films seen
25/26
average score
2.34*
nationality
Hong Kong - 63 years old
status
R.I.P. (1955 - 2018)
more info

Hong Kong's undisputed king of gritty crime/action cinema. Lam likes adding a social aspect to his films, but because he's not the most gifted director its impact can be somewhat underwhelming. Still, he has an extensive oeuvre worth exploring.

The good stuff

Triangle

by Ringo Lam, Johnnie To, Hark Tsui
Also known as
Tie Saam Gok
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [2007] - 93m
Genre
Action, Crime
More info on
rating
4.0*/5.0*
toplist position
Triangle poster

A celebration of Hong Kong crime cinema. Three prominent Hong Kong directors each get a 30-minute segment to tell their part of a story of three incidental thieves, who have to do their utmost best to keep their freshly acquired bounty out of the hands of the police and the Triads. Dark, brooding and stylish, a superb experiment that I wouldn't mind seeing repeated.

Solid pieces

Wild City

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Bou Chau Mai Sing
Specifics
Hong Kong [2015] - 120m
Genre
Action, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Wild City poster

Burning Paradise

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Huo Shao Hong Lian Si
Specifics
Hong Kong [1994] - 104m
Genre
Fantasy, Action, Adventure
More info on
rating
3.5*/5.0*
Burning Paradise poster

The inoffensive

Sky on Fire

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Chongtian Huo
Specifics
Hong Kong, China [2016] - 99m
Genre
Action, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Sky on Fire poster

Ringo Lam trying to relive his former glory days. A rather typical film from an oldskool director who isn't quite with the times anymore. There are some decent action scenes and the drama is above average for a Hong Kong action film, but overall it lacks panache and it fails to stand out from the rest. Not bad, not great.

Victim

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Muk Lau Hung Gwong
Specifics
Hong Kong [1999] - 104m
Genre
Horror, Mystery, Crime
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Victim poster

The Suspect

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Jidu Zhongfan
Specifics
Hong Kong [1998] - 109m
Genre
Action, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
The Suspect poster

Full Contact

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Xia Dao Gao Fei
Specifics
Hong Kong [1992] - 96m
Genre
Drama, Action, Crime
More info on
rating
3.0*/5.0*
Full Contact poster

Worthy but flawed

Full Alert

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Ko Dou Gai Bei
Specifics
Hong Kong [1997] - 98m
Genre
Drama, Action
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Full Alert poster

Twin Dragons

by Ringo Lam, Hark Tsui
Also known as
Shuang Long Hui
Specifics
Hong Kong [1992] - 104m
Genre
Comedy, Action
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Twin Dragons poster

Prison on Fire II

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Jian Yu Feng Yun II: Tao Fan
Specifics
Hong Kong [1991] - 109m
Genre
Drama, Action, Crime
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Prison on Fire II poster

Prison on Fire

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Gaam Yuk Fung Wan
Specifics
Hong Kong [1987] - 98m
Genre
Drama, Action, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Prison on Fire poster

Aces Go Places IV: You Never Die Twice

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Zuijia Paidang Zhi Qianli Jiu Chaipo
Specifics
Hong Kong, New Zealand [1986] - 86m
Genre
Comedy, Action
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Aces Go Places IV: You Never Die Twice poster

Esprit d'Amour

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Yam Yeung Choh
Specifics
Hong Kong [1983] - 98m
Genre
Drama, Romance, Fantasy
More info on
rating
2.5*/5.0*
Esprit d'Amour poster

Ringo Lam's first feature film. Like many other Hong Kong directors, Lam started out as a somewhat generic cog in the machine. Esprit d'amour is a rather typical mix of horror, comedy and romance that never quite succeeds. The pacing is alright though and it's an easy watch, it's just not that memorable.

Dubious filler

Looking for Mr. Perfect

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Kei Fung Dik Sau
Specifics
Hong Kong, Malaysia [2003] - 101m
Genre
Comedy, Drama, Action
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Looking for Mr. Perfect poster

Touch and Go

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Yi Chu Ji Fa
Specifics
Hong Kong [1991] - 97m
Genre
Action
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Touch and Go poster

A rather basic action film from Ringo Lam. Like most of his films, it's a tad grittier than its contemporaries, but also lacking the joy and creativity that makes Hong Kong action so much fun to watch. With a headliner like Sammo Hung, this film should've been way more entertaining than it turned out to be.

There is too much focus on the drama, especially for a film where the performances are poor and the plot is derivative. Touch and Go is a run-of-the-mill action flick, what's the point on spending so much time on characters that never come to life anyway. A lighter tone and a couple more action scenes would've gone a long way to make this better.

It's not the first time that I felt this way about one of Lam's films, so people who are fan of his work are almost guaranteed to get something out of it. The few action scenes that are present are pretty solid, sporting some impressive practical stunt work, but it just wasn't enough to save the film for me.

Wild Search

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Ban Wo Chuang Tian Ya
Specifics
Hong Kong [1989] - 98m
Genre
Drama, Romance, Action, Thriller
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Wild Search poster

School on Fire

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Hok Haau Fung Wan
Specifics
Hong Kong [1988] - 101m
Genre
Drama, Action, Crime
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
School on Fire poster

A very typical Lam film. Ten minutes of censored material, more gruesome than most of its Hong Kong counterparts and set up as a social commentary. But the direction is pretty poor and the film lacks true impact. Lam tried his whole career to balance drama and action but never really found a way to do it well.

City on Fire

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Lung Fu Fong Wan
Specifics
Hong Kong [1987] - 101m
Genre
Drama, Action, Crime
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
City on Fire poster

Cupid One

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Oi San Yat Ho
Specifics
Hong Kong [1985] - 95m
Genre
Romance
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
Cupid One poster

The Other Side of Gentleman

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Jun Zi Hao Qiu
Specifics
Hong Kong [1984] - 93m
Genre
Comedy
More info on
rating
2.0*/5.0*
The Other Side of Gentleman poster

An old Ringo Lam comedy. Clearly a training film for Lam. You won't recognize much of his typical style, there are no real crime elements and the grittiness is almost completely absent. It's a typical 80s Hong Kong comedy, not great but passable and somewhat entertaining. Hard to recommend, unless you're a completist.

Plain forgettable

Replicant

by Ringo Lam
Specifics
USA [2001] - 100m
Genre
Sci-fi, Action, Thriller
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Replicant poster

Great Adventurers

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Da Mao Xian Jia
Specifics
Hong Kong [1995] - 108m
Genre
Drama, Action
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Great Adventurers poster

Undeclared War

by Ringo Lam
Also known as
Sheng Zhan Feng Yun
Specifics
Hong Kong [1990] - 103m
Genre
Action, Crime
More info on
rating
1.5*/5.0*
Undeclared War poster

A pretty tame and lifeless police thriller. The international elements add very little, Lam's direction is uninspired and functional and the story fails to engage. I've seen a million of these already and Undeclared War seems unwilling to add anything meaningful to the genre. It's simple filler, but even by that standard it's not very good.

Big nopes

In Hell

by Ringo Lam
Specifics
USA [2003] - 98m
Genre
Action, Crime
More info on
rating
1.0*/5.0*
In Hell poster

Extremely cheesy and third-grade action flick. Ringo Lam takes his prison drama outside of Hong Kong, but fails to make it enticing. The acting is atrocious, the plot is laughable and the attempts at make it a little more poetic are simply painful. The action is dull too, which makes you wonder why they even bothered with this at all.

Maximum Risk

by Ringo Lam
Specifics
USA [1996] - 101m
Genre
Romance, Action, Mystery, Thriller, Crime
More info on
rating
1.0*/5.0*
Maximum Risk poster

Horrible 90s action flick. Ringo Lam's first try in America is pretty depressing. The action scenes are pretty lame, the actors are eye-watering bad, the film looks at least 10 years older than it should and the plot is a complete waste of time. The entire film is in fact, best to avoid this one.