Heaven of Hope

The star power of Anthony Wong and Sam Lee are completely wasted in this effort that left me with a rancid taste in my mouth. I am not entirely clear why. It is certainly unpleasant from the opening credits (a rape) unto the final frame (blood flowing under a door) – but I have been there before in HK films. I think it is more the way in which the film has such a negative unsympathetic viewpoint about the characters. Practically every character is made to look either evil or easily victimized or foolish. It is just an ugly portrait of the human race.
Lee and Wong
Anthony Wong (called Priest here) is an ex-triad and ex-drug user who now counsels juvenile drug offenders at a rehabilitation center. He preaches Christianity to the kids of which they understand nothing. His 15-year old daughter has been missing for two months and he has seemingly done nothing about it until he gets a call from the cops telling him that they have the body of a dead girl with his daughter’s cell phone. It turns out not to be his girl, but this finally spurs him into looking for her.

Here the film could have gotten interesting if it had been done with more focus and a much more intelligent script. It reminded me a bit of the film Hardcore when George C. Scott goes looking for his missing daughter among the underground sex industry of Los Angeles, but it just never rises to the opportunity. Wong’s search takes him into the world of raves, drugs, under age prostitution and nasty triads who are exploiting all these pathetic lives.

Here Wong comes into contact with Sam Lee who is as nasty a bit of work as one can imagine. He abuses his girlfriends – trying to get them into prostitution – and is willing to kill at the request of his big boss – Brother Cool (Wong Ka-lok/Jimmy Wong). Wong keeps digging about and finally Brother Cool decides to teach Wong a lesson. Wong then decides it is finally time to put aside his Christian beliefs regarding non-violence and resort to what he learned in his triad days.
Sam Lee and Brother Cool (Wong Ka-lok)
There is a fair amount of brutal violence – but again it is more the total lack of empathy the film has for any of the characters that makes this less than likable. On top of that the production values and pacing of the film are not particularly good. As the only saving grace, at least Wong does give us his patented psycho look!

My rating for this film: 4.0