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Archive for November 14th, 2014

Her Vengeance (1988)

her vengeance vcd

Chieh Ying is a female employee at a Moulin Rouge type nightclub in Macao when 5 drunken men come inside and start making a nuisance of themselves. Security finally persuades them to leave the establishment but they aren’t happy and blame the woman for their eviction. Chieh Ying finishes her shift for the night and walks off home but she is followed by the same men. She is grabbed and then dragged into a cemetery where they violently gang rape her. They eventually leave after having their fun by walking away laughing and in the process giving her a dose of a sexually transmitted disease. After arriving home in which she shares with her blind sister, she confesses what has taken place. Her sister convinces her that she must have her revenge and kill them all as the men were also responsible for the death of their father. Chieh Ying agrees to go to Hong Kong where the 5 men live and contacts her sister’s ex-husband, a bar owner who is now crippled in a wheelchair. It seems these men were responsible for blinding the sister and severly injuring her husband. He gives her a job in the bar but will not help her in her quest for vengeance. Chieh Ying finally sees one of her attackers one day and her plan for revenge begins…………………

This is a particularly nasty HK Cat III movie which is as brutal, unrelenting and bleak as it comes. It’s a movie full of despair, hate, blood and darkness. There’s no humour or a happy ending – just a full on visceral movie of a woman on a mission to avenge herself and her family. There are apparently 2 versions of this movie out: one has the gore and nudity scenes cut out whilst the other (the uncut edition) has everything in it. I’m reviewing the full uncut version here.

Directed by Ngai Kam Lam, the man who helmed the ultra gory and OTT movie The Story Of Ricky, I think it’s fair to say that this movie isn’t easy to watch especially the harrowing rape scene and the revenge attacks that follow. It follows a similar plotline to I Spit On Your Grave in which a young woman turns the tables on her attackers. The perpetrators of the horrific rape incident are a vile bunch of individuals that deserve what’s coming to them and the devious graphic acts that Chieh Ying use to extract her revenge makes for gripping viewing. You have to feel sorry for the character of Chieh Ying as not only does she have to go through such an ordeal but when she goes to a completely unsympathetic doctor to treat her STD he says she has AIDS (which she doesn’t have) and that her hair will fall out and her breasts will shrink. The rape incident leaves the old Chieh Ying dead and what emerges is a cold and calculating person whose only motive for living is to kill her attackers. Chieh Ying lures her first victim into a false sense of security as he thinks he’s going to get his wicked way with her inside his car. She asks him if he remembers raping her but he doesn’t and when the time is right she manages to tie him up in his seat with rope, grab a pair of scissors she’s hidden away, cuts one of his ear’s off (a-la Reservoir Dogs) and taunting him at the same time ‘do you remember me now!’ before choking him to death with the rope.

HerVengeance screenshot

Things don’t go exactly as planned for Chieh Yang’s next victim as she throws acid on his face and tries to stab him in the gut. Unfortunately he manages to escape the attempt on his life and he now knows that Chieh Ying is after the rest of the gang. If you thought that things couldn’t get any more violent and bloody you’re in for more shocks as Chieh Yang uses a hatchet and a sharpened iron rod to dispatch two more of her attackers which leaves two men left. In order to lure Chieh Yang out, they pay a visit to her blind sister’s apartment at night. She throws herself from the apartment balcony to her death rather than being subjected to the same ordeal as her elder sister. When Chieh Yang’s crippled ex-brother in law finally decides he must have his revenge on the two men, things are headed for a gory finale in his bar with a number of traps set up and all 4 people determined to kill each other.

Pauline Wong is brilliant as the vengeful woman Chieh Ying. She captures the hate she has for her attackers through her eyes. For a change, Lam Ching Ying gets to play somebody who isn’t a priest of some sort. He gets a chance to sink his teeth into a meaty role as a cripple who despite being stuck in a wheelchair shows the viewer that he can still take care of troublemakers in his bar by the power of his hands. The viewer will instantly grow to dislike the group of 5 men who attack Chieh Ying. There’s no explanation as to why her family were attacked by these same individuals in the past. I really like the colours that the director uses for several scenes e.g the rape scene is bathed in a blueish tint that really makes the horrible act even stronger and harsh. The cinematography is definitely one of the highlights of this movie. Be aware that when I say this movie is graphic I really mean it. There’s no holding back on anything so please stay away if you cannot stomach extreme acts of violence.

Even though this is such a grim movie, I thought it was really well made with fine performances from the cast. If the storyline sounds like your cup of tea then seek this gem out even though finding the full uncut version is really difficult. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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In a small rural village, a man (Uncle Fung) who banishes demons for a living and uses old Taoist methods lives there with his beautiful niece. A dead young girl in the village becomes a zombie and it is only through considerable effort she is stopped as even a bullet in the leg does not do anything to halt her. It is found she has been injected with a drug that makes her seem invincible. The man along with his niece heads to Hong Kong to find out who is supplying the drugs. He teams up with 2 police detectives who are only too keen to help him out as both have taken a shine to his niece. They discover that the zombie girl was in fact a drugs mule and soon the trail leads them to a powerful Japanese evil witch who is behind the drugs and using dead people as drugs couriers. Can they defeat the witch who has an endless supply of magical spells at her disposal?

Wrongly advertised in some quarters as the fifth installment of the Mr Vampire series, this movie is hugely exciting and entertaining to watch. The combination of police drama, superb action set-pieces and ghost hunting along with a fast frenetic pace employed by director Stephen Tung help make this movie one of the best HK fantasy actioners from the early 90’s. It is a highly imaginative movie which uses Chinese folklore tales to good effect. Unlike the Mr Vampire series which has traditional hopping vampires and is set in the past, this movie has a contemporary setting and uses zombies instead and one evil badass Japanese witch. Although some elements of the movie does have some humour (mostly involving a bumbling cop helping Uncle Fung), the plot is mostly serious in tone. An aspect of the story can also be taken as the old vs the new with Uncle Fung’s traditional methods coming up against the present in which Fung isn’t too impressed with modern day society especially with equipment such as fax machines etc.

The plot builds up very nicely and during the stunning climax the evil witch goes toe to toe in a long spell casting contest with Uncle Fung in a fabulous fun-filled finale on top of a building. It does get a little bit far-fetched as she is set on fire and thrown down a lift shaft but she comes back up as a flaming corpse to chase the heroes around a room by using sound to track them down as her eyes have been burnt so she can no longer see. It culminates in a satisfying ending to the movie.

magiccop screenshot

Lam Ching-ying takes the leading role as Uncle Fung. He is brilliant in this movie especially in his fight scenes when he takes on a couple of young and buff fighters in Frankie Chan and Billy Chow before taking on Michiko Nishiwaki. Lam also choreographed the slick fight scenes and instead of concentrating on long scraps he keeps them short and sweet. Seeing him kick ass on a bunch of bodybuilders in a gym is superb. It’s a shame that Western fans only recognise him for doing these kind of roles as he was unfortunately typecast as a monk in many movies. Wilson Lam plays Officer Lam who is highly skeptical of Fung’s Taoist skills and is a bit of a ladies man. Lam and Fung clash as Lam has his eye on Fung’s beautiful niece and he is very protective of her. Fung doesn’t take too kindly to the way that Lam treats his female colleagues (i.e slapping their arses) but gradually the pair set their differences aside to crack the case. Wong Mei-Wa is only in this movie to look beautiful and act in peril as Fung’s niece. Michiko Nishiwaki is superb as the leader of the drugs gang – a particularly nasty witch who seems to molest her pet white cat when she is doing some of her evil spells. Those that don’t want to see a visibly distressed cat should look away from these scenes.

There’s a lot to enjoy in this wild and unpredictable movie with a wonderful performance by Lam Ching-ying. It is well worth checking out if you can get a hold of it. Recommended.

Sadako’s Rating: 4 stars out of 5

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