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Wed of Deception
 
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AKA: Deception "It's AT&T again, isn't it? Tell them I already switched to Sprint!"
Brigitte Lin and Pauline Wong
Year: 1989
Director: David Chung Chi-Man
Producer:  Tsui Hark
Cast: Brigitte Lin Ching-Hsia, Joey Wong Cho-Yin, Pauline Wong Siu-Fung, Elizabeth Lee Mei-Fung, Waise Lee Chi-Hung
The Skinny: Involving thriller that makes up for its silliness with fine acting, good suspense, and great stars. An entertaining, enjoyably dark suspense thriller.
Review
by Kozo:
     Brigitte Lin gets the screws put to her in Web of Deception, an enjoyably silly suspense thriller that entertains as it strains believability. Lin plays Lin, a successful businesswoman who's just about to emigrate to Canada. However, she's blackmailed by an unseen party, which leads her to suspect a couple of possible blackmailers: her longtime, ostensibly loyal assistant May (Pauline Wong), and her shady broker Miss Chow (Elizabeth Lee).
     Lin has Miss Chow obtain the blackmail money, which she hides in her house. Unfortunately, Queenie (Joey Wong), May's ultra-sweet roomate, shows up at Lin's house to steal the blackmail money—not because she's the blackmailer, but because her twin sister Cat (also Joey Wong, natch) is being threatened by evil debt-collecting triads. When Lin discovers Queenie is in her house, there's a struggle, which leads to a spiralling series of tense incidents as the various possible evildoers attempt to outwit and/or entrap Lin in her own home. Meanwhile, Lin attempts to turn the tables on her tormentors, though she still isn't too sure who they are.
     Web of Deception works best when it gives the viewer information that the characters themselves are not privy to. Cat shows up pretending to be Queenie, which May herself hasn't figured out yet. May claims that Lin can trust her, but clearly she can't. Even Lin gets in on the duplicity, pretending to get along with her antagonists when she clearly knows that they cannot be trusted. The ins-and-outs of all this duplicity and double-crossing strains credibility; you have to wonder just how stupid Lin is to have a supposed private nurse (Cat pretending to be Queenie pretending to be a private nurse) get the run of the house.
     Still, the cat-and-mouse positioning of the characters makes for wickedly involving cinema. Likewise, the actors turn in explempary performances for what is essentially a B-grade potboiler. Joey Wong is convincing both as the too-sweet-to-be-criminal Queenie and the conniving Cat, and Pauline Wong is compelling as the emotionally-conflicted May. Brigitte Lin anchors things with her typically commanding screen presence. Director David Chung Chi-Man keeps things moving efficiently, and producer Tsui Hark's presence can be felt in the strong female characters and the twisting narrative. Web of Deception is far from a perfect film, as its plot too often relies on dumb luck and convenient misdirection, but it's a darkly enjoyable thriller nonetheless. (Kozo 1995/2004)
Awards:

The 9th Annual Hong Kong Film Awards
Nomination - Best Supporting Actress (Pauline Wong Siu-Fung)
 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Fortune Star / Deltamac
Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Fortune Star

 
 
 
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