism: much of it is shot on location (extraordinary for a Shaws production) in HK's gritty public housing and grimy industrial backwaters. Kuei exaggerates everything — rhythmically pumping zooms, a self-mocking 1970s jazz-pop score — as his film teeters on the borders of parody, anger, and chaos.