If you grew up in the 80’s and watching a Hong Kong movie was your favorite past time. Chances are, Young and Dangerous would be in the list of your favorite movie. If you are keen to relive the nostalgia, Golden Job or its original name Huang Jin Xiong is a must watch. Armed with four Young And Dangerous Alumni whom are Ekin Cheng, Jordan Chan, Jerry Lamb and Micheal Tse. the movie has proven that though they are no longer young, they still indeed dangerous.
The premise of brotherhood is strong in this movie. Golden Job put the focus on the life of the former mercenaries turn Robin Hood. Lion (Ekin Cheng) is the leader of the pack while the rest of the members include the short-tempered and impulsive Crater (Jordan Chan), the meek and geeky Mouse (Jerry Lamb), the mastermind Bill (Micheal Tse) and the ready behind the wheel Calm. They met in the orphanage and made a pact to be blood brothers. When they grew up and got into trouble, Papa (Eric Tsang) took them home and became their mentor and father figure.
These actors perform a stellar job with their performances especially the Ekin Cheng and Jordan Chan duo. The chemistry between these two is undeniable. Watching them in action will surely bring back some fondest memories. Eric Tsang is also still as awesome as ever and fatherly as usual.
Jerry Lamb brings a new twist on the table as a geek that dabbles with hi tech gadgetries, VPN security tools and the likes.
Micheal Tse, being one of the most profound villains of all time in a number of Hong Kong movies, would make you exclaim “I knew it” when he ends up betraying the rest of his brothers. Perhaps, after a long year of working together, the camaraderie between them just form naturally on screen.
Chin Ka Lok character’s as Calm is the least developed among the rest. Maybe since he is directing the movie, he would rather the viewers’ attention to focus on other characters in the movie instead of on him.
What excites me further is when both Yasuaki Kurata & Billy Chow make an appearance in the movie. For those who don’t know, both men are real-life martial artists who have starred in many Jet Li movies. The most notable one is Fist of Legend, which is deemed as one of the greatest martial arts films of the 90’s. So, for them to appear in this movie, gives a glimmer of hope that this movie wouldn’t suck so bad.
Golden Job takes place in several locations around the world such as Montenegro, Mongolia, Hungary, Japan, Taiwan, and China. Chin Ka Lok definitely tries to make the movie feasible for international viewers. As expected for a movie that revolves around the story of ex-mercenaries, Golden Job is filled with military-style cliché.
Cutting edge technology is infused in preparation and execution of the job from the method of communication perhaps using a VPN connection to avoid detection to the professional level of car jacking attempt to waylay the GPS tracked van filled with the “assumed” medicine supply. Not forgetting the heavy usage of firearms courtesy of the agency that they previously tried to steal the medicine from.
In term of technical specifications, the job is done quite well despite a bit of noticeable CGI during the car chase scene, but it doesn’t actually ruin the movie. Chin Ka Lok clearly pays attention to details when it comes to choreographing the fighting scenes, the car stunts and the shooting scenes. Everything is done with precision especially the final show down scene where the four brothers make a full-blown coordinated assault on a fortified private island filled with paramilitaries owned by Bill located in Montenegro.
The plot, on the other hand, is quite disappointing. Though nostalgia is a great recipe to attract the people to watch the movie, if the plot is too thin and weak, there’s nothing could save you from peoples’ disappointment.
Golden Job goes to the extent of resurrecting the Cantopop hit song “Yau Ching Seuih Yuht” (“Years of Friendship”) which is one of the original soundtracks for Young And Dangerous to sell the sense of nostalgia to the viewers. This somehow receives a mixed review, there is a feeling like Golden Job tries hard to oversell its sense of nostalgia. Lazy might be a harsh word but it seems fitting when it comes to describing its weak and all over the place
The feeling is equivalent to watching the Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace after waiting for over 16 years, only to find out it is not as good as the previous movie. The plot of this movie is half cooked and not well thought out. The movie relies too much on the premise of the brotherhood and not on the plot execution itself.
There are too many random unnecessary things that should be omitted especially if the director has no plan to go through with it. The whole story looks rushed and all over the place. It can be quite confusing that an initial plan of a heist to steal medicine supply end up becoming a full-blown revenge story. However, the twist at the end is nicely done. Despite his betrayal, Bill isn’t so bad after all.
To sum it all up, Golden Job indeed brings back precious memories especially for the fan of Hong Kong action movies. It is entertaining, filled with adrenaline rush moments and bromance. The impeccable chemistry between the actors does help and the action scenes are worth a watch if you are willing to overlook how cheesy and lazy the plot is.
Overall, the movie doesn’t fail entirely. It’s just not well thought out as I hope it would be. However, it is not a bad way to spend 99 minutes of your time. Nostalgia is a double-edged sword, sometimes it pays off and sometimes it is just utterly disappointing.