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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.

15 Responses to “Murdering Murderer”

  1. Sanjuro Says:

    You’ve really piqued my interest — not into actually seeing the film, mind you, but in terms wanting to know just how horrible the ending is.

  2. achillesgirl Says:

    Thanks for the advice. I’m taking it.

  3. theTruth Says:

    To the author of this article:
    Do you call this a review? All I can see here is one big rant at something that you clearly dislike. Sure you can make known your opinion of the movie, but to call it a “review”, you really need to do more than this mess.

  4. James Says:

    I haven’t been to a ‘cinema’ in approximately three years. Don’t blame the producers, blame the audience, you payed right??

  5. GoldenRockProductions Says:

    Hello, theTruth,

    According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a review is “6a: a critical evaluation (as of a book or play)”. This blog post (though I thank you for elevating it to “article” status) may not be particularly articulate evaluation of this film, but it is my opinion. And for that, I’m glad that you could gather that I didn’t like the movie.

    I wrote on the front page that this is a “special” review, which you probably now realize means “specially crappy”. For real “reviews”, you can check the main page, and you’ll find a review written by a much better writer than me. This is a blog, which by the way is defined on the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer”. I have all three. Yay.

    Hello, James,

    Believe it or not, one of the fundamental theories of economics is that one provides a service after another person pays for it. Watching a film by paying for it is the only logical thing to do, and is the only way I have the legitimate right to an opinion. If you’re implying I should’ve downloaded the film, it’s like me stealing a candy bar and thinking I have the right to go back to the store asking for a refund because it expired.

  6. quadshock Says:

    right on with the paying comment.

    I really wanted to see this, but not so much anymore unfortunately. I guess I’ll wait for that Lau Ching Wan/Louis Koo/Daniel Wu flick

  7. YTSL Says:

    Hi Golden Rock –

    I understand your pain but because I was forewarned about the movie, thought that MURDERER was bad but not even the worst Hong Kong movie I’ve seen this year — for the record, that honor goes to PLASTIC CITY — and definitely not as offensive as “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”.

    On a more positive note: watching a film like this must give you — an aspiring screenwriter — hope that you’ll be able to find employment within the Hong Kong film industry as it seems like it’s crying out for good scriptwriters… especially those who are content to be scriptwriters rather than insist on directing the films whose scripts they write.

  8. Timo Says:

    Can just finally someone please, PLEASE spoil that damn ending so that all us people who have zero intention of fully watching this apparent trainwreck from start to end but who are still curious about what exactly makes it so horrible are still satisfied?



  9. 聚言莊﹕The House Where Words Gather Says:

    […] it should fizzle out quickly as it’s getting killed here on LoveHKFilm (Kozo’s review, The Golden Rock blog post) and on Chinese-language discussion boards.  I’m always dispirited when I hear that a […]

  10. achillesgirl Says:

    Timo is right!

    Please spoil the ending!!

  11. Gooshnads Says:

    Okay so i thought this was gonna be a great movie… i saw the interview with Aaron Kwok and he was like “My whole personality changed during the shooting of this movie” So on and so forth
    I supposed it was gonna be some Heath Ledger shit (with him and Joker) BUT THEN i saw the movie
    It was good… until the latter half when the 40 year old man started talking (not rly spoilers until u’ve watched it)
    MY GOD it was SO STUPID
    From there it just went downhill… it was SO absurd. When i walked out everyone was laughing and saying WTF WAS THAT…
    I said, i thought transformers ROTF sucked… Robot heaven? WTH IS THAT?
    When i thought it couldnt get worse… it DOES.. argh im so angry that i spent my money just 3 hours ago!

  12. Eight Rooks Says:

    Seems like it from Gooshnads’ comment, but can someone who saw it check the Wikipedia entry and confirm whether or not that’s actually the twist? Because if so, Jesus, I can understand why people would have been howling with laughter.

  13. GoldenRockProductions Says:

    Yes. Wikipedia is right, for once.

  14. Ricky Says:

    Actually, the newly released Hollywood horror film called Orphan has a very similar twist ending.

  15. ekh Says:

    omg….. watched this w/out checking anything out prior. was excited to see Aaron in another thriller type role. 1st half was excellent, nice build, good tension and nice plot turns and then WTF? ahahahaha hah ah aha ah ah. so sorry.

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