Angry Ranger Review
Director: Wang Lung-wei
Starring: Benny Lam, Leung Yuen-jing, Sun Chien, Jackie Lui, Cheung Kwok-wah, and Mang Lung
Peter (Benny Lam) is newly released from prison after killing a man in a street brawl. Reconnecting with his friend Hsing (Mang Lung), he attempts to live a peaceful life on the right side of the law. This proves difficult however when his short temper goes against local gangsters who have taken over his neighborhood. Things become more violent when he begins a relationship with Jane (Leung Yuen-jing) who is the girlfriend of the psychopathic Triad Big Circle Han (Sun Chien).
Legendary martial arts actor Wang Lung-wei directs this balls to the wall crime actioner that delivers in spades explosive action but with a generally by the numbers crime story that is able to hold the film together until the next action scene. Benny Lam, who is typically a villain in many classic HK action films, take the lead as Peter, a hothead with some formidable fighting ability. His action scenes are absolutely terrific and this film may be one of the last great HK films that uses the excess 80’s aesthetic which I love so much. The fights are varied, brutal, and altogether thrilling. It’s a white knuckle ride that despite some minor failings in storytelling, remains one of the most entertaining HK flicks of the 90’s.
The supporting cast is generally solid though no one really stands out aside from Sun Chien’s Han who is a sadist of the highest order. Cheung Kwok-wah also has a memorable bit and fight scene which is perhaps all too short, but still a nice series of techniques which harken back to his Shaw Bros. days.
The film uses a sort of bluesy style score which at first seems out of place within the narrative of the story, but becomes more appropriate as the plot unfolds. It isn’t necessarily good or bad but an artifact of the period’s guerrilla filming process.
Angry Ranger is one of the those underappreciated and underseen action classics that typify everything I love about 80s and 90s HK cinema. It’s loud, brash, bloody, and above all, entertaining in no small measure. It’s a hell of a ride that deserves a revisit, or first time watch, by genre film lovers the world over.