Touch and Go: I don’t want to be a hero.”

Year: 1991 

Directed by Ringo Lam

Produced by Nam Yin

Written by Nam Yin and Chau Ting

Cast:  Sammo Hung, Teresa Mo, Irene Wan, Vincent Wan Yeung-Ming, Tommy Wong ,Ann Mui, Billy Chow, Helena Law Lan, Lam Chung, Frankie Ng Chi-Hung and Ho Yik-Ming

A clumsy and awkward man finds himself caught up in a scandal after witnessing the murder of a cop. The lives of both of these men crisscross as the colleague of that murdered cop works to unravel the truth behind the murder.

Ringo Lam has Sammo Hung undergoing witness protection in Touch and Go. Though, it is hardly the so-called professional type of witness protection, since it is basically a one-man show where he lives in the cop’s home that is supposed to be protecting him. And he doesn’t get a new identity either for crying out loud. The only identity that Sammo Hung plays is Fat Goose, an oaf that loves wearing his heart on his sleeve. If Sammo Hung wasn’t cast, it is doubtful that Lam would have included such a character. Fat Goose’s happy go nature does lead to the natural grittiness that we associate with Ringo Lam’s works being downplayed and more diluted. Touch and Go’s ambiance is an odd amalgamation of an action-comedy and action thriller. While we might end with an uneven tone and narrative, it is no less entertaining. The more lighthearted elements serve more as a way to develop the characters but way too meager to be effective. It isn’t all bad news on that front as the humor gives some much needed heart. Sammo Hung’s performance as Fat Goose does a good job of making a lovable oaf that you can’t help but admire. The worst offender is the tacked on forced romances that do little. It is done in such a ham-fisted way that it makes you wonder if they were doing it because they needed to check off a box. 

 The more gritty elements are Fat Goose and the cop protecting him, Pritt being the target of constant harassment. Their lives and their loved ones are no longer safe. Fat Goose and Pritt must work out a partnership to support each other. Fat Goose is more of a sidekick in the partnership which works well since Fat Goose is written to be an everyman.Pritt takes more of the traditional hero role. However, it doesn’t feel like Fat Goose is pushed to the sidelines despite being regulated to being a sidekick because both get adequate screentime. Ringo Lam’s signature style is apparent here and it is probably best embodied in the character of Lam Man-Fu. A loathsome figure that has no respect for those around him. He makes the life of Fat Goose and Pritt a living hell. What makes him more terrifying since the police are involved in the scandal they provide little to no help. The conflict between the heroes and Lam Man-Fu drives the story and form the crux of the issues that the heroes face. Fat Goose and Pritt endure a trial by fire together that forces two to become reluctant allies and later on friends in arms. It is a bromance that isn’t go above and beyond at all but it is serviceable.    

Sometimes some collaborations between two great talents fail to produce a work of great caliber. Unfortunately, Touch and Go stand as a stark example of that. The dissonance in styles between Sammo Hung and Ringo Lam just leads to a work of average quality. Yet, there is great fun in Sammo Hung’s turning in a great performance with quite bit of heart and great action. Sammo Hung’s inclusion dilutes Ringo Lam’s signature style so, we end up with a crime thriller that’s too muted in its grit. Sammo Hung does more than enough to carry it to but his influence is so strong that we have more of an action comedy pretending to be a half-hearted crime thriller. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s