The Pang Brothers have so far produced a series of hits and misses, and that too even in their own individual film pursuits. They have unique ideas especially for the horror/thriller genres, but somehow have not always been successful in crafting a solid, punchy finale to finish off their stories that have always started off quite brightly. Which makes it a disappointment, and anti-climatic. Alas this continues even in Danny Pang's Fairy Tale Killers, a film that even the evergreen and reliable Lau Ching Wan had failed to save.
Lau plays Han, a cop who has questionable morals, and this even extends to his subordinates. After all, as the Chinese saying goes, if the upper beams are crooked, so too are the bottom columns. It's a relatively unique set up in that we know upfront that the protagonist is going to have something bite back at him for his lack of honesty and integrity when in a job that calls for such values, and one who doesn't have any qualms at backstabbing others just to ensure his expected promotion plans doesn't hit a brick wall.
Trouble begins when they arrest Jun (Wang Baoqiang) whom the investigations team think is nuts, since he provided them a name of someone he had killed, but whom they had found alive. They release Jun, only to find that his victim (Lam Suet) got killed eventually. Worried that their superiors have found out that they had intelligence on a pre-meditative killing but had released the culprit so that he can do what he told them, they begin to concoct a cover up and try to re-arrest Jun, which is where trouble continued.
As with all serial killer movies, the killings often follow a ritual, and here they are something that vaguely resembled fairy tales as the title had suggested. Vaguely. And in true blue Pang brothers style, the story here falls back on the horror genre style of revelation, where everything will finally get rationalized with a real world situation stemming from unfair treatment or abuse. Here, it relied very much on Wang Baoqiang's ability to play crazed, and Elanne Kwong's unremarkable turn in playing a mute, almost deranged artist whom Jun has the hots for, where they have eloped from their institution. How they survive from children to adulthood get brushed aside into acceptance of this movie logic, if only to draw a connection between them and Lau Ching Wan's cop.
It's more about a tale of redemption and morality, but one that was meandering and bogged down with unnecessary subplots, and weak villains so to speak. Lau Ching Wan can only do so much with a character which I admit is written with loads of potential, but stuck in situations that are relatively absurd. Many things get explained away very conveniently, if at all, and the domestic issues Han face really plodded the pace, with Han having to deal with his wife (Joey Meng) and autistic son, and often getting chided for spending more time than necessary on his job rather than on the family.
If I had my way, this should have just focused squarely on the one-upmanship between killers and cops, rather than to try and include some moralistic smarts just for the sake of. Drama isn't the Pang's forte, and this film exposes Danny's shortcomings in this area, making Fairy Tale Killers lack its desired happily ever after as a movie.