The Other Side of the Sea

Once again Michelle Reis takes on the character of a cold-blooded professional killer (Black Morning Glory being another). It’s hard to imagine anyone looking less like a killer than the ravishing and pouty faced Michelle Reis – but I have to say she looks very chic whether thrusting a hairpin into a man’s jugular or slashing a razor across a man’s throat. And she can take a bullet as well as any professional killer can. I lost track of how often she gets wounded and keeps going – and killing – and still looking so beautiful.
It’s a film that is a bit difficult to define – the first hour is generally very lyrical, gentle and character driven – but then in the final thirty minutes it turns into a killing ground – almost ludicrously so as the killing goes on and on. The first part is actually much better done from a cinematic perspective – poetic and refreshing - but I must say that as unrealistic, overly melodramatic and cheesy as the second part becomes – I enjoyed it more. There was just something about watching Michelle putting into action her version of population control that was quite fun – silly but fun.
Michelle shows up one sleepy summer day in a small slow paced fishing village on the island of Lantau. She is on the run, in hiding and recovering from betrayal and a shot to the stomach. She finds refuge in a small inn that is run by Vincent Wan – a sweet caring man – who quickly falls in love with Michelle. The days go by slowly and silently and Michelle recovers from both her physical and mental wounds and is eventually accepted by the village folk. In a few flashbacks her story is told. She grew up in wartime Vietnam – escaped to HK as a teenager – and found the only options available to her were to become a prostitute or become a killer. She chose the less painful one and joins a Murder Inc. type organization. After years of killing, she finally has had enough and decides to walk away from this world – but there is no walking away from that life – and they send a loved one to kill her.
Even on Lantau Island though her old life catches up with her and she returns to HK to try and get a passport so that she can leave. The killing begins. Lots of it. A seemingly endless supply of hitmen are sent after her (headed by Xiong Xin-Xin) and very few make it home for dinner. The streets of HK are littered with dead bodies but no one seems to really notice. Michelle is great – killing from every conceivable position – sliding backwards down some stairs, leaping into the ocean and while locked to a bed even manages to make it into a deadly weapon and kill a few people with it. Remember beds don’t kill people – people do!
And it even gets more ridiculous – as Michelle once again retreats to that small town – finds solace in the arms of Vincent and then the killing begins again. An army of bad guys shuts down the entire town as they search for Michelle. The best cheesy part has to be when Michelle and Vincent find themselves surrounded by more gun toting men than at a NRA convention and both are bleeding profusely from more bullet holes than you want to count – and they begin whispering sweet nothings to one another. “So you are a killer. OK – so you have killed nearly 200 people in your life – OK in the last day or two – I still know you are a good person and I love you”. It’s that kind of movie. I just go with it and don’t question the absurdity of it all.

My rating for this film: 7.5