Bad Blood

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 12/15/2012
Summary: Bad Blood is not so good

Dennis Law Sau-Yiu didn’t take any chances when hiring his creative team for “King of Triad”. Neither a well-known nor particularly successful director, he signed Herman Yau Lai-To as cinematographer, Alex Mok Siu-Chung as art director and Nicky Li Chung-Chi as action director. Yau has been behind the camera for 36 films and has directed 59; Mok designed the sets for 27 movies over the past eight years and Li has been responsible for the action scenes for almost 50 films. A very experienced crew who knew all there was to know about setting up a scene, getting it shot and moving on to the next one with a minimum of fuss.

It is a shame that he couldn’t find a competent screenwriter (Law wrote it himself) since we are left with a well shot, good looking film with surprisingly good action scenes but that didn’t make sense from any point of view and whose characters were no more substantial than cardboard cut-outs labeled “gang leader”, “sleazy lawyer”, “insane killer” or “loyal to the death comrade”. While a lot happened to the triad family in “King of Triad” we didn’t care whether any of them lived or died (they all died) or if any of them accomplished the illegal goals set out for them in the beginning of the film (none did).

The signal achievement of “King of Triad” was making Bernice Liu, a television actor and singer, credible as a stone cold killer who dispatched foes and some friends without a qualm. Her murders were bloody—she used knives, scissors and a machete—and almost always done quickly and with little wasted motion. The only exception to deadly efficiency was her final battle with Dumby, the mute sidekick to the already dispatched Calf. Calf, played by a surprisingly competent Andy On, was Dumby’s mentor and protector. As a team they were all but invincible, stacking up bodies like the aftermath of the battle of Verdun.

The movie begins in the middle of a chase. Several uniformed couriers wearing the livery of the “RedEx” company were fleeing of foot from a platoon of armed policemen. The RedEx guys, even without firearms, were more than a match for the police officers, using punches, kicks and an occasional knife thrust to escape. They have the plates for counterfeit Chinese currency that they are trying to get away with. After rendezvousing with the tactical leader of the operation played by Michael Chan in a ridiculous wig the realization hits that Andy, the king of this triad, is missing. He has been captured by the police in possession of the counterfeit plates. We next see him being led from his prison cell to a platform in the middle of a stadium where he is executed with a shot to the back of the head by a uniformed officer.

After this failure the gang tries to regroup but discord among the surviving family members and the non-family gangsters leads to almost constant mayhem and gruesome death for everyone involved.

A movie creates its own reality, violating the rules of time, space, gravity and probability that exist outside of the cinema. It should be consistent within this artificial reality, though, and “King of Triad” definitely is not. We don’t know why Audrey is such an enthusiastic and efficacious executioner of member of her family, employees and random strangers who get in her way and don’t really care. The stronger than steel bond between Dumby and Calf is explained in a 15 second flashback but the relationship—the only one in the film that we might want to see developed—is abandoned. The only time I was moved by the actions of a character was when Dumby, while fighting (and ultimately winning, of course) against all but impossible odds—she is surrounded by a double ring skilled assassins, specialists in hand to hand combat and armed with knives—is gleeful and completely caught up in the minute. Jiang Lu-Xia, in her third film role, came across like a berserker lopping off heads while attacking a castle and in line with the insane Norse fighters bent on destruction of the Saxons in post-Roman Britain.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: Hyomil
Date: 04/07/2011

Reviewer Score: 7