Monday, March 26, 2007

[HKIFF] The Untold Story (Baat Sin Faan Dim Ji Yan Yuk Cha Siu Baau)

Good Stuff Cannot Bluff

This year's HKIFF has director Herman Yau's movies in retrospect, and features some of his adult cult classics like The Untold Story, and Ebola Syndrome. There would be no way that I would pass on the opportunity to watch these movies on the big screen, in 35mm format.

The Untold Story tells of a heinous crime that reportedly took place in 80s Macau, where the entire family of the Eight Immortals Restaurant were slaughtered, their bodies dismembered, the bones dumped into trash, and their flesh, as the title already states, gets put as fillings into roast meat buns. Anthony Wong plays the chief villain Wong Chi Hang, who refuses to acknowledge the dastardly murders he had committed, and gives an impressive performance as a dangerous, calculative criminal behind those nerdy looking spectacles.

This Category III movie is unflinching in its violence, and not just those involving weapons like butcher knives, but seemingly innocent utensils like ladles and chopsticks will never be looked upon in the same light again. Women and children are not spared the graphicness of it all, and although some acts were done off screen, it is chilling enough to send shivers, no thanks to the gleefully evil expression of Wong the actor. Rape, dismemberment, beheadings, immolation, they're all here to earn this adult movie its cult status.

Danny Lee, a regular in cop movies in the 80s and also a producer of the film, plays a cop with shady morals here, with preference for hookers and breaking protocol by bringing them regularly to crime scenes and the police station. It's quite a departure from the straight heroic roles he plays ever so often. Besides watching him in action (haven't seen him in a while), another "oldie" Seng Fui On is in the movie as a jailbird who bears a grudge against Wong Chi Hang. Watching a host of other familiar faces brings back that sense of nostalgia.

But perhaps what made this movie stand out, is its portrayal of the police force as a bunch of bumbling officers (in a way) with its blend of comedy, and its stark portrayal of questionable interrogation tactics which probably wouldn't get passed today, and would definitely be frowned upon.

It's a wicked delight to indulge in the enjoyment of this movie, and I'd recommend anyone who wants to watch this, to watch it on the big screen in 35mm format at whatever opportunity that comes by.

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