School on Fire

School on Fire ★★★½

Viewed with the Amazing Edith’s *Collab Film Group*.

To put it lightly, I know jack-squat about Ringo Lam or his films or the Chinese film industry, but I do have a pretty good film comparison regarding the youth’s entanglement with The Triads. That other film is Michael Cimino’s Year of the Dragon (my review here), a visceral crossroads where age, tradition, race, politics, and police work manifest into a climax unlike anything I have ever seen. While the action of Year of the Dragon is tight, fluid, and jumps on you like a bear in the night it is not utilized throughout such as what Lam does in School on Fire

There is a pinnacle moment of sorts when the gang leaders of The Triads meet with other subordinates and some cops at a restaurant. The scene digs a little deeper into the dynamic occurring between these entities and results in a reckless all-out brawl. Similarly in Year of the Dragon, representatives of The Triads and Italian mafia meet up to discuss business but this scene does not result in an immediate shellacking of those at the table. Instead, an impressive display of ignorance and pride comes forth that further drives the wedge between the younger and older generations. Both films make it a point to show us how the societal dynamics work in effective ways, one a bit more forthright and violent while the other ruminates in iconic scowls and massively degenerate characters. 

What School on Fire has over Year of the Dragon is how it focuses much more on the ramifications The Triads played with the youth, specifically honing its sights on a high school girl and her friends. On nearly all other aspects however, Year of the Dragon is the superior film. With that said, this is still a really solid flick. 

Nice theme Jam! 🍻

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