Review: MURDERER 殺人犯 (2009) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Review: MURDERER 殺人犯 (2009)

Review: MURDERER 殺人犯 (2009)

A vicious killer is out there somewhere bleeding innocent people to death with a power drill, and the latest victim is a cop named Tai (Chen Kuan-Tai), who's been drained of blood and tossed from the seventh floor of an apartment complex. Fingers are immediately pointed to number one suspect, Ling (Aaron Kwok), a respected officer found at the crime scene with no memory of why he was even there. With Tai lying in a coma, Ling must piece together the mystery. Unfortunately, all the evidence points back to himself as being the killer. And there lie several questions: Is he actually a serial killer before he loses his memory? Or is he being framed by someone? 


REVIEW: On the basis of the highly-anticipated MURDERER, the movie looks set to be another winner for currently in-form Aaron Kwok. 

During production, it was reported he went through extremely method acting by portraying his role without sleep to convey the most disturbed emotion. He would end up not saying much for nearly a day and often sit in a corner without saying a word, while looking very vicious. Crew members are warned against each other not to go near him. After the movie has wrapped up production, he did not sleep for three days even though he feels completely exhausted. Kwok's dedication definitely paid off, especially when the movie's movie poster depicted him with a convincingly vicious look on his face. That particular photo was taken by famed photographer, Wing Shya, who aimed to capture Kwok's exhausted look and insanely vicious eyes. The poster itself went on to become controversial, especially for MTR, which runs Hong Kong's subway system, finds the image was terrifying and nearly put a ban to it. 

MURDERER is certainly potential, with a crew full of recognisable and talented professionals involved here including cinematographer Mark Lee Ping-Ban, art director Man Lim-Chung, composer Shigeru Umebayashi and notable screenwriter Christine To. Again, with two-time Golden Horse winner Aaron Kwok in the lead, the movie has simply positioned itself as one of the year's must-see. 

Too bad for the final product itself. It's really hard to believe but it's true -- Roy Chow's directorial debut (formerly an assistant director of 2007's LUST, CAUTION) tries very hard to delve deep into the psychological territory of this serial killer thriller and ends up something else entirely. Just about everything here cries "overdone" and not even the calibre of an award-winning actor of Aaron Kwok can save this terrible mess. Suffice to say, this one qualifies well as among the most absurd and unintentionally hilarious Hong Kong movie ever made. How is a supposedly disturbing psychological thriller ends up hilarious? The fault mostly lies on the unbelievable plot itself. This is especially true once the plot starts to unravel piece by piece when the movie goes wide open with unbelievably amusing characters start to act unconvincingly. Yes, all the actors go haywire with their over-the-top performances that it's hard to fault whether they are intentional or trying too hard in the process. 

But none of them fare worst than Aaron Kwok himself. Despite his extreme method acting, his emotionally-disturbed cop role goes all for the wrong reason. He's definitely gone "all-out" here -- literally -- until it's so wildly over-the-top you just have to hand him a special award for "best unintentionally comic performance of the year". 

In the meantime, Chow's direction is a total mixed bag, ranging from decent to bad. He clearly has no sense of restraint and every subsequent plot revelation leading to a so-called surprise twist ends up sillier than before. Speaking of the surprise twist, the result might have been refreshingly original but with the plot this silly, it's hard to take everything seriously.

For all the highly-publicised method acting that Aaron Kwok has been through, MURDERER is surprisingly a terrible mess plagued with over-the-top performances and absurd storyline.

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