Golden Job film review: Young and Dangerous reunion a globe-trotting action thriller
Five key stars from the 1990 series that glorified triad criminals, and recurrent use of the original theme song, make Golden Job’s purpose clear, even if the theme of brotherhood is stretched in unexpected narrative directions
Fans of 1990s triad film series Young and Dangerous will feel a massive surge of nostalgia during Golden Job, which reunites its lead actors, features a non-speaking cameo by series director Andrew Lau Wai-keung, and even plays the original’s theme song during key scenes to reassure fans that, yes, this really is your long-awaited Young and Dangerous reunion, albeit in heavy disguise.
While the premise of the franchise – glorifying criminals – was never going to get the green light in today’s Hong Kong-China co-production system, the filmmakers behind Golden Job have found a viable alternative.
Produced by veteran Hong Kong actor Eric Tsang Chi-wai, who plays a godfather-like figure, the film channels its predecessors’ theme of blood brotherhood through a most contrived story that nevertheless entertains.
The quintet played by series alumni Ekin Cheng Yee-kin, Jordan Chan Siu-chun, Michael Tse Tin-wah, Jerry Lamb Hiu-fung and Chin Ka-lok (who also directs) are referred to as former soldiers, master thieves and security experts rather than as gangsters. An early heist turns out to a pro bono mission to steal some valuable medicine for sick African children.
But when they belatedly discover that they’ve stolen not medicine but a truckload of gold bars, and that a member of their group is going rogue after years of feeling unloved and misunderstood, Golden Job shakes off any impression it is just another glossy action spectacle and enters surprising territory. After a major character is murdered, the film morphs into an emotionally complicated revenge epic in its final third.
In place of Hong Kong’s gritty streets are exotic locations that range from Hungary and Montenegro to Japan; gone are the meat cleavers, replaced by military-grade weapons. But the changes can’t disguise the fact this is a Young and Dangerous homage – the scenes showing our heroes, clad inevitably in black, contemplating bloody vengeance for one of their own will bring back precious memories of the 1990s.
Golden Job opens on September 20
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