A low-point for its modern action-film auteur, Shamo doesn't reach the uncompromising, breakneck intensity of Dog Bite Dog, or its or Accident's delicate mastery of poetic sunny skies amiss dark-hearted humanity. With some creativity in its blood, but still not as required, nor the dark albeit humane drama common in Soi Cheang films, it's underdeveloped, with even the ring fights being emotionally underwhelming.
This took me by surprise. Expanding on the violence of Dog Bite Dog and refining it with an excess of style. With the one-two punch of brooding, methodical violence in Dog Bite Dog and Shamo, Cheang is looking like HK's answer to Hyams. Maybe not as cerebral but definitely just as menacing. A real nasty beast of a film, cinema dies-hard.