Casting: Zhen ZHANG、Yang LISA、Guozhu ZHANG、Jin ELAINE、Ming Xu、Shujun NI
Xiao Si’r, literally meaning the fourth child of the family, is a 14-year-old who has just entered junior high. His father, Zhang Ju, a middle-aged scholarly civil servant, reckoning his once promising career was not heading anywhere, pins his hopes on his five children (three daughters, two sons). Deeply influenced by his father’s humanistic idealism, XiaoSi’r also believes that the world can be bettered by human will and effort, and that one’s future can be shaped by one’s courage and faith. Nonetheless, having failed to win a place in Day School, Xiao Si’r has to settle for a place in the less prestigious. Night School of junior high.
At school, Xiao Si’r’s closest buddies are Cat and Airplane, both members of the Little Park gang, a street gang named after a small local park, where the ice cream parlour is their hang-out. The gang membevs are all sons of civil servants living in the area. But the gang is in danger of falling apart. Its leader, Honey, has fled to southern Taiwan after killing a rival gang-leader in a fight over a girl named Ming.
Xiao Si’r meets Ming for the first time one Saturday afternoon at the school clinic. Knowing that Ming is the girlfriend of the fugitive Little Park leader, Xiao Si’r carefully keeps his distance. Nevertheless, he still takes her to his favorite hiding place in the rafters of the nearby film studio. Because of Ming’s alleged associations with various neighborhood gangs, Xiao Si’r is hesitant to reveal his immediate irresistible liking for her. But Ming, driven by a growing sense of insecurity after Honey’s disappearance, shows her fondness for Xiao Si’r rather openly.
Xiao Si’r’s involvement with Ming, however, leads him into the orbit of street-gang feud. The immediate trouble is the inevitable power struggle within the leaderless Little Park gang. Cat and Airplane suddenly find themselves sided disadvantagedly with Honey’s brother, Deuce, who is too wrapped up in rock’n’roll singing to concentrate on running the gang. Little Park’s arch enemy, the 217 gang—named after the military housing project where their families reside-plots to take over Little Park’s territory by offering alliance to Deuce’s arch rival and Little Park gang member, Sly, who is eager to become leader of Little Park gang.
Disguised as a sailor, Honey returns from the south in desperation to repair damages, but finds the situation to be hopelessly irreversible. Disillusioned by the deterioration of traditional gang-work ethics, Honey decides to take on the entire 217s by himself. At a sell out rock concert with Deuce and Cat performing vocals as a supporting act, and the 217s sevving as bouncers at Sly’s invitation to celebrate his takeover of the Little Park gang, Honey unexpectedly shows up. His lonesome valor only proves to be suicidal. Shandong, leader of the 217s, tricks and pushes Honey under a passing truck.
Ming who went back to Honey’s side upon his return to Taipei, collapses when she receives the news of his death. Inspired by Honey’s heroics, Xiao Si’r finds courage to tell Ming his intention of succeeding Honey in her heart. Distant, she rejects him flatly. His ensuing depression is eased by a new found friendship with Ma, a transfer student from a top military family, a reputed loner rumored amongst the street gangs to have killed a guy once.
To avenge Honey’s death, Deuce turns to the all powerful Wanhua Market gang for help. The reprisal raid takes place on the night of a typhoon, with Xaio Si’r surprisingly called to take park. Both the 217’s favorite pool-hall hang-out and the ice-cream parlour where Sly frequents are hit. Shandong is found amongst the dead after the carnage. Sly, however, manages to escape with his life. When Xiao Si’r gets home that night, he learns that his father has been taken away for interrogation by the secret police for allegations of Communist involvement.
Having braved widespread bureaucratic corruption stemming from his generation’s escalating disillusionment, Zhang finds his effort to retain dignity and integrity crushed by the grueling days and nights of questioning. His spirit broken and his career in ruins, Zhang suspects a betrayal by his closest friend Wang to be responsible for his plight. With the family being shrouded in gloom upon the release of a devastated father, Xiao Si’r cheers up when Ming returns to acknowledge their mutual affection.
The social unacceptability of adolescent love affairs complicates into a head-on conflict with school officials, and Xiao Si’r’s father is summoned to school. His father’s appeal for clemency resulting in his open humiliation by the Conduct Dean, causes Xiao Si’r to explode with rage against the bureaucratic head. Xiao Si’r is expelled from school. Driven by a deep sense of pride to make up for the disgrace he brought to his family, Xiao Si’r resolves to enter the city’s best junior high. Preparing in earnest for the entrance exam, he even decides not to see Ming until his family honor has been restored. However, his concentration is disrupted as the rumor about Ming’s track record of being unfaithful to her boyfriends begins to surface. His optimism finally gives in when Sly, who disappeared after the massacre, turns up again to confirm the story about Ma dating Ming.
Understanding perfectly that he is no match for a seasoned fighter like Ma, Xiao Si’r challenges Ma to a duel for which he is prepared to be killed, believing his death will bring about an awakening in Ming of her own honor.
The duel never takes place, for Ma is scared off by Xiao Si’r’s determination. Instead, as Evening Class ends, Ming emerges from the school, and is surprised to find Xiao Si’r waiting beside Ma’s bicycle.
On the evening when Xiao Si’r’s father’s career takes a hopeful turn, the family is shocked to learn from the police that their son had committed murder of a 14-year-old girl on her way home from school.
Because he is a juvenile, his death sentence is commuted to 15 years of imprisonment.
Two months later, Cat visits the prison with a gift for xiao Si’r: a tape with news about the letter he has received from Elvis Presley.