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安樂戰場 (1990)
Fatal Vacation

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 05/27/2011

Even though he has had his hand in nearly every facet of the Hong Kong movie pot with hundreds of films under his belt, Eric Tsang is an actor and film-maker best known for comedies. So his grim 1990 entry Fatal Vacation -- even though it's not as violent or gruesome as some other Category III films -- really stands out.

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: dandan
Date: 03/08/2006
Summary: a catIII holiday...

this is a very enjoyable film indeed. eric tsang, the old bloke from 'big trouble in little china' and 'tremors', a midget, plenty of gunplay, drama, melodrama, comedy and communist rebels... that's practically everything that you need to guarentee a classic!

any how, eric tsang is the guide of a tour to the philipines; the tour has spoilt rich girls, an annoying old woman, two cops, three triads, the twins (not 'the twins', but a set of moustached twins who look like 1930's strongmen...) and a few other randoms. they are taken hostage by communist rebels and all hell breaks loose.


Reviewed by: S.A. Winters
Date: 12/18/2002
Summary: If your a fan of Heros Shed No Tears or Eastern Condors

Ok, so did Eric Tsang just have the need to get some nastiness out of his system after playing the lightweight in so many movies? Or is there a deeper meaning to this film of survival? That in order for China to become free it's up to the people, not the military or the media, to take action. COULD there be a message here? Who knows? Good action flick anyway.
A bunch of tourists get caught in the crossfire of police and terrorists. ( You know he is a terrorist because he wears glasses, is well mannered AND he'll shoot you in the head without blinking.)They are now hostages instead of tourists and must take matters into their own hands in order to survive.
Exploitation? Sure and good at that. Is Eric trying to say something about the media and manipulation? You bet.
Good Stuff.Bloody Good Stuff.

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 08/08/2002
Summary: Dark but rewarding viewing

Eric Tsang is a loveable little funny man who's appeared in and directed some good comedies. Quite strange then to see him appear in and direct a movie without any comedy whatsoever. FATAL VACATION is a surprisingly serious movie - verging on grim and even disturbing in places.

The plot involves a large and motley group of HK folks who all head off on a guided tour of the Philipines, with Eric Tsang as their tour guide. Their plans of sight seeing, souvenier shopping and prostitute shagging are rather rudely interrupted almost the moment their vacation begins though, when their bus is hijacked by a gang of communist terrorists, and they are all taken to the terrorist camp to be used as bargain pieces with the government over the release of their leader.

The movie's greatest success is to take a large - really large - cast, and make everbody in it stand out. Everybody has their own character and their own story. Beyond this, the movie focusses on the group dynamics that arise when a bunch of friends and strangers are put in a stressful situation, where their lives could be ended at any moment. It's a little bit BATTLE ROYALE in a way - or probably more like a disaster movie (whatever happened to that genre anyway?).

It's not a cast of big name stars - Eric is the biggest by far, though there's a few other recognisable faces in there. They all do a good job with their characters though. The script no doubt helped the actors with this, because it is well written - intelligent and focussed.

The final portions of the movie are perhaps a little overdone, as the situation turns into something that looks pretty much a like a small war. It features some pretty decent action sequences, actually - lots of bullets and bombs and bodies all over. Because the characters have been well developed, there is more emotional/dramatic weight to the action than is usually the case with actual action movies.

I liked the movie a lot, thought it was well made and quite gripping, thought provoking even. It is definitely quite a serious movie though, not a fluffy or jolly movie to just pass the time with. If you're fine with this, however, the movie comes recommended.

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: Inner Strength
Date: 03/27/2002
Summary: Worth seeing

The Fatal Vacation if nothing else is a very sad story, I really felt some strong emotions watching this.

Eric Tsang plays a Philippines tour guide, who takes a group of people from Hong Kong around the islands by bus. Surprisingly the characters are all given their personal touches as you soon learn about each of them (mostly couples). Things all seem to be going well for the group until suddenly their bus is hijacked. It’s not a standard robbery though, as the group are taken away as hostage. They inform the government that they have the Chinese tourists hostage and they will be killed if their demands are not met. A decision takes too long for the terrorists, and they agree to kill the hostages one by one until they get what they have asked for. But too many people get killed, and one is even violently raped before being shot in front of her husband.

Story aside though, the rest of the film seems pointless, because all the film appears to do is discourage people from visiting the Philippines. A lot of things could have been done to make this more interesting, and the film certainly drags the majority of time. Saying that though, it does seem very terrifyingly realistic and as I said at the beginning, very sad.

Another note, this was actually made as a new year film back in 1990...but seems a bit out of place for a happy time.

Rating [2.5/5]