This was a bit of a surprise. I'd never heard of this film before, the only other Poon film I'd seen was absolutely terrible and '96 was a particularly dreadful year for Hong Kong cinema. In other words, expectations were very low. Turns out this was quite the explosive action/crime spectacle.
Hui is a small-time crook who arrives in Shanghai. There he meets Ting, a low-ranking Triad member who never made it big. They hit it off and in no time they've built themselves a roaring crime empire. They are destined for greatness, until a woman gets in between them. From that moment on, their friendship starts to crumble.
Produced by Tsui Hark and headlined by Andy Lau and Leslie Cheung, Shanghai Grand is a pretty high-profile action/crime film set in a bustling Shanghai of the 30s. The cinematography looks slick and classy, performances are on point, the pacing is perfect and there are some lovely action scenes. Very good genre work, deserves more recognition.