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Film / Gangland Odyssey

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I can't wait to see my favourite actor Andy Lau kick some serious ass... wait a minute, what do you mean he's only in this movie for half an hour?

Gangland Odyssey is a 1990 Hong Kong gangster movie following the mold of Heroic Bloodshed films popular at the time, directed by and starring Michael Chan, as well as starring heroic bloodshed regulars Andy Lau, Alan Tang and Alex Man.

Michael Chan plays Uncle Pu, a former Hong Kong mobster who escaped to Tokyo after killing a rival mob boss, where he served the Yakuza for 15 years before returning home. Now with a new Japanese name, Hoshida, and reuniting with his former triad, he ends up crossing path with former policeman and sharpshooter Inspector Fan Chi-hung (Alex Man) to investigate a kidnapping, which might involve the Yakuza's activity in Hong Kong.

Unusually for its time, Andy Lau only plays a supporting role in the film as Kit, the adopted son of Inspector Fan's superior, and a small-time gangster wannabe who serves the comic relief role of the movie.


This film contains examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: During the bar battle, Kit struggles with a shotgun-wielding thug and sends him crashing into a counter. Unfortunately, the thug fires a stray shot as he fell – which hits and kills Kit’s girlfriend Cindy.
  • Advertised Extra: Most of the movie’s posters and re-issued DVD covers will prominently feature Andy Lau in its front cover, due to his popularity as a singer at the time of release. He’s actually the Tritagonist who dies twenty minutes before the credits.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Cheung spends the last few seconds of his life pleading for his life. Hoshida kills him anyway after telling him leaving him alive would be a complete waste.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Hoshida/Pu returns to Hong Kong and quickly establishes himself as the new head of his former triad syndicate, and when it comes to fight scenes he beats up mooks by the dozens, besides being really good at taking names in shootouts.
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  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Fan and Hoshida in the final shootout against Nakacho’s thugs.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: One rather disgusting scene takes place in a dog-fighting ring, where two starving pitbulls are released to maul each other in front of an excited audience. Yes, that was a real dog-fight where actual animals are brutally bitten onscreen, with rather graphic results. Unfortunately, PETA doesn’t have a say in movies made in Hong Kong.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: In the conclusion of their sword fight, Hoshida managed to mortally wound Nakacho. Rather than begging for his life, Nakacho instead decides to commit Seppuku by declaring he will "never die in the hands of an enemy".
  • Big Bad: Nakacho, the Yakuza leader.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In the climax, when a Yakuza managed to get the drop on Fan and prepares to shoot Fan from point-blank range, Hoshida suddenly arrives and puts three bullets into the Yakuza’s chest.
  • Blood Is the New Black: Kit in his final scene.
  • Boom, Headshot!: The first Yakuza killed in the climax gets a bullet in his forehead. Complete with a really meaty, juicy red squib going off splattering his bloody brains all over Nakacho’s face.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Nakacho and a triad partner uses one for sealing their deal, before it was quickly interrupted by Fan and various redshirts. Naturally, Nakacho decides his partner isn’t important to him at this point and shoots him while he’s carrying the briefcase, causing its contents to spill all over the place where he falls dead surrounded by money.
  • Bulletproof Vest: Fan wears one in the final shootout, which saves him from being hit by stray shots. Subverted that unlike most examples, the vest appears to be made of cheap material, since he ends up being hurt after around four bullets.
  • Coat Over the Shoulder: Hoshida is depicted in this pose before the Action Prologue while marching his way to the restaurant to kill Uncle Eleven. When he arrives though, The Coats Are Off when Hoshida begins his killing spree.
  • Contemplative Boss: Hoshida is shown in this pose after a meeting with various triad subordinates, looking out the penthouse of his high-rise office building overlooking the entirety of Hong Kong’s waterfront.
  • Cool Shades: Kit and Fan are shown wearing sunglasses in the shootout in the fish farm.
  • Covers Always Lie: Besides hyping up Andy Lau's prescence in the movie, the above poster also shows Alex Man wielding an Uzi, something he never did throughout the whole movie.
  • Cultured Badass: Hoshida, a triad-turned Yakuza mobster, assassin, but also a strict follower to the code of Bushido.
  • Darkened Building Shootout: The final shootout takes place in a shopping mall under construction, where Fan and the triads takes on Nakacho’s men. The action quickly moves towards a dimly-lit basement.
  • Dead Star Walking: Andy Lau is a prominent mega-star and famous singer even back when this movie was made, having starred in more than 20 movies and having won multiple acting awards. So it comes off as a surprise that he gets killed halfway in a rather random action scene, and the film continues for a while after his demise.
  • Diner Brawl: The Action Prologue, where Hoshida marches into Uncle Eleven’s hideout located on the second floor of a restaurant and kills everyone in it.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Nakacho, who follows the Yakuza code of honor with Villainous Valour, and willingly kills himself when being defeated.
  • Flipping the Bird: Kit shows this to Mr. Brown, his adoptive father, after their argument ends with Kit leaving in a huff.
    Kit: "White people will never learn the concept of the Chinese... which is, HONOUR ! So there!" (sticks out his middle finger)
  • Groin Attack: Hoshida kicks a henchman trying to kill him in his bedroom in the nethers, causing said henchman to collapse against a wall.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: In the bar shootout, Kit manage to beat down a henchman using a bottle, smashing its bottom in the process and shoving its sharp edge through the henchman’s torso. And he continues Pummeling the Corpse in a rage, for good reason too…
  • Guns Akimbo: Fan in the climax, shooting Yakuza with two pistols at the same time. He even packed extra pistols in his belt so that he can simply dispose emptied guns without reloading during the big shootout.
  • Heroic Second Wind: Hoshida arriving in the climax to reinforce Fan during a massive shootout against the Yakuza.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Why else would the movie have its final action scene being Hoshida and Nakacho slicing each other apart with katanas?
  • Knife Nut: Hoshida gets to slice and dice several people using a thin, curved mini-machete, notably in his Action Prologue and the finale.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Inverted with Kit, the resident goofball and wacky sidekick. The last arc of the movie takes a darker turn after he dies.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: In the finale, Hoshida had killed off all the remaining Yakuza before confronting Nakacho in a Mexican Standoff. With both men pointing guns at each other, here’s how the following scene plays out:
    Nakacho: "We may be in Hong Kong, but you're still the Yakuza! You still remember how we settle things the way of bushido?"
    Hoshida: "Yes, I do. In fact I've brought a second katana just for you." (reveals that he's in fact carrying two katanas, giving one to Nakacho so that they may fight each other fair and square)
  • Meaningful Rename: Pu, after leaving Hong Kong for 15 years and living with the Yakuza, have changed his name completely to "Hoshida" as a sign of honoring the Bushido Code.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Hoshida finish off one of the two henchmen sent to kill him in his bedroom by shoving the henchman against a wall, then repeatedly punching him in the chest, stomach, and face, delivering a Coup de Grâce by elbowing him sharply in the neck. The henchman collapses while puking a mouthful of blood, being the movie’s way of telling audiences that he’s a goner.
  • Not Quite Dead: Fan, in the finale. He appears to succumb to multiple gunshot wounds after being shot by the Yakuza and was last seen collapsing in the pool of his own blood, but after Hoshida had killed everyone Fan then shows up, trying to help Hoshida only to realize Hoshida had killed every remaining bad guys.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Kit, a happy-go-lucky Nice Guy who’s eager to crack jokes and goof about even in the presence of his senior gangsters.
  • Pool Scene: Mr. Brown is shown in his own private bathtub with a lady from his Paid Harem by his side, in the scene where Fan shoots him to death, but sparing the girl.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: The audience knows the movie has gotten serious when Kit, the funny comic relief character dies.
  • Staircase Tumble:
    • In the opening scene, Hoshida sends a mook over a railing with a sharp kick, causing said mook to land on top of a flight of stairs before rolling down all the way.
    • Happens to plenty of mooks in the final shootout, if they happened to be killed while atop escalators.
    • Cheung, in his final moments, gets sliced through the neck by Hoshida before falling backwards, rolling down an escalator to his death.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: Hoshida returns to Hong Kong after joining the Yakuza in Tokyo for the first time in 15 years, and by the time he got back his once-familiar home seems entirely alien to him.
  • Sword and Gun: In the climax, Hoshida gets to kick ass using a pistol in one hand and his trusty katana in another.
  • Sword Fight: The final one-on-one confrontation between Hoshida and Nakacho.
  • Tattooed Crook: Hoshida have a Walking Shirtless Scene in his bedroom, which displays his Yakuza tattoos all over his chest, back and shoulders.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Kit, in the middle of a farewell speech for Hoshida, suddenly breaks out in a song number. Could be a Meta Actor Allusion, since Andy Lau at the time of the movie’s release is well-known as a singer.
  • Time Skip: The opening scene set in 1974 depicting Hoshida (then known as Pu) killing a rival mob boss before leaving Hong Kong for Tokyo. After the opening titles, the movie fast-forwards 15 years to the present where Pu (now renamed Hoshida because of his integration into the Yakuza) returns to Hong Kong to settle an old score.
  • Together in Death: Kit and Cindy, they both died in a bar brawl halfway through the film.
  • Yakuza: Pu leaves Hong Kong early in the movie to join them in Tokyo, even getting himself a new Japanese name, Hoshida in the process. The Yakuza eventually becomes the major antagonist of the movie when Nakacho and a legion of Yakuza follows Hoshida back to Hong Kong.
  • You're Not My Father: Kit is the adopted son of Mr. Brown, the Superintendent of the Hong Kong police, but upon learning Brown’s involvement with the Yakuza he promptly disowns his father.


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