Wednesday, December 19, 2007
EYE FOR AN EYE (1990; Hong Kong)
EYE FOR AN EYE (1990)
D: O Sing-pui
When her cop boyfriend (Wilson Lam) puts her supposedly reformed triad father (Foo Wang-tat) behind bars, trading company exec Joey Wong aims to rid the organization of it's dirty ties, but chief goon Jimmy Lung Fong—in a deliciously over-the-top portrait of scumbaggery—has plans for a very hostile takeover. To ensure her cooperation, he rapes her, videotapes the deed, and sells copies to his pals when he's not whipping her, insulting her, killing her relatives, making her watch him have sex with hookers and reveling in her utter defenselessness (which actually lasts longer than logic would dictate).
Lam's conflicted detective is ultimately painted as an ineffectual, emotionally constipated hero-by-accident, which doesn't exactly win back his girl, but hotheaded partner Max Mok—whose unrequited love for Wong is sketched in montage while he sings karaoke to a soaring Dave Wong Kit power ballad (illustrated above and below—thanks YouTube!)—doesn't fare much better when he goes above the law to get things done.
In fact, the filmmakers strongly suggest that triad "troubles" take care of themselves, though to prove it, they go a little nuts in the second half, with catharses and plot twists and fight scenes—including a king sized gang-on-gang chopper battle that spills through a restaurant's windows and into the street, presumably so a fire hydrant can be broken open to make everyone look even cooler fighting in a downpour—piled on at such a ferocious clip that a viewer's emotional circuits might need rewiring after all the yanking around.