The Wrath of Silence


Director: Frankie Chan (Burning Ambition, Outlaw Brothers, Fun and Fury)
1994

The one thing about Frankie Chan films is that he likes to keep things moving and he does that at light speed in this totally nutty totally illogical psycho serial killer crime tale. I think Chanís theory of film making is that if the movie never slows down the audience canít catch it and thus realize they have a rat instead of a fox in their hands. But taking that into account, this fruitcake of a film has some scenes of pure adrenaline pleasure. It also has some pedigree. Frankie Chan was perhaps best known as a martial arts actor (Prodigal Son), also as a composer (Ashes of Time and a ton of others) and then as a director of mainly B action films. He brings along his co-composer of Ashes and Chungking Express Roel Garcia to write the music for this one. Doing the action choreography is Mars of the Jackie Chan School. And then in the cast he has Anita Yuen, Takashi Kaneshiro , Ha Ping and Maggie Siu. Not bad at all. Even Jackie Chan makes a cameo of sorts in a Bo Bo Tea commercial. Of course on the other hand Emily Kwan is doing her horny suspect beating cop bit Ė generally a solid hint that the film leans to the trashy side.

Anita Yuen plays Mei, a beautician to the dead, who is clearly on the edge of cracking up as she sews up their injuries by candlelight and converses with them because they canít gossip. She is following in the footsteps of her dead mother in this career choice, but it has made her a social pariah as no one wants to be close to someone who touches the dead for a living. At home, life isnít much better, her younger sister (Helen Au) is mentally challenged and as irritating as any actress could make her, but Mei feels very protective of her and had promised their mother to take care of her. Mei has turned their apartment into this bizarre convoluted maze of moving walls and hidden closet doors in order to sometimes keep her sister under control Ė and it turns out to be very handy later on. She is seeing a psychiatrist Ė Patrick Ko (Takeshi) Ė who uses close dancing as therapy and analyzes how Mei reacts to his pelvic thrusts Ė not a therapy I am familiar with. He also keeps a sharp knife out within the grasp of his patients Ė not probably recommended either.

A horrific serial killer is on the loose in Hong Kong. Pal (Tan Lap-man) likes to take them to rooftops, beat them up, rape them, kill them and throw money at them for servicing him. He also keeps cockroaches in his pocket and lizards and tarantulas at home. Hopefully, none of you are dating someone like this. Yes, your typical bug-eyed maniacal grinning Hong Kong psycho. His next victim is Meiís sister and though the audience is sort of glad she is gone, this is the final crack in Meiís psyche and she goes into killer mode. The problem is that Patrick was on the scene and tried to stop the killer to no avail but everyone thinks he is the serial killer. Mei isnít about to wait for the cops and tries killing him with everything in sight Ė knife, poison, axe and to top it off she happens to be carrying a cross-bow. Eventually though the truth is revealed to her and she teams up with Patrickís lawyer cousin (Maggie) to take on this demented force and the final fifteen minutes is a frantic cat and mouse whirlwind of swirling walls, twirling blades, near escapes and total ferocity. It is a great finale and Anita looks surprisingly nice in loco mode.

My rating for this film: 6.5