It can be a modern "The Five Venoms".
Bernice Liu starring Giallo seasoned by the full Chinese martial arts featuring the top athlete actors including Jiang Lu-xia and Andy On. Visually stunning, filmed by Herman Yau. It’s a dark masterpiece that only Chinese can introduce. The title means "Extermination of the kinsmen".
Bernice Liu perfectly fascinated me. Her role "Audrey" is the literal heroine of this dark story. She was a neat young lady at the beginning. The hair transformation from long to short, it was her switch. Her new style evokes Mathilda of Léon. Then, she activates her cruel plan in earnest with a "double bladed dagger". This is the crucial difference with other serial killers. She kills by Chinese martial arts mixed Karate.
Audrey is stunning. She dressed in total black with naturally the black eyes and the black hair. The invincible and merciless assassin, she is a new template of the antiheroine.
In fact, two years later, a Taiwanese actress Lena played similar style assassin in Naked Soldier and Jiang Lu-xia participated in this film. There is perhaps a relationship between these films.
By the way, she cut her very long hair in the film. It was one of the shocking scenes of this film. Wasn’t it a wig?
Who killed Jason?
It’s apparently Audrey. She intentionally took her time and was waiting for Jason to pull the trigger of the bomb. Then, she did a performance to not be suspected by the police. She was changing her knickers while Jason is dying. It symbolizes "Sex & Violence" which is the notion flowing to the bottom of this film.
The King of Fighters
It’s in the dark past of the director of glorious Beast Cops. A film called The King of Fighters in which the awkward cosplayers of Kusanagi Kyō and Ryo Sakazuki seem try to do something. Please don’t ask me about Mai Shiranui. I don’t see this film.
However, Bernice Liu plays Vice. This is undoubtedly a perfect realization except the strange costume. She will be the only value of this film. Then, my dear Mature? Where is she?
Honestly, I didn’t have any intentions to see this film, but there is a word "Nothing ventured, nothing gained". I’ll try whether I can gain something from there. No kidding.
Jiang Lu-xia is a national certified martial arts athlete of Mainland. She is strong in real and cute at the same time. She is just fabulous.
Her appearance was my strongest motivation to see this film. She plays a physically mute girl as perhaps she wasn’t a fluent Cantonese speaker.
She is a counterpart of Audrey. She is an orphan. She has nothing except her beloved elder brother. Audrey kills her brothers to only satisfy her desires. In contrast, she tries to sacrifice herself for her brother.
She is match for a thousand. She lures the myriad enemies into a narrow space and beats them one by one. Her martial arts are fully featured, furthermore filmed by Herman Yau. It means supreme though her last moment was disastrous.
Andy On is obviously the king of Taiwanese actors in the martial arts, the acting and the looks. I think that Johnnie To knows well his talent from Mad Detective. I preferentially buy his starring films along with Andy Lau and Nicholas Tse.
Big four martial arts experts
At the beginning, Andy On, Ken Lo and Xiong Xin-xin fight together. It’s a marvellous dream for a Hong Kong cinema maniac. Ken Lo is well known as a member of Jackie Chan Stunt Team. He is also a regular of Dennis Low film.
Xiong Xin-xin is also a martial arts champion of Mainland. He joined into Lau Kar-leung stunt team in 1987 and was working as a stunt double of Jet Lee and Chow Yun-fat. Then, Tsui Hark found his talent as an actor. He played the villain in The Blade.
Moreover, the big brother Michael Chan with a semi long white wig! That was the biggest surprise. That’s a bad guy. He fights with a Katana because he knows how to use it from his starred Five Element Ninjas.
A beautiful young lady was a macabre serial killer. In fact, this film is a sort of Giallo which is such as a novel of Agatha Christie. This genre almost doesn’t exist in Hong Kong cinema.
Dennis Law was breaking new ground. He wrote the scenario, directed and produced this film by himself. One of the achievements of this film is the scenario. It’s perfectly coherent. The center of the story is always kept in Audrey. There are no whims because each scenes were already calculated. The plot is rationally advancing in order to the climax.
The ending, it’s like a sudden death, but there is firmly the lingering emotions. It was the best choice. The original film title, "Extermination of the kinsmen" was completed. A redundant epilogue isn’t required.
This transience at last reminds me of a Chang Cheh film. Yes, The Five Venoms was a Giallo and the assassination among the kinsmen.
As an aside, if George Hilton is in a Giallo, he is the criminal.
Dennis Law often features the young Chinese martial arts masters also from Mainland and Taiwan. That was the reason that I chose his films. I know Fatal Contact and Fatal Move of my favourite Wu Jing. However, these were too pessimistic and aesthetic like a tragic romance novel.
Dennis Law was a chairman of Milkyway Image and working with Johnnie To. Their style to the cinema gradually differentiated and finally separated.
The basis of Dennis Law is in the pathos. It isn’t quite my taste. Nevertheless, "Bad Blood" is a definite masterpiece. He apparently established his own style from this film.
This is the posthumous work as an actor of Wong Tin-lam who is the father of Wong Jing. He is a legendary director who made numerous films in 50-60s. He was participating as an actor in over 60 films. He is regularly in a film of his son and sometimes in a Johnnie To film.
His fixed role in a Wong Jing film was the godfather who doesn’t take a remarkable action, but leaves a suggestive word to the protagonist. I think that was the relationship between Wong Jing and his father in real. A beautiful and great family of Hong Kong cinema.
Herman Yau is working with Dennis Low as a cinematographer and a producer. I love his works. He has a different sensation from other Hong Kong filmmakers.
His pictures are like the mirror image on the polished marble. Moreover, he has a taste of Hard Rock or Metal which isn’t popular in Hong Kong where the people generally love Cantonese pops. He is surely a "Maverick Genius".
He had been working with Taylor Wong who is his master and Tsui Hark. Each film that he shot has the colour of Herman Yau.
His cinematographic works that I know
- 1993《太子傳說》 邱禮濤／黃泰來