Expect the Unexpected
Director: Patrick Yau Tat-Chi (1998)
Martial Director: Yuen Bun
Starring Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Lau Ching-Wan, Ruby Wong Cheuk-Ling, Hui Siu-Hung
Running Time: 90 min.
Type: C2B

Screening 9/21/98 with Aman Chang's Tricky King at the Music Palace Theater

Simon Yam is Ken, cool and righteous leader of the 'O. Dept.', a special duty unit of the HK police. His squad of six officers is thrown into a bizarre crime scene investigation in the aftermath of a botched armed robbery attempt.

Lau Ching Wan is Sam, the 2nd in command, also cool but not as proper as Ken in following police procedures. Sam is a loose cannon, involved in 'under the table' dealings within the police station such as distributing American cigarettes and betting on horses.

Together they are a formidable team. The two individuals share a bond of mutual respect expressed in knowing as well as disapproving glances that are exchanged through out the film.

Under the inventive direction of Patrick Yau, this movie has a different and wonderfully fluid narrative style. What could have been a standard police action yarn is a really fresh look at the 'SDU' sub-genre of Hong Kong cinema. With martial direction by Yuen Bun, the film opens with an intense sequence involving two sets of crooks.

Three bungling mainlanders try to rob a jewelry store in crowded Hong Kong. When things go awry, one of them stumbles into a building where the second group is hiding out. More dangerous and much more heavily armed, this crew blasts away, killing at least a dozen of Hong Kong's finest.

Enter Ken and Sam. The stars of the film don't appear until about 25 minutes into the story, This is not a problem as the opening sequence is never boring. When Yam and Lau finally appear on screen, these fine actors waste no time involving the viewer in their world. The performances of the two leads in conjunction with the supporting players on the squad make Expect the Unexpected a new standard of 'heroic bloodshed' films.

Copyright © 1998 J. Crawford

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