TILL DEATH (2005-HK)
review by Neo
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plot and cliché
Neo admires directors who dares to venture into originality and willing to takes risk by commenting on relevant issues in society, however, just when I thought that Slim Till Dead would go into that category, all the interesting premises that it seems to be heading turned into yet another cliché thriller that makes the audience look like fortune tellers. Personally I have always been a fan of smart intelligent thrillers, but recently, the churning out of thrillers using the same concept of split personalities has made, Neo a hater of psychological thrillers as everyone is trying out a wanna-be - A Beautiful Mind! To be honest, the idea of the movie is not bad at all, and with good leading performances from Anthony Wong, a confident performance from recent acclaimed TVB actress Sherin Teng Sui-Man and a natural and ever pretty yet dark turn from Cherrie Ying, this movie was everything, except being good.
As the title suggest, this movie is about the obsession in HK about being slim and the only real problem is that the plot is also damn slim - Inspector Tak (Anthony Wong) is assigned to investigate a murder of movie star Ivy, who is planning to fight for the "Slim Queen" award. While he is protecting the other participants, he finds that some of them are suspects of the murder...
To be perfectly honest, here, the movie was not really that bad, although marked as a thriller, there were a few comical moments, with Wong Jing and in another scene, where Anthony thought he was going to be promoted. In addition, there are also some real graphical depiction of murders as a result of being too slim, and in fact sliming till death and geez, that was a scary experience. With an opening like that, this movie has all the promise of a 8/10 at the very least type of movie, but from the half-way mark, the movie just seems to be not only going no where, but stretching towards an ending that is so crap and stupid that it seems a 10 year old kid took over in the writing department.
Commenting on HK, is one of the pros of this movie and also one of the biggest cons of this movie as well. As contradicting as I am, this movie only attempts to explore the surface of slim industry, but never really made any constructive comments on it. With another director and especially Fruit Chan, he will be willing to depict in an realistic manner of what is happening in HK and how people especially girls are desperate for an ever slim image, as they grasp on the fact that slim = beauty. While that is true in some cases (well more often than not), the real problem the movie never really dealt with is the consequences of eating slim pills or those radioactive machines to help you keep fit. These are relevant problems that a smarter person (like myself) or a better director would have grasp upon to make this a socially relevant thriller, rather than a crap, routine, murder, split personalities thriller. Sure it has scenes of gore and obsessions, but none of that was ever clearly explained or commented upon.
As to the performances, Anthony Wong just sleep walk through another role, while a confident performance from Sherin Tang, for those who do not know her. Just think back to last year TVB's War and Beautiful and the person who played the queen in such memorable manner was Sherin. A sure good performance and a good welcome back to the movie industry and hopefully a more challenging role for her in the near future. As for Cherrie Ying, her performances here some exactly the potential that I have always commented that she is indeed destined for much bigger things. With a cute face, natural acting and pretty without being strikingly beautiful, Ying shows her dark side for the first time and does so without tearing away all her innocent looks image, which adds as a juxtaposition in a layered performance. As for Wong Jing, he does well without being annoying for the first time. Oh my god, yet another movie, wasting the talents of a good cast in such a damn slim plotted movie.
As to finish this review off, HK cinema, really needs a movie to set 2005 on track, just when Neo was thinking he was watching another Dumplings quality type of movie, it ends up being yet another formulaic and unoriginal and overused technique in thrillers - split personalities. Although this movie is a huge few par above, Himalaya Singh and perhaps, only matching Seoul Raiders in entertainment level, this movie is by no means good and its great idea and premise was never used to its truest potential. However, with some good cast performances, and for its weak attempt at evaulating slim self industry, this movie is not entirely crap and damn shit, but rather a pointless and potentially filled movie that once again failed the audience.
I rate it 6.5/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Genre: Cops and Robbers
Director: Marco Mak Chi-Sin
Cast: Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Sherin Teng Sui-Man, Cherrie Ying Choi-Yi, Raymond Wong Ho-Yin, Suki Lee Pui-Si
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), March 2005