Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Graphic violence and several extended fight sequences would at first seem to place Without a Promised Land in the same genre as other Hong Kong action films. Yet this film was banned by the censors because of its political content, and in fact, the excessive violence is accompanied by a close look at the situation of Vietnamese refugees in Hong Kong. In this action film, the Vietnamese boat people are not portrayed as the usual stereotype - that is, basically evil in nature. The film focuses on a group of Vietnamese as they arrive, and follows them through harrowing situations, with sequences showing a compassionate and gentle side to some of the characters without eradicating their imperfections. There are other, more harmless kinds of stereotypes though, such as the prostitute with a heart of gold (Tsui Tse) who suffers abuse and gang rape, and the hard-nosed yet ultimately vulnerable ex-soldier/hero from North Vietnam (Wong Wei). A young boy (Tong Sun) has a sympathetic and pivotal role in the film as well. This is the first film for all three of these actors.
abuse, boat-people, gang-rape, hero, immigration, prostitute/prostitution, rape, refugee