Superb thriller from Ringo Lam.
M. Edwards | Bristol, South Glos. England | 09/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Victim once again proves that Ringo Lam is perhaps Hong Kong's greatest director's with a stylish and gripping film that is on par with Lam's Full Contact. This horror/thriller revolves around a computer engineer who is kidnapped by loan sharks...P>Trying to solve the case, a manic cop played by Tony Leung attempts to solve the case... Here the story takes various sharp twists. Is he possessed? Lam keeps you guessing right until the final frame.Inspired by the shining by Stanley Kubrick the film has a creepy and haunting feel that is punctuated with scenes of real horror. The film also features some inspired chase scenes and action, making this is a must by for any Ringo Lam or Hong Kong film fan."
Excellent and unusual Hong Kong thriller
Trevor Willsmer | London, England | 06/22/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ringo Lam's 'Victim' is a movie that it's difficult to talk about without giving away too much, but I'll try. A thriller with supernatural undertones and a particularly intriguing plot, it certainly stands out from the main body of his work - there are action scenes, and they're well handled, but this is much more of a character-led mystery.
After a pointless killing in a car park, the police discover that their prime suspect is actually a victim, abducted by brutal kidnappers. But why would anyone kidnap an unemployed man with heavy debts? When he's returned without a ransom, dumped in a supposedly haunted hotel that was the site of a brutal murder, things get weirder still as he seems to have developed an entirely different personality. Is it post-traumatic stress or is he possessed by a murderer's ghost - or is it something completely different? Like most mysteries, once the cat is out of the bag it loses much of its grip, although the explanation is quite satisfying. But for the most part it's a beautifully crafted with several standout sequences and some surprisingly strong performances.
A promising film that can't decide what it wants to be
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 11/20/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I think Victim was a pretty good film, but I'm not sure because I didn't really grasp all of the intricate details of the plot to my satisfaction. Perhaps there is something missing in the English subtitles of this Cantonese film from famed Hong Kong director Ringo Lam, but I thought Victim never did figure out exactly what kind of movie it wanted to be. The plot summation I had read led me to expect a film of ghostly possession and one man's fight against such otherworldly forces, but the whole ghost sub-plot never worked for me and only got in the way of my appreciation for everything else that was going on. The film starts off quite promisingly, as a guy gets sandwiched between a minivan and a wall; security video shows a man being kidnapped and placed into that van just before it made its memorable exit. Hong Kong's finest is on the case, with Detective Pit (Tony Leung Ka-Fai) taking a pretty intense personal interest in the matter. Word comes to the kidnapped man's girlfriend Amy (Amy Kwok Oi-Ming) that her boyfriend Ma Mansun (Lau Ching-Wan) can be found at a nearby abandoned building. This particular place is known by everyone to be haunted, as back in 1967 a man killed his wife for supposedly cheating on him and then killed his child and himself. Pit and the gang find Ma hanging from a chain, but the nature of the discovery doesn't sit well with Pit. The sequence in the house, with Pit and a fellow cop searching the old place by flashlight, has a nice creepy feel to it, and Pit's experience had me wondering if he would be touched by a ghostly presence himself, especially since his own personal situation bears a strong resemblance to the home's infamous former owner. There's an exciting high speed chase scene later on, but the action sequences are more than balanced out by slower scenes that left me struggling to get a solid grasp on what exactly was going on.Things start to get a little complicated at this point. Ma isn't talking, and what he does say makes little sense or comes out in a fit of fury (words aren't the only things that come out of his mouth in one scene, I might add). His girlfriend is confused and scared, Detective Pit begins to work the case so hard that he neglects his family, and then we get this whole story about Ma's economic woes and his possible ties to some loan sharks or worse. I never knew where this movie would go next, and I guess that is a good thing in a way. It certainly doesn't turn out the way I expected it to, and I can't help wondering what the purpose of the whole ghost subplot is doing in an otherwise gritty suspense film. I much prefer English subtitles to English dubbing on a foreign film such as this, especially when the performances consist of a lot of highly emotional dialogue, but Victim does not feature particularly good subtitles. There are some really awkward translations that come across the screen, but much more annoyingly there are a number of times when the white subtitles are displayed against a white background, making parts of the dialogue impossible to read. Obviously, I am not completely enamored with this film, but Victim is a quite interesting viewing experience and is well worth a look for anyone longing to try something new or to sample the wares of foreign filmmaking. A couple of scenes are just a tad gory, but I would certainly not consider Victim a horror movie of any kind. It's a suspenseful thriller with an intricate plot, some impressive action sequences, and a story that seems to bite off slightly more than it can chew - at least in translation."