GONG TAU (2007-HK)
review by Neo

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A disgustingly good movie
Herman Yau is back and perhaps back to his 90s best. With a glimpse of Yau’s 90s work, there is no doubt that the gore and blood genre is where Yau can claim to be heads above the rest. It’s been a long 2007 for HK cinema and with only Protégé that actually qualifies as worthy cinema, it is about time that Gong Tau pushes for the title. Gong Tau is one heck of an amazingly compelling movie that engages the audience attention from start to finish. While there are some noticeable flaws and even some notions of thinking that it could have been better, it is still an immensely successful piece of HK cinema and something that Herman Yau can be proud of. It is easily the most impacting movie of 2007 and is certainly the most disgustingly good movie still the stomach churner in 2004’s Dumplings.

The movie goes like this: Mark Cheng (Election 2) stars in this Category III shocker as Rockman, a chiseled cop whose latest case may be the death of him. When a series of brutal cop killings occur, all signs point to Lam Chiu (Kenny Wong), a nasty perp who once took a bullet to the head from Rockman, and can no longer feel any pain. However, the deaths all carry signs of dark eastern mysticism, and when Rockman's wife (Maggie Siu) becomes afflicted with unexplainable pain AND his infant son suddenly - and shockingly - dies in his home, Rockman knows something is up. His veteran partner Fat (Lam Suet) has the answer: "It's Gong Tau."

There is little doubt that Yau loves the word “real” and his style of direction is always straight forward and seemingly realistic. It is exactly that reason that makes Yau’s work stand right out and it is his thirst for gore, blood and sex that makes him a genre hero. He is brave enough to go the route not usually taken by other HK directors. While his fellow counterparts would cut away the shockingly revealing scenes of stomach churning realism, Yau stays there to allow the audience to endure through the eyes of realism. In the process of writing this piece of review, Neo is still pondering within his stomach about the body parts, the gore, the naked body, the blood and poisonous yet exotic insects within the human body. It is that impacting and for that full credit must be given to director Yau.

It is rare that a director over-shadows the performances of its actors and perhaps regulating them into nothing more than a supporting. The main focus isn’t about the actors, but rather about the gore and Gong Tau itself. The issue of Gong Tau is mythical and even at times unbelievable, but in the human world nothing is certain and it is that tiny notion of uncertainly that Yau plays along with audience and created a little piece of gem. A controversial director by all means, Yau is not afraid to show an infant’s death through the art of Gong Tau. It is a brave piece of filmmaking and perhaps one of the most memorable scenes in recent years. While in his last venture (A Mob Story), the gore is reduced to cutting of a finger, here Yau produces gore after gore, blood after blood and skin after skin and the effect is ultimately shocking the audience to the max and challenging their stomach’s capacity.

It takes brave soul to churn out and endure through this extravagant and believe the journey is certainly worth taking. Mark Cheng is usually a B-grade actor at best and luckily that is exactly what he I require to do. On the other hand, Lam Suet and Maggie Siu, both produced a performance that allows the audience to feel and more importantly more humane. With that being said, Yau use of newcomer Teng Tzu-Hsuan in an ultra-revealing role is both brave and worthy of praise. Her body is perfectly shaped and her face is ultimately photogenic and her scenes after scenes of skin and body parts revealing is certainly a bonus to all male viewers. It is reminder of how Yau used to film movies and in Gong Tau, Yau is certainly back to what he does best.

All in all, Gong Tau by all means is a heck of a good movie and even if there are some scenes that are a bit too far-fetched, the movie is still realistic enough to shock the audience with the gore and enough skins to satisfy a particular part of the audience. It is an admirable piece of cinema and for that Yau should be given full credit. HK cinema has suffered a lot in recent years and it is movies of the calibre of this one that gives hope to HK cinema lovers. It does not take a genius to work out that Neo favours the bold. Gong Tau is an interesting premise and result is a movie that provides the audience with suitable guilty pleasure of gore, blood and sex in the HK way. It is once again its time to resort to a piece of cliché – Neo just love it…

I rate it 9.5/10

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Starring: Mark Cheng Ho-Nam, Maggie Siu Mei-Kei, Lam Suet, Kenny Wong Tak-Bun, Hui Siu-Hung, Kris Gu Yu, Teng Tzu-Hsuan, Pauline Yam Bo-Lam, Lau Kam-Ling, Fung Hak-On
Directed by: Herman Yau
Genre: Cat 3, Gore, Blood, Sex

Trailer/Short Clip: