"Plot Outline: After Sam (Anthony Wong) gets in trouble with some triads over a gambling debt, his best friend Jeff (Chow Yun-Fat) has to bail him out. Sam gets word that his cousin Judge (Simon Yam) wants him and his friends to help them pull a job robbing a truck. Once on the job Jeff finds out it was all a trick set up by the triads to kill him. In a turn of betrayal, Sam is forced by his cousin to shoot Jeff. They leave Jeff to die in a burning building, only Jeff makes it out alive. Now he looks for revenge.The Review: Full Contact is easily the sleaziest, grittiest and downright most vulgar HK action film I've ever seen. Now that I've said that, it's also just one outright cool film. Taking what could have been just an average tale of revenge, Ringo Lam injected the film with the style of the 80's and a healthy dose of brutal violence. The film represents all that was great of the all but dead Heroic Bloodshed genre. It's still around, but you don't see too many films like Full Contact anymore.Don't misunderstand me, the violence in Full Contact, while plentiful, doesn't quite top the likes of A Better Tomorrow II, but the film is just a whole lot seedier. The violence in John Woo's films are usually comical to some point, but here the violence takes place somewhat in reality. The gunplay is actually fairly minimal really. There's only a couple of gunfights, and excluding the first person bullet effects, they aren't really all that spectacular. The violence in the film is just accentuated by the feel of the film. In one of the more brutal scenes in the film, Anthony Wong's character shoots a man in the head about seven times, covering the guy in blood. It's just an ugly image, and made uglier by the scenery and characters. It takes place in a dingy warehouse and watching his blood splatter all over his hands can almost make you feel uncomfortable.When I first sat down to watch Full Contact I didn't know much about it and wasn't expecting much. I had read on a message board somewhere in the past that it was supposed to be a great non-Woo HK action film so I decided to give it a chance. Within the first five minutes of watching the film, it makes it's case strongly, and lets you know exactly what kind of film it's going to be. Simon Yam's gang robs what appears to be a jewelry store, in the process he stabs a innocent woman through the chest then proceeds to have her open the vault. We're introduced to the rest of his gang too. Mona, the promiscuous and Deano the muscular freak (played by Frankie Chin, best known as the guy who tries to strangle Ricky in Ricky-Oh). The introduction is so simple, but it's just so perfect. It's hard to put my hand on it, it's just the perfect way to start the film. A kick to the gut for the audience.If one thing bothered me most about the film the first time I watched it, it was surprisingly enough Chow himself. Not that he gives a bad performance or anything like that, it's just his clothing style is just terrible. He wears a short sleeve shirt with the sleeves rolled up. Add to that a crew cut and a leather vest over the shirt, and you've got one goofy looking chow. The second time I sat through it I just took it in as part of the cheesyness of the film. The roaring electric guitar solos, the clothes... it's all so classic 80's.The style, the violence, and the characters are what makes the film. Simon Yam is repulsive in his role as a flamboyantly gay sociopath who let's nothing stand in his way. Chow puts in a great effort, but it doesn't really take much from Chow to please. He could be playing a coma patient and would still ooze 'cool' from his pours. When I first watched the film I wasn't familiar with Anthony Wong, so I didn't actually ever notice him, but now that I've seen Beast Cops I was surprised to find out that it was he who played Sam. He's gained a whole lot of weight over the years, but I think he's actually more suited with the weight on. In this film, when his character becomes a tough guy it's kind of hard to take serious, but with some weight on him Wong comes off a bit more intimidating. As far as acting goes, those are the central characters. Everyone else puts in decent enough performances even though the girls just seem to be there for eye candy. Nice eye candy, but eye candy just the same.To wrap things up, Full Contact stands out as one of the best Heroic Bloodshed films made not by John Woo. That actually sounds a little harsh, I don't compare the film to Woo's work, but it's just unavoidable. Anyway, I've debated with myself whether to give it a four or a five for a while now, and I've come to the conclusion that it's getting the Stubbing Award. Sure, it doesn't add a whole lot more to the genre, but it delivers what is one of the funnest rides the genre has ever produced. Full Contact is a classic, not to be missed by HK film fans, or gritty gangster film fans for that matter."
Excellent Chow Yun Fat vehicle
S. Naimpally | Dallas, TX USA | 10/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"After Tsui Hark and John Woo, Ringo Lam is probably one of the greatest HK directors. Some innovative POV shots make this a must see. Plot is predictable but it has some great lines.
If you like HK action, this is worth owning."
Great action, great story
S. Naimpally | 12/28/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Chow Yun Fat in a dramatic actioner?! Yes, that's right. When I saw this movie, prior to viewing several other of his movies, I had no idea what the story was about, or who was in it (besides Chow Yun Fat). I even thought it was directed by John Woo. About a quarter way through this movie, the story picked up great. The villain was worthy of being called "a villain", and the action was one of the best I've seen since The Killer. Ringo Lam did IMHO his best directing of an action movie with this one. If you like Hong Kong action movies, enjoy engrossing storylines, and anticipate a high quality ending, then buy this movie. It's worth the price!The story is about a man (Chow) who apparently gets "wiped out" by a crimelord. He leaves behind a good friend and his girlfriend. As he privately recuperates himself, he learns that through the years, his friend and his girlfriend have taken to each other. Not to mention, his nemesis is continuing with his onslaught in the community. As he regains himself to full health, he takes on all the baddies in classic Hong Kong style, and makes amends with his personal problems along the way. This movie may have a not-so-original plot, but when you watch it, you get drawn into the story and never for a moment think that it gets silly. The acting is great, and the action is plentiful."
BULLETS AND BROKEN HEARTS
Eduardo C. Dayao | Quezon City, Metro Manila Philippines | 11/22/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ringo Lam-directed Chow Yun Fat is almost always tragic. And while this pumped-up and bravado-engorged 1992 spectacular plays like some vividly tricked-up Walter Hill movie, all hallucinatory candypop flash and giddy set pieces, it is no less heartbroken. Chow Yun Fat is Jeffrey, a butterfly-kinfe-brandishing Hong Kong gangsta babysitting troubleprone geek pal Sam, played by the always amazing Anthony Wong (forthcoming in Tsui Hark's "Time and Tide") on the mean streets of Bangkok. Sam trigger-fingers him during a treacherous hijacking and leaves him to the worms, all under the suave manipulation of queer gangster Wizard, played to an icy, reptilian perfection by Simon Yam ("Expect the Unexpected"). But. Like Lee Marvin in "Point Blank", Jeffrey survives the blundered assassination , repairs himself and treks back to Hong Kong for a cold-blooded round of vendetta. Waiving Lam's usual primal dynamism, this is a different beguilement. There is not only a gorgeous ferocity to the glam-sleaze trappings but also a jaw-dropping urgency to the spasms of action, from the two-man siege in an ice plant to the final face-off between Jeffrey and Wizard ,but best being the now-classic disco gunbattle from, seen mostly from the POV of the bullets, which is where everyone from Kevin Reynolds("Prince of Thieves")to Oliver Stone ("Naturalborn Killers")to the Wachowski Brothers (you know, that movie with the guy from "Bill & Ted") to Lam himself (in his dire cred-busting Van Damme outing "Maximum Risk") , stole from. Still. "Full Contact" only feels like some slick, megabudget tribute to macho swagger. Murky codes of honour, the fragility of firendships and the frantic pursuit of identity remain Lam's priority obsessions. But the visceral supercharge that vibrates throughout the movie is so adrenalizing, it's hard not to feel triumphant, specially when Jeffrey, dreams dashed and one hand shattered to pieces, sends Wizard off to his doom with a knife in the gullet and the killer of killer lines: "Masturbate In Hell!""
Film Yes, DVD No
ho_lin | San Francisco, CA United States | 05/28/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
""Full Contact" ranks high on the list of classic Hong Kong "heroic bloodshed" action films. Grittier and more extreme than John Woo's films (more gore and maimings, and characters who are less noble), it's an entertaining ride, and a good showcase for the always-magnetic Chow Yun-Fat. Unfortunately, this DVD re-release has a serious problem -- the actual video print is a big improvement on the original Tai Seng release, but whole chunks of soundtrack seem to be missing from the Chinese audio track (strangely enough, they're present on the English audio track). If you don't mind watching your Hong Kong movies in English, this is a good buy, but if you're a purist, you're better off sticking with the original Tai Seng DVD for the complete Chinese audio track."