Sweet Revenge 寄生人 (2007) – Hong Kong / China

Review by: Andrew Chan (Neo) FCCA AACTA
Re-edited on: 24 September 2012

An artistic B-movie. What happens when you combine a Golden Horse award winning director Ho Ping with a B-movie expert Tony Leung Hung Wah? The answer is “Sweet Revenge”, a movie that contain some well shot scenes as well as some worthy shots of cinematography, which all adds up to being an above average flick.

Sometimes, you wonder what could have been, especially when the movie contains the ever improving Nick Cheung (“The Exiled”), the irresistible Fan Bing Bing, an award winning supporting actor in Anthony Wong (“Turning Point”) and adding on the icing with Golden Horse winning director Ho Ping. Perhaps this is the reason why the film left me slightly disappointed, as it never attempts to do anything new or special. Sure, it is probably a good movie by Tony Leung Hung Wah’s standard, but with the above involvement, “Sweet Revenge” is really rather disappointing.

The first stop of this review is definitely a little paragraph dedicating to the irresistible Fan Bing Bing. Fan Bing Bing is one pretty girl and there is something about her that makes her irresistible for the viewers’ eyes. It may well be her wide eyes, her natural curve face or her sensitive emotion, but whatever it is, Fan is one person that can captivate the audience attention. Moving on to her performance, Fan for the first time in her short acting career is given a slightly beefy role and she handles it with a certain natural flair. Not only is she able to hold her own against the likes of veteran Anthony Wong, but even manages to steal the spotlight away from the ever improving Nick Cheung. This is especially evident in an arty scene where Fan is crouching down on the backdrop of an artistic wall. A much improved performance from her last outing “Battle of Wits” and most certainly an actress I will be keeping a close eye on for years to come.

Almost forgetting that this is a Nick Cheung’s movie, it is needless to say that the man has improved his acting ever since storming through the scenes of Johnnie To’s “The Exiled”. In this film, Cheung is suitably intense and at times his morph into madness is quite enduring to watch. Adding to the mix is the always dependable Anthony Wong who seems to have nothing to do, either than kiss the girl (namely Fan Bing Bing), drink and sleep. Unfortunately his romance with Fan seems more fictional than reality. This in turns indirectly adds to some unnecessary thoughts from the audience as to whether Wong is really Fan Bing Bing’s dad.

All in all, “Sweet Revenge” have some bright spots and it is probably safe to say that the film is a good B grade film. However, given the A-list cast and award winning director, the end result seems rather like a waste of talent. The effect is leaving the audience feeling what could have been. While the film attempts answer all the questions that it seems to poses, it somehow fails to add that extra bit of flavour which can turn the film into something special. In the past, Ho Ping’s films have a certain distinct flavour upon it, but this time, his direction seems to be overshadowed by something. The result is like an above average birthday cake, that just kind of loses its flavour. It is an adequate piece of filmmaking, but I just can’t help thinking – what could have been. (Neo 2007)

I rate it 7/10

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