Steve Cheng, the director of this film, has made
some low budget horror films over the last couple of years that have been
well received– Troublesome Night, Horoscope I and II and Erotic Nightmare
– but never has he had to deal with horror elements such as this in one
of his films. Here’s something that can send chills up the spine of any
director – Michael Wong in a dramatic role. Projectile vomiting, decapitation,
ghosts that go green in the night, squirmy rubber monsters – anything but
Michael Wong doing drama and smoking those damn cigars of his! On top of
this, Cheng is saddled with a script so frighteningly inept that it could
keep any director awake at night staring at the ceiling.
Like many recent HK films there seems to be
some potentially interesting ideas within the film, but either a low budget
or a lack of time or lack of energy just sabotages the whole affair. A
few scenes play out well – but most of them barely reach a level of mediocrity
– undercut by a lack of focus and a lack of imagination. This is your basic
serial killer receiving messages from God film that has been done to death.
It begins with a hint of promise though.
Moses Chan is tracking down the “cross killer”
on a dark rain slickened Hong Kong night and follows him into a bar where
a group of cops are throwing a party for Michael Wong. The “cross killer”
has been killing clients of prostitutes by cutting their throats, slicing
off their genitalia, carving a cross on them and putting a wafer into their
mouths. While in the bar looking for the killer, Chan and Wong get into
an argument – and it turns out that at one time both were courting Wong’s
wife (Astrid Chan). A couple shooters come into the bar looking for
Wong and in the following melee Wong “accidentally” shoots Moses. Or was
it? His wife doesn’t think so and leaves him. Moses spends the remainder
of the film in a coma – lucky him – I wish I could have done the same!
Wong brings all of his dramatic training to bear
here – and he almost looks upset that he shot an old friend and that his
wife has left him. I think I look more concerned when I put a plastic bottle
into the regular trash by mistake rather than the recycling bin! Wong just
lights up one of his cigars – and decides to track down the killer himself.
To help him, he enlists the aid of Anthony Wong a low-level pimp with a
debt problem and a fatherly protective love for his virgin daughter (Chai
Chi Yiu). Virgin though she may be – she helps dad with his money problems
by offering men oral satisfaction in movie theaters. Considering the state
of films in HK these days . . . well never mind! Anthony’s performance
is mailed in from another time zone – though his gold lame jacket adds
a nice tacky touch and he has one scene in which he gets to curse someone
out in nicely British accented English.
Though I think the filmmakers are trying to
keep the identity of the killer hidden from the viewer – he remains hooded
for much of the film – if you have seen many HK films once you see this
actor you will know immediately that he is the killer. He always plays
a wacko – kind of a minor league Francis Ng.
It all plays out as expected – the killer goes
after the virgin – puts her up on a cross – and so on. By the end of the
film the viewer is left wanting to do a Marlon Brando impersonation “The
horror, the horror”.
My rating for this film: 4.5