Intruder (1997)

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 04/21/2012
Summary: 8/10 - 1997 anxieties made flesh

This early Milkyway Image film is a fine slice of 1997 paranoia, and a stylish thriller to boot. Wu Chien Lien plays a woman from the mainland who kills a prostitute in Shenzhen and steals her identity to gain entrance to Hong Kong, and then attempt to get an ID card. Wayne Lai plays the Hong Kong resident who ends up embroiled in her plans.

Wu Chien Lien's performance is the main factor that makes this film memorable, along with the typically impressive lighting and camera work that help to produce the film's atmosphere of menace and foreboding. Her character is cold, calculating and quite ruthless in the pursuit of her goals, embodying the local population's fear and mistrust of the country they were about to become a Special Administrative Region of. The locals may not be wonderful people, or even particularly good people, "but surely we don't deserve _this_!", the film seems to cry out.

Viewed from the vantage point of 15 years later (which is, shockingly, about how long it's taken me to track it down) these fears seem somewhat comical now... after some initial hesitation, Hong Kong has cheerfully embraced the chance to profit in the shadow of China's economic might whilst old friends like the UK crumble under it. It certainly captures a moment of history in style though.

The film serves up some fairly nasty violence at times, though the 'danger lurking in beauty' odds were upped rather conclusively by Takashi Miike's Audition a few years later. Intruder delivers more in atmosphere though, the sense of doom... the tension we feel as characters are oblivious to a nasty end heading their way, or a potential escape may or may not be about to be thwarted, keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat for much of the running time.

Worth the effort to track it down.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 08/12/2006
Summary: Bloody But Good

Wu Chien Lien plays a woman who needs to acquire a new identity for herself, as she's wanted by the police back in the Mainland. It's surprising how quickly plot devices can become outdated. Now in the era of identify theft, we know she could get the new papers relataively easily and in the comfort of her own home. But at the time, she had to do it the old fashioned way, by murdering the individuals whose identities are beign swiped, and everyone else who gets in the way.

This movie shows that it's not enough to be a remoreseless, cold-blooded killer, you also have to work hard and have some luck. But seriously, you find yourself rooting for poor Wu, even though her character has barely a glimmer of a consience. I don't know if that's because of the power of the story telling, the viewer habit of rooting for the "hero", or her awesome beauty (I found myself thinking I wouldn't mind being killed by her!). In any event, it's a well made, dark thriller, and it's ultimate success is put onto the shoulders of Wu Chien Lien, who proves worthy of the task. She's truly gifted and I think the most under-rated Hong Kong actress.


Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

For fans of Wu Chien Lien, the type of character she plays here is shocking. Normally typecast as a sweet romantic heroine or melodramatic victim, you are totally unprepared for the cold-hearted cruelness she displays quite believably in this role.

The plot is simple: she plays a mainland girl and wanted criminal on the run from authorities who murders a prostitute and takes her identity to get into HK. Once there, she intrudes into the life of some poor lonely sap and takes him prisoner as part of a plot to get her boyfriend into HK. You have to see the movie to find out the details of that plot (suffice it to say it involves amputated body parts).

I found the movie tough to watch - the (mostly implied) violence is hard to swallow. Definitely not for the squeamish... Nevertheless, I would cautiously recommend the movie.

Reviewed by: tomliffe
Date: 06/23/2001

I've just finished watching INTRUDER, an earlier Milkyway offering and all I can say is that it's probably my favourite Milkyway film to date. Which is a VERY high praise. It's a very dark film withough a hint of humour in it. It's about a woman - Wu Chien-Lien - who plays a mainland Chinese woman who slips into HK pretending to be a prostitue who she met and killed earlier on and takes her ID. She wants to get an ID for her husband too (who's still in Mainland China) so she finds the perfect guy, he lives by himself up in the woods with no one about and no one cares for him. Wu Chien Lien is absolutely superb as the ruthless person killing people just to get this ID. You sometimes see flashes of human in her though. She says of herself "she is not cruel enough" and you'll see why when you watch it. Her husband is even more ruthless than her when he comes in. This is quite a terrifying film and has a lot of tension in it. It's quite scary when you see this woman cuddling and playing with this kid but you know she wouldn't mind killing her in an instant for her "hubby". This film isn't for the squeamish but I very strongly recommend it.


At the end of the film you're left thinking, there will be a next time.

Reviewed by: GlennS
Date: 04/08/2001
Summary: Cat III Nastiness At Its Best

Blood, suspense and a dead dog: what more can you ask for in a slasher flick? Wu Chien-Lien stars as a woman who kills a mainland prostitute to take over her identity and enter Hong Kong. She meets up with an out of work cab driver (Wayne Lai) for one night of passion but it turns out to be several days of torture for the unfortunate Lai.

Yes it sounds like Stephen King's MISERY but unlike MISERY, we don't find out Wu's motivation until later in the film. Which is good because the film becomes a suspense amidst the ongoing bloodbath about midway through. The film deserves its Cat III rating due to the violence (mutilated bodies and blood drainage from a corpse being two examples) and poor Wayne Lai is usually the recipient. If your looking for a film that has a lot of bad things done to good people, then INTRUDER is for you.


Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Udar55
Date: 03/11/2001
Summary: Disturbing Category III-er that ranks with the best of them.

The plot follows a deranged young woman who kills a girl in Mainland China and relocates to Hong Kong assuming her victim's identity. Immediately upon her arrival in HK, she begins to hunt for a man to help play a role in her evil scheme. To reveal anymore would ruin some great surprises. This film is, to put it lightly, INTENSE! It features the requisite torture and murder one has come to expect from these HK "true crime" flicks. The film also contains an even rarer mean streak comparable to the classics RUN AND KILL and THE UNTOLD STORY. No one is safe in this film, not even little children. Definately not for the squemish!

Seeing as I am such a big fan of the early 90s Cat. III flicks, it was surprising to find such an effective one so late in the game.