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  • Prison on Fire [VHS]
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Prison on Fire [VHS]

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Editorial Reviews

This solid 1987 big-house melodrama costars Tony Leung Kar-fai (The Lover) as a bespectacled innocent, perhaps mentally impaired, who is unjustly imprisoned. Behind bars he is befriended by a life-loving reprobate (Chow Yun-fat) who displays his cool by rolling a lit cigarette over his knuckles, in a risky variation on the George Raft silver dollar trick. Director Ringo Lam jacks up the visceral tension effectively, even though Leung's character is too naive to be true. Chow is in top form, however, enduring even more brutal beatings than in A Better Tomorrow. All prison exposé films are essentially the same, but this one has a few unusual wrinkles: there are no intimations of that American slammer staple, homosexuality, though close fraternal attachments are suggested in a lyrical Christmas party dance sequence. --David Chute

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