CHINA WHITE (1989) is the movie where Ronny Yu tackles the ’80s Hong Kong gangster genre that we all fell in love with when we found out about John Woo, Ringo Lam and those guys. Like A BETTER TOMORROW or BULLET IN THE HEAD it chronicles the tragic rise and fall melodrama of dashing young anti-heroes who run a criminal empire and care about family and loyalty and what not. Like CITY ON FIRE it deals with somebody undercover getting too close to a crook, but in this case it’s a female informant falling in love with a guy who she doesn’t know is bad (so, a little bit like THE KILLER). But along with these standard genre themes we have the strongest example so far of Yu’s international world view.
That’s because it takes place in Amsterdam, where the Chow brothers, Bobby (Russell Wong, ROMEO MUST DIE, THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR) and Danny (Steven Vincent Leigh, RING OF FIRE, SWORD OF HONOR) have made a home, but must make peace or war with gangs of other nationalities. They’re most threatened by the Italians, led by Scalia (Billy Drago shortly before DELTA FORCE 2). This is a cutthroat internationalism, but Yu sees opportunity for these immigrants, and seems to come out in favor of cross-cultural/interracial relationships. (read the rest of this shit…)