"No money, no time; just do it." So goes the Nike-esque philosophy of one of Hong Kong's most well-known and notorious filmmakers. With a firm grasp on the fast-paced expectations of the Hong Kong film industry, a reputation for having a quick temper, and a tyrannical on-set directorial style, Ringo Lam's gritty crime dramas have been hit and miss with audiences. But when they do hit, they hit hard.
Born in Hong Kong in 1955, Lam began his career by enrolling in the TVP Actors Training Program in 1973. It is here that a chance encounter with future star Chow Yun Fat would eventually lead to a long and fruitful collaboration for both aspiring artists. Following a brief acting stint, Lam decided that his skills were better behind the camera, and he emigrated to Canada, studying film at York University in Toronto. Lam returned to Hong Kong in 1981, where Cinema City approached him with his first film assignment. The job -- completing Leung Po Chi's unfinished ghost comedy Espirit D'Amour (1983) -- gave Lam his first taste of success, a taste that would become familiar yet somewhat bitter in the following years.