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Review Long Arm of the Law III a.k.a. Sang gong kei bing 3 (1989): Excellent!

genre: heroic bloodshed, crime, action, drama

In my search for everything heroic bloodshed / gun fu related Long Arm of the Law III continually pops up. But I could never get a hold of the title until now. So naturally I watched it with much eagerness. While it wasn't entirely what I had hoped it to be. I did get my fix so to speak.

I don't know exactly how to describe my viewing experience but I will try my best. It seems like a conventional crime drama at first. However it grows into a romantic film where both lovers Li Cheung Kong (played by Andy Lau) and Sheung Mung (played by Elizabeth Lee) have to get through real bad events in order to reach happiness. Elizabeth Lee gets the worst of it. And not going to lie. Even it's mostly show off screen her rape scenes are quite brutal. I get that they wanted to show how bad the villains are but that was obvious the minute they wanted to kill Li Cheung. If you think about many of the events in this film surreal and too fantastic. Starting with the opening scene where Li Cheung is asked to hide some friends who are wanted by the Chinese government for some insurrection charges. Undoubtedly they are innocent as is Li Cheung but he gets arrested and sentenced to death anyway. I am sure there is some truth to these type of sentences. But his escape and how one agent (played by Elvis Tsui) feels like it's is duty to hunt Li Cheung like a terminator is a little ridiculous. Still it puts things on edge and explains why Li Cheung is in quite a predicament. 

Li Cheung's character is a little problematic since he is an ex soldier but is shown as your typical citizen indoctrinated by the governments and it's propaganda. It doesn't make sense since he must have seen and heard things that normal citizens wouldn't. He for example has no idea how a mobile telephone works. Let's say he never even heard or seen these things. Naturally you would use it like a normal phone. But I guess they wanted to depict him as naive and a little gullible. And to a large extent that is exactly why it takes him far too long to see that his crime buddies aren't really on his side. This is perplexing to me since they aren't actually hiding it that much.  

The action in this film is quite excellent. Lots of brawling, impressive stuntwork where mostly Andy Lau is doing parkours like stunts (obviously aided by stunt men but many times it's just him doing stunts most actors wouldn't even think about) and two excellent gun battle scenes. At this point perhaps a little too late but damn did it feel cathartic as it should be. You can't be exposing me to grittiness and then not make it up somehow.

Overall I agree with the general view on this title. It's definitely one of the better titles in the genre. 

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