Godfathers of Hong Kong is a 1991 action film starring Andy Lau, made when Hong Kong is in the peak of the Heroic Bloodshed craze; inevitably the movie shares various elements common with movies of this particular genre at the time, including themes of brotherhood, loyalty, and heroes on conflicting sides of the law being forced to work together to face a common enemy.
Andy Lau playes Koo Siu-yuk, the son of Boss Koo, leader of the Hung Hing triad syndicate. When Boss Koo is implicated over a crime he didn't commit, and is forced to flee, Yuk have to take over affairs in the mob despite his inexperience and reluctance to become a leader. Making matters worse is a triad war about to happen in the horizon when rival mob leader Fred attempts to seize power over territorial control of Hong Kong, and an over-determined police Inspector Inspector Leung Chun-pong (Roy Cheung) who wants to overthrow the Hung Hing triad.
This film contains examples of:
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Between Yuk and Leung in the apartment block shootout. As much as they hate it.
- Barehanded Blade Block: Yuk briefly blocks Freds katana in their final fight, just as Fred have Yuk pinned down. It is worth noting that Yuk is holding on the blunt side of the katana, and that Yuk still ends up having his palms bleeding from the sheer force of having the metal blade pressing on his hands.
- Blood-Splattered Warrior: Yuk in the final battle, after killing Fred.
- Conspicuously Public Assassination: The opening assassination where the rival mob leader is assassinated by a killer disguised as a waiter, takes place in the middle of a very crowded restaurant.
- Cool Shades: Yuk wears sunglasses in several scenes throughout the movie.
- Death from Above: Fred eventually dies in this way, when Yuk caused him to be pinned down by a set of iron pipes in a construction area, and uses his machete to cut the ropes suspending a large cement tube in mid-air causing it to fall on Fred. SQUISH.
- The "Fun" in "Funeral": Boss Koos funeral is abruptly crashed by Big Bad Fred leading a legion of machete-wielding mooks to massacre the mourners, but as it turns out Yuk himself is leading his own legion of machete-wielding redshirts. Cue epic fight scene in the funeral area.
- Gory Discretion Shot: Freds death from having a cement tube falling on him from a height of a hundred meters. The audience hears the BOOM from the subsequent impact, but didnt see the aftermath.
- Guns Akimbo: Oddly enough, for once its not the protagonists who does this, but the nameless triad leader in the apartment building shootout.
- Katanas Are Just Better: Fred certainly thinks so. In the final three-way bloodbath, while most of the fighters, including Yuk, uses machetes, Fred on the other hand uses a katana.
- Machete Mayhem: The riot scene near the end of the movie, where mobsters on both sides armed with machetes slices each other apart. Yuk personally leads his mob with his own machete.
- Meaningful Funeral: For Boss Koo, Yuks father.
- Mêlée à Trois: The final action setpiece is an absolutely massive three-way battle, which is kicked off when Fred leads a small army of henchmen to kill everyone present in Boss Koos funeral, only for Yuk to reveal he have his own backup mobster army as well, just as Inspector Leung himself leads a band of Hong Kong riot police armed with batons and gas grenades to arrest everyone. As the faceless crowd proceeds to slash and whack each other apart, the three leaders Yuk, Leung and Fred, breaks away from the scene to confront each other one-on-one-on-one in a construction site.
- Mexican Standoff: In the middle of a shootout, Yuk is killing rival mobsters left and right, and stumbles into Inspector Leung, who is investigating the chaos. They ends up drawing pistols on each other and staring eye-to-eye for at least 5 seconds, but when they hear more enemy mooks coming Yuk and Leung decides to put their differences aside and shoot their way out.
- Pet the Dog: Inspector Leung may be an Inspector Javert who wants to tear down the Hung Hing triad, but he does show some degree of restraint not to intervene when triad leader Koo is shot during a shootout and Yuk, his son, is holding onto him telling him to wake up.
- Reluctant Ruler: Yuk, who is unsure of his worthiness of taking over the triads after his fathers immediate departure from the mob. The fact that hes an unexperienced freshman in the ways of the triads and his succession of his fathers place occurs in the middle of a mob war brewing out of control may have something to do with it.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Yuk gets to kick ass using a shotgun in the shootout scene; in fact his Dynamic Entry involves blasting open the door of his targets hideout, killing an unfortunate mook in the process, and then charging in blasting shells at every mook he sees.
- Smoking Is Cool: Protagonist Yuk (played by A-lister Andy Lau, then in the peak of his fame) smokes several times in the movie, notably after the apartment shootout scene.
- Strolling Through the Chaos: A riot is breaking out in the streets, a car is blown up by an explosion right in front of a shopping malls window and in the mall, triad leader Fred is trying out some nice suits in a clothing store, completely ignoring the chaos outside.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Yuk and Leung dont see eye-to-eye with each other, being on different sides of the law, but when theyre the only survivors caught in the middle of a shootout with enemy thugs around them, they teamed up to shoot their way out.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The most brutal onscreen death in the whole movie belongs to the rival triad leader in the apartment shootout scene; getting shot repeatedly in the chest and stomach by Yuk and Leung, having a gas canister pinning him down (in a kitchen storeroom full of gas canisters), then having Yuk and Leung shoot the gas canister for good measure. In typical action movie style, the canister explodes, vaporizing whats left of him in a fiery explosion effectively leaving him Not Enough to Bury.
- The Triads and the Tongs: And Yuk as the unwilling successor of his father in the triads.
- Villainous Rescue: Calling Officer Leung a villain may be a bit too much though, since hes more of an Inspector Javert, but in the apartment shootout he actually saves Yuk twice, first by shooting a thug about to shoot Yuk, then wounding the rival triad leader before he can stab Yuk through the throat.
- We ARE Struggling Together: Yuk and Leung against rival mobsters who wants both of them dead, during the apartment shootout.