殺手蝴蝶夢 “Sha shou hu die meng”
Ultra stylish and an unknown Gem, this is a definite recommend for Cal’s Heroes of the East.
Starring Tony Leung, Kenny Bee and Gordon Liu!
With cinematography by Christopher Doyle. (For those few not in the know he is the cinematographer on many of Wong Kar Wai’s Movies). Here he lets lose on the visuals and lightnings and makes violence beautiful. In the 80s boom time of Hong Kong action movies this film seems to have slipped under the radar when we all look back fondly on that time. It’s the kind of quintessential story that so many of those Heroic of Bloodshed movies had, a hitman, cruel mob boss, a beautiful femme fatal, a secret bond of love and a big shoot out at the end.
It follows a basic structure of Heroic Bloodshed. Things go very wrong in the opening scenes of the movie leading one of the characters Rick (Kenny Bee) to make a run to the Philippines leaving behind his lover Lap (Joey Wong) to look after her father. We jump ahead to a few years later where the characters we were introduced to are in far more unpleasant ways of living and when the ex lover now hitman Rick returns to Hong Kong and has a chance encounter with his girl who is property of a Triad boss you can guess this is not going to end pretty.
My favorite scene of this Movie had to be Tony Leung playing Cheung the chauffeur for Lap. He bids farewell to a Lap and Rick, he has feelings for Lap but allows them both to leave while he knows that he has to head back to his Boss who was going to seriously mess him up for helping Rick and Lap. It’s no wonder he won a Hong Kong film award for best supporting actor in this. Kenny Bee I felt was a little off in this and rather disappointing as a stone faced hitman. Gordon Liu and Chan Wai Man were menacing which is enforced by the way they are lite. The characters go through transformations from light to shadow which is a really effectively used. Obvious but delicious to view.
Unfortunately the original print of this movie has being destroyed but it lives on as a fantastic representation of what once was a golden age of action movies.What this film is to me is a guilty pleasure in filmmaking and cinematography. It’s something we are unlikely to see in Hong Kong movies of today.