On the Run is one of Yuen Biao’s darkest and most dramatic roles to date; if you’re looking for lots of fight scenes you’ll be disappointed but the film looks stunning and it still has plenty of violence with a satisfyingly bloody finale. 88 Films have done a stellar job here with hours of special features and the film looks and sounds like it was released this year.
Plot: Directed by Alfred Cheung and starring the legendary Yuen Biao (THE PRODIGAL SON, RIGHTING WRONGS), noir crime drama ON THE RUN remains a classic staple of the thriller genre from Hong Kong.
In the aftermath of his wife’s brutal murder, struggling cop Heung Ming (Yuen Biao) is forced to go into hiding after discovering corruption in the ranks. His only ally is a deadly assassin Chui (Pat Ha) as they each try to avoid arrest, and even death.
Review: On the Run stars Yuen Biao in one of his darkest roles to date and he gives one of his best dramatic performances too. It isn’t exactly feelgood fare and his character Heung Ming loses so much that you wonder where he finds the strength to keep going.
The film is filled with anxiety with many of the characters talking about emigrating due to the upcoming transfer of power with Hong Kong returning to China from the British. Heung Ming ends up going into hiding when he finds out his very own homicide department is corrupt and want to take him out.
The first half is actually a little slowburn and is more of a noir thriller but there are still several shoot-outs and the finale has a satisfying showdown between Heung Ming and Lu (Charlie Chin). I just wish we actually got see Lu get killed as I need that closure; he was so hateful he deserved a worse fate.
On the Run doesn’t skimp on violence with several brutal kills and impressive headshots that still look convincing today.
The film also looks gorgeous, and 88 Films have remastered it to perfection where it looks like it was released this year. The neon soaked and smoky visuals are stunning and even the opening shot you could frame and hang on the wall.
As great as Yuen Biao is for me Patricia Ha steals the movie has the assassin Miss Pai; she is ruthless but begins to develop a conscience and decides to help Heung Ming in seeking justice.
There is an awesome electric guitar fueled music score and despite not being packed with action it’s still a tight 88 minutes and there isn’t a single scene I would cut. Any movie that has a bad guy’s arms removed with a machete also gets my seal of approval.
Included with this beautiful looking box set we have the following:
- Rigid slipcase with brand new artwork by R.P. “Kung Fu Bob” O’Brien
- Double-Sided Foldout Poster featuring new artwork and original HK poster art
- Collectable Art Cards
- 80-page perfect-bound book featuring a brand-new interview with director Alfred Cheung and actor Patricia Ha. by Matthew Edwards
- BRAND NEW 2K transfer from the Original Negatives
- High Definition Blu-ray ™ (1080p) Presentation in 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio
- LPCM 2.0 Cantonese Mono
- Newly remastered English subtitles
- Audio Commentary with Kenneth Brorsson and Phil Gillon of the Podcast On Fire Network
- Audio Commentary with Asian Cinema Experts Frank Djeng and FJ DeSanto
- [new] Running Away – An Interview with Alfred Cheung
- [new] Predicting the Future – An Interview with David West
- Alternate Ending
- Hong Kong Trailer
- Reversible sleeve with original Hong Kong poster artwork
The alternate ending just has the final scene removed and isn’t especially interesting, but both endings leave you with nothing either way.
The interview with David West is fascinating as he goes into the anxieties of the time regarding the future of Hong Kong and how it fits in to the story of this film. There are also multiple commentaries including Frank Djeng and FJ DeSanto who never fail to entertain.
Overall, On the Run is a good-looking noir thriller which is a little slow to get going but it pays off with several shocking moments of violence, an interesting story and one of Yuen Biao’s best ever performances. The film looks and sounds amazing and there are several hours worth of bonus material to keep you intrigued. Sets like this are why I support physical media as I love to go into the behind the scenes details of films and see how certain aspects were put together. So, if like me you love your physical media then you’d best pick this up as it’s yet another winner from 88 Films.