The Killer's Love

Reviewed by YTSL

Simon Yam and Carol “Do Do” Cheng are two Hong Kong movie luminaries who appear to have their share of local and overseas fans.  Nevertheless, they don’t seem to be quite as greatly celebrated -- plus didn’t made as immediate as well as huge an impact on this (re)viewer as -- the likes of Michelle Yeoh, Maggie Cheung, Brigitte Lin and Jet Li.  Latterly, I have had reasons to count my blessings that this is so.  By this, I mean that because I often don’t know all that much about quite a few of the works which I have discovered to be veritable star vehicles for this enduring twosome (and coincidingly or consequently go into viewings of such as “Wonder Women” -- a female-bonding film which had Ms. Cheng apparently playing against type as a ditzy also-ran beauty contestant with a good nature and prominent bust line -- or the gigolo comedies that truly are graced by the presence of the Yam man without particularly high expectations), they it has been that have provided me with some of my most gratifying Hong Kong cinematic surprises.

And so it happily proved to be the case once more with this evidently rarely reviewed plus under-rated 1993 David Lam production, whose multi-genre makeup: can be seen by its starting off as a comedy, then moving on to possess action sections -- in which one cute child, a physically attractive young woman and more than one man get killed -- but also having its share of romantic moments and actually English subtitled Cantopop montages; plus was surely hinted at by way of the offering bearing the title of THE KILLER’S LOVE.  As might be expected, Simon Yam comes across as suitably suave when playing a well paid assassin who has the confidence as well as prowess to execute his hits -- and then make a successful escape -- in broad daylight, public places and foreign countries like Singapore as well as his native Hong Kong.  Probably less predictably is it being so that, during one of this virtually always stylishly dressed individual’s more danger-fraught -- for him as well as others -- operations, he -- who had been assigned to end the life of a former friend -- gets mistaken by Do Do Cheng’s rather naive plus prim and proper character to be the sort of “duck” that she had, just prior to their chance encounter, very amusingly demonstrated that she knew far less about than the feathered kind that people cook and eat.
After being accidentally foiled from completing his unsavory task the first time around, Simon’s Cheung Wan Lun character needed a quiet and far from obvious place to hide out and wait for another opportunity to finish his job.  As luck would have it (and in a way that -- it must be said -- seems to only occur in movies), Do Do’s Lee Tai Ho character was carrying a piece of paper advertising her seeking a lodger -- as a result of her brother being shortly due to head off to Beijing for a few months and thus leave his room in the house that they shared all empty and available for rent -- in a handbag that she dropped and forgot to retrieve after her initial meeting with the gentleman whose far from conventional actions had given her fairly good, even if actually erroneous, cause to think that he was a gigolo.  After opening the handbag that Miss Lee had left behind and finding the “to let” notice (along with such as the ID card which provided him with some more information re her), Lun looked to have decided that it would be pretty ideal for him to go and stay for a time with the not terribly astute single female (who turned out to be a virginal New Territories villager as well as a “no nonsense” teacher -- of biology plus gardening -- at the local school).
The first person Lun encounters at his latest choice of temporary abode is Miss Lee’s brother, who positively leapt at the cash laden contract killer’s ludicrously inflated offer of US$10,000 to occupy his place in his absence.  Although others in the village (as well as Miss Lee herself) weren’t moved to welcome the handsome stranger’s sudden appearance in their out the way neck of the woods with as majorly open arms early on, they -- who include Brother Tai Mo (the aspiring District Councilor and big palooka son of the village headman is played by THE KILLER’S LOVE director and scriptwriter, Jamie Luk) and Miss Lee’s fellow teacher and best friend, Law Kar Kar (who I think was charmingly essayed by Angile Leung) -- soon found themselves warming to a fellow who they came to see as a morally reformed being as well as someone who didn’t look to mean any harm to any one (of them).  In turn, Lun slowly but surely developed a definite appreciation of life as a member of the rural community and in general, plus an affection for the physically on the plain side -- yet hard to resist (in large part because she’s so unpretentious and “totally natural” as well as very radiant when in love) -- Tai Ho.
For those who worry that THE KILLER’S LOVE sounds like a film that starts off with a bang but then descends into completely mushy touchy feely territory, here’s stating that they are reckoning without the character played by Karel Wong (who didn’t appear important enough to have his name be disclosed but nevertheless has a far from insignificant role in this at times unfortunately not very smoothly edited 79 minute length effort).  A professional murderer who happens to be distinctly more cold-hearted and mean-spirited than Lun, he aspires to topple the older man from his position as a top gun for hire and, in the process, threatens to ruin things for the work’s titular personality as well as his love.  Hopefully, those who choose to view this Mandarin Films production will prove to have as much heart as it; in which case they will very much approve of what fate had in store for its pair of personable protagonists plus main supporting characters (along with the way that the movie’s makers opted for the “they sadly don’t seem to make ’em like this anymore” offering to conclude).

My rating for this film: 7.5