I Did It My Way Poster

I Did It My Way (2023) Review

No, not a biography of Frank Sinatra, I Did it My Way, (Cim Hang) is a new Chinese crime thriller that opens with Eddie Fong (Eddie Peng, Operation Mekong, The Rescue) head of the Cybercrime Unit delivering a lecture on The Dark Web to his officers.

It would seem that the man known as “Boss”, suspected to be Chen Chaosheng (Philip Keung, Shock Wave 2, Warriors of the Future), is about to do one more big deal the old-fashioned way before moving his drug empire to said Dark Web. This means they have five days to take him down, something his lawyer George Lam (Andy Lau, The Wandering Earth II, Shock Wave) and head enforcer Sau Ho (Gordon Lam, The Brink, Cyber Heist) have prevented.

Primarily a cinematographer, I Did It My Way is Jason Kwan’s second film as a solo director having previously directed A Nail Clipper Romance and co-directed Chasing the Dragon and its sequel. Here he’s working from a script by Sing-Yip Sau that seems to contain all the right ingredients, the first half hour delivers a police raid and large scale gun battle, a montage of killings and explosions as well as a brutal interrogation scene.

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I Did It My Way could have worked as story of two conflicted men, one caught between the desire to run a criminal empire and wanting to marry his pregnant girlfriend (Yase Liu, Limbo, Café by the Highway) and be a husband and father. The other between a sense of duty and the desire to take his family and emigrate to a safer life. To a degree both want the same thing but face barriers of their own making, as well as the looming conflict between them, to achieving it.

The problem is, the script rapidly starts to lose itself about an hour into the hour and fifty-five minute run time. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear Lam sabotages his deal with the Colombian cartel. Not unexpectedly, this leads to a small army invading Malaysia and crashing his wedding. This promptly turns into a three-way battle between the two gangs and, for reasons that aren’t clear, the Hong Kong and Malaysian police. You would think they’d let the gangs kill each other, then deal with the survivors.

You can probably guess who is among the firefight’s casualties. But rather than blame himself or the Colombians, Lam unleashes his wrath on the cops, leading to a predictable final showdown.

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When weighing I Did It My Way’s pros and cons, I’m actually not sure which the 80s style depiction of hacking the film uses should be classed as. There’s a DDOS attack that’s represented as lasers striking what looks like the Death Star and in another scene what looks like squadrons of little jet fighters are seen streaking across monitors. In 2024, it looks ridiculous, but the part of me who was in the theatre for War Games, Johnny Mnemonic, etc. was grinning.

Even more retro, and less amusing, is the Reefer Madness style portrayal of drug use. After a load of some unnamed pills hits the streets people are dropping off roofs, and under buses. I have a feeling though that the filmmakers weren’t this clueless about it and this, along with some almost laughably self-righteous speeches about the drug trade, were some heavy-handed moralizing from the CCP.

Going beyond the plot, to the film’s action scenes there are plenty of gun battles and a car chase, but it’s disappointingly light when it comes to hand to hand combat. The only noteworthy fight is a solid fight between Peng and an assassin played by Chan Chun-Fung (Expend4bles, Special Female Force) that leaves an upscale wine store in ruins.

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In between those scenes you can watch for appearances by Simon Yam (Operation Red Sea, Election) as Peng’s superior, Mike Leeder (Abduction, City Hunter) chewing the scenery as a Colombian drug lord, and in a rather insulting role Suet Lam (Undercover Punch and Gun, Iceman) as an obese cop who gives himself a massive heart attack after running up the stairs to deliver a message.

With a good cast but weak script and mostly average action scenes, I Did It My Way ends up falling into a familiar category of films. It isn’t actually bad and will keep you entertained if you don’t expect too much. But you aren’t missing much if you don’t see it, either.

Well Go USA will release I Did It My Way to North American theatres on January 12th.

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