Over the top
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 12/14/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Run and Kill" is yet another one of those Hong Kong Category III films I seek out whenever possible. I wrote awhile go something to the effect that these sorts of films aren't coming out anymore since the Chinese took over from the British. I'm not sure I can confirm that statement, although it does seem peculiar that every Category III film I've seen came out in the early 1990s. If you aren't aware of the magic of Category III, they are films that take violence way, WAY over the top. You'll see things in a Cat III film that you will never see in a Hollywood picture. I'm reminded of "The Untold Story," perhaps one of the most controversial films with this ranking. In that movie, a killer wipes out an entire family--including the children--in a lengthy series of scenes that will shock you to the core. Our own violent cinematic excursions rarely show this type of violence committed against children. You'll see some sinful teenagers hacked up by a guy in a hockey mask, sure, but not small children. On one hand, Category III films come closer to the horrors of real life by refusing to cut away when the most defenseless members of society run afoul of the criminal element. On the other hand, refusing to cut away makes the movie tough to watch.
"Run and Kill" is in many ways just as shocking as "The Untold Story." The film doesn't begin that way, though. Director Billy Tang starts us out slowly by introducing us to Fatty Cheung (Kent Cheng), a stout, happy go lucky sort of chap whose life seems wonderful. He owns his own gas supply business, is married to a beautiful woman, and has a young daughter he loves. Fatty is an amiable guy, whether he is chatting up people at work or bouncing his way down the street on the way home. Regrettably, Fatty arrives home from work one day to discover his wife in bed with another man. He's angry at first, but tends to blame himself just as much as he blames his spouse. What a guy, eh? Most of us would go nuclear on the spot. Fatty instead goes out to drink his blues away. While he stumbles around in an alcoholic haze, he strikes up a conversation with the vivacious Fanny (Esther Wing Ho Kwan), a lady with underworld connections. She introduces Fatty to someone who can take care of his pesky wife. Cheung is far too drunk to realize what's going on, but through a miscommunication he agrees to hire a gangster to kill his wife. Guess what happens next?
Not only does Fatty not remember much of what happened, he doesn't have the money to pay off the gangsters. Not paying a gang for a murder contract usually translates into another murder. His only alternative is to run off and hire another gang to defend him, this time a bunch of tough Vietnamese goons. A battle ensues between the two gangs when Fatty goes to a movie theater to pay off the first gang, with the Vietnamese coming out on the losing side. Fatty, Fanny, and one of the Vietnamese gang members end up in an abandoned airbase for a lengthy series of tortures involving a lead pipe. At least Fatty and Fanny get off easy; they sit at a desk and watch the Vietnamese guy hang from the ceiling in utter agony. Enter into the picture Fung (Simon Yam), a powerful killing machine linked intimately to the gang Fatty hired to save his bacon. He's a Vietnam War veteran whose interest in this abduction centers on the fact that the gang member hanging from the ceiling is his cousin. He swoops in, killing every Chinese thug in sight, and saves the day--almost. Fung's cousin perishes in the escape attempt, and now he blames Fatty for the man's death. Fung eventually abducts our hero's daughter in order to force a showdown with Fatty. And what a showdown it is!
Don't expect a happy ending in "Run and Kill." Yam's character does something so brutal, so unconscionable to Fatty's daughter that it's best left unsaid here. No one swoops in at the least minute to fulfill the obligatory happy Hollywood ending, not in this film. Instead, Fatty must become just as vicious and bloodthirsty as his enemy if he is to save his own life. By the end of the film, the main character is a far different man than the one we met at the beginning of the movie. "Run and Kill" forces us to contemplate what we would do if faced with a similar set of increasingly outrageous and extraordinarily unlucky circumstances. It would have been easy for Fatty to just fold up and give in to his tormentors, but he obviously has steel coursing through his veins when push comes to shove. We expect him to snap under the pressure based on what we know about him from the beginning of the film. An overweight, henpecked guy who blames himself for his wife's infidelity actually standing up to professional assassins? Stranger things have happened.
The only supplements on the disc are two trailers for films called "Memento" and "Prison on Fire." As far as picture quality goes, expect to be disappointed. "Run and Kill" looks bad, much like the film transfers for a couple of other Category III films distributed by the same company. Expect a lot of hazy, grainy scenes here. Moreover, many of the night scenes look quite murky. I don't know whether these problems are due to the film stock, the age of the movie, sloppy transfer work, or a combination of all three. Whatever the case, the poor picture takes away from the viewing experience. I'm still giving "Run and Kill" five stars, though. It's too over the top to do anything less.
Your words can change your life.
Barry Brandon | Phoenix, AZ | 06/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Wow what a trip. This dude fatty is having a real bad day and it is not getting any better soon. There is some stuff in this film that you can bet your life you will never see in an American film and I gotta say some of the stuff is over the top, in a good way.
If you want the whole story laid out for you read the other reviews, but if you want to be surprised like I was just push play and kick back baby for fun and mayhem. Fatty (Kent Cheng) may not look like he would be a man of action but then looks can be deceiving . Kent Cheng gets a big pat on the back for doing a top notch job as Fatty.
You will be happy you dug around to find this film, see it !!!"
M. | Mass. | 10/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a Chinese (Cat III) flick that lives up to the the offensive hype. Cat III movies are really dark action/drama/crime flicks that are not really horror, but go way further than most horror movies usually do.
Run and Kill is a dark and gritty story about this dude named Fatty who accidentally (don't ask) hires a guy to kill his wife. So the guy does the deed, and tries to bribe Fatty for some more money............ long story short...............Fatty's not a really smart dude, who ends up suffering immensley for his own stupidity in some of the most brutal scenes I've ever seen in my life (and I've seen a lot of these Cat III movies).
This is supposed to be a true story like The Untold Story and makes it even more disturbing and shocking. It has less comedy than The Untold Story and mory of a dark atmosphere. I am a seasoned gore-hound and it even shocked me.
If you like brutal cinema I'd give this one a shot, highly recommended."
Just about as dark as they come
morgoth | omaha, NE | 04/06/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is one I was not expecting. I went into this hoping for some good action, but what I got was a super dark movie with loads and loads of violence. Kent Cheng plays a man who finds his wife sleeping with another man. He goes and gets really drunk that night, and as he's about to pass out, he tells a girl that he wants his wife dead. She takes him seriously, takes his money from him, and hires a viscious gang to kill his wife. He doesn't just like find out the next day that she died, he has to watch it. A truly horrifying scene, but not even a taste of what's to come. Now the gang wants their money for killing her, but Kent Cheng doesn't have it. He ends up getting some Vietnamese war veterans lead by Simon Yam and Melvin Wong to help him out, and in a huge firefight they kill the gang. But Simon Yam's brother dies and he is REALLY mad. He decides to take his anger out on Kent Cheng and this is where the movie gets darker than I ever could have imagined. I don't want to give anything away, but the final fight between Kent Cheng and Simon Yam is intense to say the least. They don't focus on martial arts choreography or anything like that, it's just Kent Cheng getting really mad and doing his best to kill Yam. Is it a believable fight? No. Is it crazy and fun to watch? Definitely.
I haven't seen many movies from this director, Billy Tang. One of the few I did see was Dr. Lamb. I hated Dr. Lamb, so I was glad that Run and Kill was a lot better. The directing is poor at times, but the intensity and amazing acting from everyone makes up for it.
The picture quality on the Universe DVD is not very good, but watchable."