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Archive for July 10th, 2009

Murdering Murderer

As a Chinese person, if I sat down in a movie theater and saw a movie with Caucasian actors taping their eyes to appear slanted speaking fake “ching-chong” Chinese and making each other eat “fried lice” for 120 minutes, I would only have half the anger and shock I did coming out of Roy Chow’s Murderer.


“Bet you didn’t know this movie sucks when you paid for it.”

I apologize for calling Roy Chow “Andy Chow” when I posted the trailer, by the way. But I will not apologize for this review.First, the relative pros: Horror fans will like the gore. The movie has some very unsettling and very violent scenes, and it makes for a fairly unpleasant viewing experience, if you like that kind of thing. Aaron Kwok was also OK, although he certainly am vying for getting his picture under “trying too hard” in the dictionary.

Yes, I know that’s not a word in the dictionary.

But never have I seen a film that falls so far off the cliff that it drilled a 50-feet crater into the ground. It tries so hard to find its way out, but it just digs itself deeper and deeper.

On the website of the film, the crew section is called the “perpetrator” section, and it’s certainly right of them to do so: The cinematic crime they have committed earns them the right to be labeled as criminals.

And yet, despite the immensely idiotic twist provided by scriptwriter Christine To Chi-Long, I can’t completely blame her for this mess. As a semi-experienced screenwriter, I know that no movie is ever made from one draft. A movie, especially one as commercial as this, has producers and even the director to have the logic and the correct judgment to know when something on paper will just not work. For co-producer Bill Kong and director Roy Chow to not even consider how moronic its film’s third act is puts them equally at fault for this mess.

Roy Chow was on Ang Lee’s assistant on Lust, Caution (a fact endlessly hyped by Edko’s publicity department, as if it means more than delivering coffee and calling for cars), and Lee is put under the “special thanks” section in the credits. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lee only read about 80 pages of the script, and I definitely won’t be surprised if he ends up calling Chow wanting his name removed from this movie.

I was angry at Transformers 2 for its juvenile humor and its complete waste of US$200 million when that money could’ve gone not blowing things up good. I am angrier at this because even HK$0.1 was even spent in putting this movie on film when there are actually talented people out there who could’ve taken the potential this film had and made something coherent out of it.

This certainly won’t damage the career of seasoned professionals like cinematographer Lee Ping-Bing, editor Cheung Ka-Fai. and composer Shigeru Umebayashi because they did their best with what they had, and I’m sure even they laughed boisterously when they saw what they had to work with. The problem is this won’t even damage the careers of Chow (who’s also the Project Development Director of Edko Films) or To (whose last several produced scripts are all released by Edko).

I can only hope the word-of-mouth will be so bad that it will result in one of the largest second-week drops in Hong Kong cinema history. As the audience was leaving, two HK-ers passed by Sean Tierney, who was sitting next to me, and said to him in English, “so sh*t!”, which prompted Mr. Tierney to not only agree, but to raise them with a “double sh*t”.

I hope logical HK audiences would agree with this assessment, but from reading the Uwant forums, people seem to like the movie simply because they couldn’t guess who the murderer is.

I never thought eating cow dung would be a good idea, but eating it because no one would expect me to eat it doesn’t make me a culinary genius, either.

But if I had to guess what cow dung tastes like, I’d take in a screening of Murderer.

I did, and I can tell you it’s no gourmet. Copyright © 2002-2024 Ross Chen