Shanghai, Shanghai ** (out of 5) (1990)

Cast: Yuen Biao, Anita Mui, Sammo Hung, George Lam

Directed by Teddy Robin Kwan

Too much soap opera, not enough action. Billed as a Hong Kong action flick in the tradition of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, it's almost anything but, and if it weren't set in the 30s, there would be nothing to compare the two films at all.

The plot involves a military officer nicknamed "Big Tiger" who once was involved with a woman returning from the United States, Kai Pik. He now is seeing Ting Ting, one of the cities premiere women, and the love triangle causes difficulties for the three. Meanwhile, his youger brother ("Little Tiger") gets caught up in the world of the criminal Triads and soon finds himself climbing the ranks within the organization he is trying to take down. There's apparently a great sum of money that gets "lost" during an arson at a local club and everyone is fighting for it in the criminal underbelly of the town.

SHANGHAI SHANGHAI may be only 87 minutes long, but it feels like a three-hour film due to too much talky and uninteresting love triangle situations. There are about three decent fight sequences within the film, including an interesting fight between Biao and Mui while dancing a tango, that make for the only points of interest in an otherwise stale film. Sammo Hung plays the heavy, but with little of his comedic talents utilized with any success. Maybe only of interest to completist fans of the stars, and likely a waste of time for anyone else.

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