Paramount Motel


A prostitute is found murdered in a room at the Paramount Motel – one of those places where the men cover their faces as they go in and out and where the sheets are changed more often than a young girl’s mind. A top police investigator is given the case and he attaches himself to it with the relentlessness and ferocity of a steel trap. What initially looks to be a simple investigation turns into a dark exploration of corruption that reaches into the police department itself.
Simon Loui and Ti Lung
Ignore the cheap horror/slasher looking cover of the DVD since this film is in fact a terrifically hard driving and well-paced police procedural film directed by Billy Chung. Chung keeps the story focused throughout and utilizes just enough noir like stylistic flourishes – quick dissolving flashbacks, off kilter camera angles, off setting tinted colors and harsh close ups – to keep it interesting but never distracting. He also gets excellent performances from all involved – no one over plays their character – and in particular a superb one from Simon Loui as the dedicated and at times brutal investigating officer. Loui wrote this script as well and created a memorable character for himself.
Pinky Cheung and Ada Choi
Loui starts questioning the friends of the dead woman, Pauline Chan, in order to put context around her life. He learns from the mute hotel clerk, Samuel Leung, that she was thinking about getting out of the business and from her friend, Pinky Cheung, that she had recently fallen for a guy, Jason Chu, who was trying to scam her out of her money. The owner of the hotel, Ada Choi, knew Pauline as well, but seemingly has little to add. All of the illicit threads seem to lead to the malevolent Mr. Sun, played by Ti Lung, a powerful businessman with his fingers in lots of illegal activities. Sun is untouchable though and when Loui attempts to push closer he is called off the case. While pursuing the investigation, Loui also has to deal with his wife, Fennie Yuen, who he learns from private eye, Cheung Tat-ming, is cheating on him with fellow police officer, Wayne Lai. Like a wounded bulldog though, he just continues to press on with the murder investigation. He approaches his job with a Sgt. Joe Friday directness - "just the facts Ma'am", but I can't recall any Dragnet episode in which Friday ties up a suspect and pulls out his teeth with a pair of pliers until he talked.
Fennie Yuen and Pauline Chan
The film takes on a serious tone that it keeps for the entirety of the narrative and is only marred by an ending that felt almost tacked on and out of place. Though low budget in almost every way, Chung and Loui show that a well-written and well-acted film can be a real pleasure - low budget or not.

My rating for this film: 7.0


DVD Information:

Distributed by WideSight

The transfer is fairly decent - clean if not crisp and a bit muted.

Letterboxed

Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks

6 Chapters

The subtitles are burnt on Chinese and English.

This is pretty barebones - no extras at all.