Thursday, August 27, 2009

MURDERER - Derivative and Disappointing

MURDERER (crime thriller in Cantonese/Mandarin)
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Cheung Sui-Fai, Chin Ka-Lok, Wong You Nam, Josie Ho, Chen Kuan Tai and Chang Chun-Ning
Director: Roy Chow Hin Yeung
Time: 120 mins
Rating: * * (out of 4)

Aaron Kwok and Cheung Sui-Fai in MURDERER

PREAMBLE: Sitting through the first half of this crime thriller, an avid moviegoer would get a sense of deja vu. The viewer recalls popular movies like Seven, Primal Fear, Memento and later, Orphan (which is still playing in Malaysian cinemas).

However, when the plot is revealed, one would
feel hugely disappointed. The script is badly contrived and so full of holes that we feel cheated at having to sit through two hours for this piece of drivel.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? The movie starts off promisingly with an intriguing premise: what if you are investigating a series of murders and all the evidence point to you as the culprit? Aaron Kwok's detective Ling, who is investing a serial killer that uses electric drill on his victims, is found unconscious on the seventh floor of an apartment building. On the ground below, his colleague Tai (Chen Kuan Tai) is critically injured after falling from one of the top floors of the building.

Ling, who suffers from amnesia after the 'attack', believes it is the work of the serial killer - but as he starts his own investigation into the incident, he is shocked to find that he may have been framed by the killer! What's more, he learns that his wife (Ning Chang, pictured) and five-year-old son are likely targets.

HITS & MISSES: The lame script aside, we have to admit that the build-up is rather tensed and suspenseful - thanks to Kwok and co-star Cheung Sui-Fai who plays his cop buddy 'Ghost'. Kwok gives his Detective Ling the requisite touch of outrage and paranoia that help to sustain our curiosity. Cheung, on the other hand, plays a man of reason and logic - until he is overwhelmed by them.

Ning Chang is solid as the long-suffering wife but it is Josie Ho (right) who livens things up as Minnie, Ling's younger sister who arrives from the States.

The movie collapses when the 'truth' is revealed. Director Roy Chow (who also wrote the screenplay with To Chi-Long) seems to have spent so much time on the build-up that he has to rush through the ending. Instead of explaining the plot (or mystery), he makes the ending more ridiculous, opening up lots of questions on the minds of viewers.

THE LOWDOWN: A very unfortunate debut for director Chow.


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