For those who enjoy martial arts movies from China or Japan, the name Andy Lau shouldn’t be strange or unfamiliar as he has starred in numerous action-packed movies where he displayed proficiency in the art of Kung Fu. Andy Lau Tak-wah has acquired fame and notoriety in the entertainment industry of Hong Kong for his versatility as a singer, actor, and producer. These accomplishments have earned him a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records wherein he’s recognized as the Most Awarded Cantopop Male Artist. Some of the movies listed below have been termed as the greatest Andy Lau’s movies while others have received less recognition.
1. INTERNAL AFFAIRS (2002)
Directed by Alan Mak and Andy Lau, this brilliant and engrossing cop thriller is easily one of the best movies to come out of Hong Kong in this century. Andy Lau takes the lead as the character named Ming and delivers the performance of a lifetime. He is a member of a criminal gang who works his way into the police department just so he can get information and report back to the gang leader, Sam.
In the same vein, Yan, another gang member is recruited by the police and turned into a mole who reports the activities of the crime syndicate back to his police boss. A decade passes, and both men find they can hardly tell which of their identities is real. Things spiral dangerously out of control when their respective bosses realize there’s a mole under their payroll and unwittingly saddles the culprits themselves the task of fishing him out. Internal affairs is everything you want in an action thriller and more. It is provocative, complex, suspense-filled, chilling, fascinating, engaging from start to finish, and one of the greatest Andy Lau’s movies.
2. HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS (2004)
This critically acclaimed movie has been described as one of the greatest Andy Lau’s movies as it featured a rich, suspense-filled plot that left many viewers excitedly out of breath. The plot focuses on the Tang Dynasty and their quest to maintain order and control in China, which they eventually end up losing thanks to the efforts of several rebel groups, such as the notorious House of Flying Daggers. Like Robin Hood, the group proudly and eagerly steals from the wealthy and distributes their loot to the poor.
Lau plays one of the police deputies charged with investigating the dancer Mei (Zhang Ziyi), suspected to have connections with House of Flying Daggers but ends up falling for her instead. This sets off a chain of events that might mark the end of their careers and everything they know. The movie is a cinematic masterpiece that is impossible to resist.
3. GOD OF GAMBLERS (1989)
Set in 1989 Hong Kong, God of Gamblers spins an epic tale centered around the underworld of gambling, and its box office record-breaking success inspired the wave of gambling themed movies that followed. It is directed by Wong Jing and stars a host of talented actors like Joey Wang, Zang Min, Chow Yun-fat, and Andy Lau amongst others.
The plot follows Do San, who is a renowned gambler rumored to possess mystical abilities. He decides to help a friend offset a debt by taking on his creditor on the card table and eventually beating him. Misfortune strikes and despite being protected by a bodyguard, Do San has an unlikely accident that leaves his memory partially gone and reduces his mental capabilities to that of a child. Those responsible for the accident decide to take care of Do San, but soon discover that the accident didn’t take away his gift for gambling. When the loan shark tracks them down, one final game at the card table may be the answer to all their problems.
4. RUNNING OUT OF TIME (1999)
This fast-paced action movie flows more in accordance with Lau’s usual style. Directed by Johnnie To and starring incredible actors like Lau Ching Wan, Yoyo Mung and our very own Andy Lau, the movie brings a fresh perspective to the popular “Police and Thief” storyline that keeps fans on their toes from the opening scene till the credits start to roll. It masterfully combines suspense and drama and delivers on all fronts. Running Out of Time unravels in just 72 hours, but manages to pack a lot of suspense, comedy, and entertainment into that time. The story revolves around a cat and mouse game between a police officer and a brilliant thief
5. LOVE ON A DIET (2001)
This romantic comedy easily warms the hearts of viewers as fans who are used to seeing Lau in action-packed movies will be pleasantly surprised to see him in a more relaxed and jovial setting. The movie stars Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng as two fat people who push each other to lose the pounds and get their lives back on track. Lau is extremely lovable in his role as the guy determined to help his overweight and self-conscious friend Cheng lose 200 pounds so she can make up with her old boyfriend whom she has secretly longed for.
Ironically, it was the pain and depression from the breakup that caused her to gain weight in the first place. The movie follows their struggles as she tries to lose weight and her success in overcoming her insecurities. She eventually realizes she no longer desires her former boyfriend and has fallen in love with Lau, who finds it difficult to accept. Lau and Cheng’s performances help this romantic comedy come alive.
6. CHASING THE DRAGON (2017)
This story follows the tale of an illegal immigrant named Ho (Donnie Yen) who sneaks into British-ruled Hong Kong. As a bold and skilled fighter, he enters into the crime world and starts several fights with his rivals. However, this tough turn in his life leaves him scarred, bitter and eventually, physically crippled. He becomes a menace to the society and supersedes the worst crime lords, corrupt police officers, and powerful drug dealers.
Eventually, he becomes the most dangerous and powerful drug lord, guided by Lee Rock, a corrupt Detective, and many believe he cannot be stopped. However, the establishment of a new Anti-Corruption Commission stifles the activities of Detective Lee, thereby forcing him into early retirement. But Ho remains undeterred and resolute in his goal of becoming the master of the drug empire. The plot of the movie rotates around his activities and atrocities fuelled by his desire to emerge at the top of the underground crime syndicate.
7. THE WARLORDS (2007)
This story, set in the 19th century China narrates how a terrible civil war known as the Taiping Rebellion divides China and in the midst of the chaos, three men arise as the possible heroes who could return China to its former glory. This task is bestowed upon General Pang played by the illustrious Jet Li and some miscreant rebels played by Takeshi Kaneshiro and Andy Lau. The General is taken by a lovely woman, Liansheng played by Jinglei Xu after he survives a ghastly incident from a clash with the rebels. Together, the three men would embark on a quest to rid their land of rebels once and for all. Their success at war impresses the government of the dynasty but soon they begin to fear the growing power and influence of the blood brothers. This fear creates tension between the brothers as they strive to protect their own.
8. BATTLE OF THE WARRIORS (2006)
Battle of The Warriors isn’t one of the greatest Andy Lau’s movies. It follows the same conquest theme as most Japanese period films and is set in 370 B.C, when Ancient China was separated as seven nations and several other small tribes, with one of them being the city-state of Liang. The powerful nation of Zhao is commanded by the great Prime Commander Xiang Yangzhong who wage war on Liang in order to conquer them. There is however hope for the people of Liang as a mysterious warrior named Ge Li, comes to their defense. Ge Li, who is a simple and peaceful warrior well-versed in the Mo-Tsu style of fighting becomes their defender. As Yangzhong releases his forces on Liang, the people depend on Ge Li to save them from the terrible onslaught of the vicious army.
9. AS TEARS GO BY (1988)
Many have argued that this movie is one of Lau’s greatest cinematic masterpieces. However, this is very debatable, hence, it is ranked very low on our list because of the flaws in its plot and character development. The story follows the trials of a young lad played by Jacky Cheung. Lau acts as an older brother figure who tries to guide Cheung and lead him away from the gang members that he has dealings with. Even though it may not qualify as one of the greatest Andy Lau’s movies, As Tears Go By is still a cut above the usual Hong Kong crime dramas.
10. A SIMPLE LIFE (2011)
It’s no wonder that this movie isn’t regarded as one of the greatest Andy Lay’s movies; the storyline is somewhat bleak. Considered one of the actor’s failures, A Simple Life focuses on Chung Chun-tao (Deanie Ip), who has been forced into early retirement as an elderly housemaid after suffering a serious stroke. Roger is the only member of the family she works for still living in Hong Kong, so he takes care of her. Unlike most Hong Kong movies which are very action-filled or melancholic, this movie is a sentimental examination of an average person’s life in Hong Kong.