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Prison on Fire
Prison on Fire
Actors: Chow Yun Fat, Tony Lueng Ka Fai, Roy Cheung, Ng Chi Hung, Fui-On Shing
Director: Ringo Lam
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
R     2001     1hr 38min

This solid 1987 big-house melodrama costars Tony Leung Kar-fei (The Lover) as a bespectacled innocent, perhaps mentally impaired, who is unjustly imprisoned. Behind bars he is befriended by a life-loving reprobate (Chow Yu...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Chow Yun Fat, Tony Lueng Ka Fai, Roy Cheung, Ng Chi Hung, Fui-On Shing
Director: Ringo Lam
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Crime, Hong Kong Action, Chow Yun-Fat, Indie & Art House, Drama, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: Tai Seng
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
DVD Release Date: 08/14/2001
Original Release Date: 01/01/1987
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1987
Release Year: 2001
Run Time: 1hr 38min
Screens: Color,Widescreen,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: R (Restricted)
Languages: Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese
Subtitles: English, Vietnamese, Japanese, Georgian, Chinese, Thai
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Movie Reviews

One of the films that made Chow great...
hikayat | 12/10/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Audiences used to Western style cinema might poo-poo at the melodramatic sentiments of this film. It is melodramatic and at times unrealistic (I mean how many times can a guy get beaten but not die? ) but it is also without a doubt different. This is not an American prison film by any means which is reason enough to watch it. Also despite the gritty violence that Ringo Lam is known for, this is not a Midnight Express type film. Sure, there is the bad guard but there are also good guards.Chow plays a kind hearted prisoner who knows the system. He takes the naive Tony Leung Ka Fai and helps him get through his prison term. Despite the closeness of the men's friendship in prison, there is no subtext (just as there isn't meant to be one in John Woo's HK films)Chow is at his best here and shows why he is such a respected actor in the East. His expressions and mannerisms are excellent and help make Prison on Fire such a good film. Some of the expressions Chow used in this film and his other HK classics are used sporadically and unevenly in The Corruptor (Chow's 2nd American film.)Prison on Fire and City on Fire (School on Fire is the last in the trilogy) are known as Ringo Lam's masterpieces and it's easy to tell why. Prison is a fast paced film with loads of heart. The fighting among prisoners and among guards is quite something to watch. It's a prison film with chinese ideals of chivlary, honor and friendship among men. One could even make a case for it being a film with John Wooism themes with out the ballet."
This entry is incorrect, but still a good movie
William B. Ralphs | Kailua, HI | 03/22/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Firstly, let me state that the movie you purchase off this page is not the movie anything else on the page refers to. That movie can be found at (at the time of my post)

This movie does not have Chow Yun-Fat in it, is decidedly not a martial arts flic, and is not a story of an inmate guiding another; nor is this movie made on the kind of budget that even Chow Yun-Fat's older movies had. (Read the camera work leaves something to be desired)

What this movie does have is a touching story of a chinese neighborhood boss who rises to the top, only to be imprisoned on a life sentance for something which is arguably not of his doing. The story then follows his following depression, seperation from family and friends, and eventual turning to a Christian preacher as a confidant. For fear of leaving no surprises, I'll leave out any further details, but suffice it to say that while this movie was not worth the $12.99 I paid for it, it was worth viewing.

This movie would better be categorized as a crime melo-drama, and contains within it a somewhat effective argument against crime. Don't rent/buy this movie if you're looking for Martial Arts action (or any other sort of action), but while this story will never bring you close to tears, it is quite touching."
Wrong movie
phamnuwen | Tooele,Utah | 09/25/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)

"Not Ringo Lam and not Chow Yun-fat, This is a much newer movie."
The Shawshank Last Castle Redemption
shamgaranath | Arlington, TX United States | 05/07/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"When I first read about this movie, I was expecting a fire in a prison and Chow and his buddy trying to get out. What I got instead was a beautiful drama about friendship in the midst of prison. It was almost a combination of "The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Last Castle." The acting was wonderful. And for a prison drama, it was very tender. The characters were great and you could feel yourself bonding with them. If you don't mind a good foreign film you have to read, Prison on Fire is a good movie for you."