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Life Is Cheap . . . But Toilet Paper Is Expensive
Directed by Wayne Wang • 1989 • United States
Starring Victor Wong, Lo Lieh, Lo Wei
Exploding a seemingly simple premise—a nameless “cowboy” courier (Spencer Nakasako) arrives in Hong Kong to deliver a mysterious briefcase to a mercurial mob boss and becomes entangled with his femme fatale mistress (Cora Miao)—this long-unavailable triumph from Wayne Wang barrels through inspired genre deconstruction, guerrilla docu-fiction, and fierce political jeremiad, all with a keen sense of humor and a rich visual palette. Tracking the courier’s increasingly byzantine mission across every level of the city’s social strata, Wang introduces us to cabdrivers, hustlers, butchers, and more—each punctuating the high-octane neonoir narrative with instantly memorable monologues that capture a now-distant era in Hong Kong history.