You are currently displaying Big5
殺機重重 (1960)
Death Traps

Reviewed by: Stephe
Date: 01/27/2011

Death Traps is a noir about a woman who in a fit of drunken
jealous pique, puts out a contract on anyone who her erstwhile
beau marries, only to wind up marrying him herself and hence being
the designee of the contract. Tin Ching plays a crooked smoothie,
but one not as harsh as the backstabber he played in Boxer from
Shantung. It has been claimed that Chang Cheh wrote the script,
but he actually only did re-writes (script-doctoring), perhaps as
a favor to star Li Mei, who he had worked with on The Cruel Heart
of My Man in 1956 and Wildfire in 1957. Chang Cheh thought the
script ultimately a failure, but I found the film to be rather
good. It is certainly involving. I thought that Helen Li Mei as
the woman and Roy Chiao as her beau were well suited to the genre,
and I would like to see them again in a noir vein if such films
were to be made available on disc.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 01/23/2008
Summary: more cock, than hitch...

chieh-lin (helen li) and lo shou-li (roy chiao) are in love, but shou-li doesn't like chieh-lin's excessive drinking. shou-li arranges to meet chieh-lin for dinner, but she is shocked to find him dining with meigui (ouyang shafei)and, practically, ignoring her. she hits the bottle, gets drunk and ends up being taken home by cai gongxia (tong dik), an old friend who happens to be a triad boss: in her drunken state, she pays cai to kill the woman that shou-li is going to marry.

the next day, chieh-lin vows to never drink again and shou-li reveals that he and meigui fooled her, in order to get her to stop drinking, and that he wants to marry her. chieh-lin accepts, but soon remembers her drunken dealings and begins to worry: when she discovers that cia has gone out of town, she really has something to worry about...

a supposedly hitchcockian (is that really a word?) offering from wong tin-lam (father of wong jing), that doesn't really cut the mustard. i was willing to forgive some of the film's early clumsiness, thinking that cathay's decidedly average subtitles were doing the film no favours. still, by the end, i kinda reached the conclusion that it just isn't a very good film.

somewhere, there is a reasonable premise, hiding within a rather poorly constructed and weakly executed narrative. a shame, really. still, there's some pretty nice cinematography here and there, whilst helen li certainly has her moments, so the film isn't a complete loss.

reasonable, at best...