When a crime lord is execution in cold blood — is there any other kind? — his will leaves his billion-dollar estate to his two grown children, Audrey (Bernice Liu, “The King of Fighters“) and Jason (Lok Yi Lai, making the jump from HK TV).
This decision does not sit well with the criminal peers of the deceased Mr. Lok, who seek to recoup all the money they lost from a forgery plate heist gone wrong. They vote Funky — yes, Funky (Simon Yam, “Vengeance“) — to be the organization’s new chairman, and one of his first actions as bigwig is to order the deaths of those meddling kids.
After Jason dies in car explosion while Audrey changes her panties, the grieving sis decides to fight back for her life. That should be enough, but writer/director Simon Yam (“Fatal Contact”) complicates the story by working in — make that shoving in — subplots involving Calf (Andy On, “New Police Story”), who sports a nasty birthmark on the right side of his face, and Dumby (Lu Xia Jiang, “True Legend“), a young mute woman who speaks by typing into a mobile app.
If those names strike you as, well, odd, wait until you get to the unintentionally funny line of “Hello? No, I’m not Funky. I’m Hung.” Bad writing is a constant throughout “King of Triads,” starting when Audrey greets her brother at the airport with an excited cry of “Jason! Is your asthma getting better?”
Ten or 15 years ago, I could look forward to the DVD release of virtually any Asian action film and, more often than not, be satisfied with the results. That’s no longer the case, as the gems — like the aforementioned “True Legend” and the recent “Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame” — are fewer and further between. Today’s generic offerings, as exhibited by “King of Triads” sport no edge and hold no surprises, leaving viewers with no route to investment. —Rod Lott