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Film / The Delinquent

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This shot was not in the movie, fyi. note 
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The Delinquent, also known as Street Gangs of Hong Kong is a 1973 Shaw Brothers action-drama film directed by Chang Cheh and Kuei Chi-Hung (the latter having a larger role in directorial duties) and starring Wang Chung, Lily Li, Dean Shek and Fan Mei-Sheng.

Wang Chung, in one of the few times in his career where he gets a leading role, plays John Shum, a hooligan, school dropout and juvenile delinquent living with his father, working a variety of odd jobs (all which he hates) and juggling a relationship with his girlfriend Elaine. But after fighting off a large number of gangsters who tried stalking Elaine, John ends up catching the attention of local crime boss, Lam, who convinces John to join his gang.

It predictably goes downhill from there.


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The Delinquent Contain Examples of:

  • Affably Evil: Boss Lam, after recognizing John as a ruthless, dangerous fighter and a valuable asset to his band of thugs, is friendly and affable towards John, offering John a smart new suit, an entire stack of cash as fee for being a hired thug, and even allows John to cruise around in his swanky sports car.
  • Anyone Can Die: It's a really dark and gritty film made by the Shaws, with a director known for embracing this trope. The Hero Dies, along with most of everyone else with a name.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: After Boss Lam managed to convince John to join his gang, one of John's next scenes have him wearing a slick black suit, purchased by the Boss himself since John is now part of his gang.
  • Cassandra Truth: Late into the film, John managed to convince his father Mr. Sum to spend a day with him in the theaters... the same day Boss Lam and his minions are intending to raid the warehouse where Mr. Sum works as a guard. Only for Mr. Sum to cancel his holiday in the last minute because the replacement guard turns out to be on sick leave. John's attempts to convince his father to stay home and NOT show up at the warehouse (without revealing to his father he's an informant for Boss Lam's gangsters) doesn't work, and it ends horribly.
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  • Conveyor Belt o' Doom: As John valiantly tries to stop the gangsters from going into the warehouse — which John's father, Mr. Sum, works in, that would inevitably lead to the latter being in danger — the Co-Dragons, Big Sean and Little Cripple, responds up bolting John's hands to a log on a conveyer belt leading to a sawblade, with Little Cripple activating the belt sending John to a certain death by sawing to half.
  • Cool Old Guy: John's father, Mr. Sum, a retired kung-fu school instructor who works as a night watchman. He turns out to be a really capable fighter, holding off tons and tons of mooks on his own until he gets taken down by the four Elite Mooks.
  • Covers Always Lie: The above poster sure makes the movie look like some high-octane, martial arts film, doesn't it? Well it's not, it's a gritty drama about a teen delinquent being forced into becoming a criminal.
  • Deadly Disc: Fat Sean, one of the two Co-Dragons, ends up having his throat sliced up when John grabs a razor-sharp disc and flings it into Fat Sean's jugular. With a graphic close-up on the bloody aftermath.
  • Drives Like Crazy: John, after getting behind the wheels of Boss Lam's new car and ends up nearly crashing it. Justified that he had never driven before and "it looks so easy when Elain drives it".
  • Drowning Pit: Mr. Sum's fate; after getting beaten to near unconsciousness by Boss Lam's mooks, two of the mook leaders then throws Mr. Sum into the warehouse's water tank and hold his head under the water. A later scene reveals that the police found Mr. Sum's body in the tank while investigating the warehouse raid.
  • Elite Mook: Boss Lam have a team of four bodyguards which serves as his direct enforcers, and puts up a far better fight than his lower-ranked mooks. These four are also the last fighters John have to defeat in order to get to Boss Lam in the finale.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: John dishes out one of these to Little Cripple, brutally beating Little Cripple to death after killing his fellow thugs, in retaliation because Little Cripple tried to have John killed via cuffing him on a log on a Conveyor Belt o' Doom. The second half of the Co-Dragons duo died a lot quicker.
  • Everybody Smokes: Yep, everyone. Boss Lam, his cronies (notably Big Sean and Little Cripple), and even the protagonist, John, are shown smoking throughout the film. Well except John's father, Mr. Sum, who reprimands his son for smoking in his presence.
  • Failure-to-Save Murder: Implied that John thinks he's responsible for murdering his father, because he couldn't convince his father to stay home during the time when the warehouse raid is taking place, resulting in the father getting killed while fending off the gangsters. Which John himself knew beforehand, having been bribed by Boss Lam to be an informant.
  • Fat and Skinny: The two Co-Dragons, Fat Sean and Little Skinny. Guess which is which.
  • Fat Bastard: Fat Sean, the biggest henchman in Boss Lam's gang, is also the meanest and closest to being a full-blown Jerkass. His first scene have him forcing three prostitutes to pleasure him, he takes delight in ordering his mooks to beat up a helpless John, gleefully taunts John while he's surrounded by mooks, and he willingly taunts a tied-up John while attempting to have him killed off.
  • Fire Hose Cannon: During the warehouse raid when Boss Lam's minions attacks the warehouse where Shum works as a night watchmen, Shum briefly uses a water hose turned at full blast to defend himself from a bunch of thugs. It works for a short while, but a thug who entered from the back door hacked the pipe and stopped the water altogether.
  • Forklift Fu: In the warehouse raid, Mr. Sum briefly commandeers a forklift in an attempt to force the gangsters out of the building. It doesn't work.
  • Get Out!: A recovering John, having escaped from being barely sawn into half and rescued by the police, only to find out upon waking up in hospital that Boss Lam had carried out the warehouse raid just as planned, killing John's father and only living relative, Mr. Sum in the process ends up losing it and saying this to everyone around him.
    John: (Suddenly SHOUTING! at Elaine, the cops, and the Doctor) "Get Out! All of you, GET OUT AND LEAVE ME ALONE! GET OUT!!!"
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: The movie indulges in having lots and lots of unnecessary, out-of-place close-ups; right in the opening scene in an outdoor hawker stall where John works as a waiter, the camera zooms in close to the motuh of people chewing noodles (you can see what's in their mouths, for starters) and then zooming closely on kitchen waste and filthy water as John does the dishes.
  • Harpoon Gun: In the penthouse battle, after John had beaten all four of Boss Lam's Elite Mooks to death, Boss Lam then grabs a harpoon gun and attacks John with it.
  • Heroic BSoD: John suffers from a realistic one after waking up in hospital, and finding out his father, Mr. Sum, had died, being killed by Boss Lam's gangsters.
  • Karma Houdini: Fanny, the henchwoman and mistress of Boss Lam; despite being responsible for John's betrayal leading to John's father getting killed she never receives any punishment onscreen. Although since she's just a henchwoman working under Boss Lam it hardly matters.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: John, after Boss Lam shot him through the guts with a harpoon. But somehow he still have enough strength to kill Boss Lam before he succumbs.
  • Ironic Nickname: Half-and-half, the second of Boss Lam's Co-Dragons, Little Cripple, is NOT a cripple at all, but one of his better fighters and lead enforcers. That being said, he's still a skinny and short fellow.
  • Made of Iron: John suffers all kinds of punishment that would either kill or cripple a man, from being beaten up by two-by-fours, hit by chains, nearly drowned, and impaled by a harpoon but keeps going on after all that.
  • New Job as the Plot Demands: John spends much of the film cycling through different jobs, due to his lack of education and stubbornness making him unable to find a decent career to make a living. After losing his job one time too many, he ends up working as an informant for Boss Lam, selling out the location and contents of the warehouse where Lam intends to have his underlings perform a raid.
    • John himself actually said it aloud after Mr. Sum reprimands him for losing his job - again.
    "Jobs are everywhere. What's the matter?"
  • My God, What Have I Done?: John's reaction after realizing him working as an informant for Boss Lam to arrange for a warehouse raid, resulting in John's father, Mr. Sum — who was NOT supposed to be in the warehouse, but spending a day with John in a theatre during the time of the raid — getting violently killed in the process.
  • Parting Words Regret: The last thing Mr. Sum told John, in the morning before he died horribly that night?
    "Boy's a hotheaded punk."
  • Protagonist Title: John being the titular delinquent.
  • Taking You with Me: In the final fight, Boss Lam impales John with a harpoon gun which has a metal wire attached. But John, in his dying throes, instead uses the wire to strangle Boss Lam dead.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich: After being laid off from his job as a delivery boy, John goes off to see his father, Mr. Sum, bringing with him a box of his father's favorite roast duck. Originally Mr. Sum is more than happy that his son came over to visit, but after finding out John lost his job again, Mr. Sum ends up throwing the roast duck, as an upset John leaves. Subverted that moments later Mr. Sum salvages what's left of the duck from the dirty floor.
  • The Vamp: Fanny, the mistress of Boss Lam, convinces John to help organize a raid on the warehouse where John's father worked as a watchman, by seducing him and offering to sleep with him. To be fair, John did receive a whole stack of cash from Lam before this.
  • Water Wake-up: In their first scene, Big Sean wakes up Little Cripple by dumping a pail of water on his face. On purpose, he didn't shake Little Cripple awake, but opts to wake his partner with cold water instead. But then again Big Sean is a bit of a dick.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The two female leads, Elaine (John's girlfriend) and Fanny (Boss Lam's mistress) dissappears before the final act after John wakes up from the hospital and found out his father had died and what happened to the two ladies are never addressed for the remainder of the film. But given that John and Boss Lam both failed to outlive the credits, chances are they will have to live their own lives in the aftermath.

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