Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 3rd, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: Hong Kong, 2011
Director: Wong Ching Po
Writers: Lai-yin Leung, Ching-Po Wong, Juno Mak
Cast:Juno Mak, Sora Aoi, Siu-hou Chin, Tony Ho, Lau Wing
DVD released:January 23rd, 2012
Approximate running time: 91 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 18 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1 Cantonese, Dolby Digital Stereo Cantonese, Dolby Digital Stereo Mandarin
DVD Release: Terracotta Distribution
Region Coding: Region 2 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: £8.99
Synopsis: The police’s prime suspect in the brutal slaying of several pregnant women is a man, who once before was wrongly accused by the police for a crime he did not commit. And while all the evidence once again lines him up as the guilty party. They are forced to let him go, when another pregnant women is near fatally wounded, while he is in custody. Did the police let a guilty man go or is there a copycat killer on the loose?
What starts off as a conventional Slasher film quickly turns into a character driven thriller in which all the characters boldly wear their motives as a badge of honor. And while some may find sympathy in the film’s protagonist Kit, since he is exacting revenge against those, who violated the woman he loves. The majority of viewers will find him and all the main players in this film are devoid of any redeemable qualities. The only character that comes out of this film unscathed is a young woman named Wing, who besides being violated by several police officers, she also has is mentally challenged.
Structurally the film’s narrative is pretty straight forward, after a opening setup that features a few women being murdered and having their unborn child being ripped from their wombs. The film then shifts towards some back-story via a few flashback sequences. From there the film returns to present day and the time frame does not change until the final, which takes place a few years after the bulk of the narrative takes place.
From a pacing stand point there are no real lulls. In fact there is rarely a moment in which the viewer is even allowed to regroup and catch their breath. This brisk pacing gives a immediacy to the story at hand, that makes sure that the viewer is always on the edge of their set.
Besides the aforementioned shocking murders in the film’s opening setup. There are a few more moments that are neck in neck with these scenes, most notably the scene in which Kit and Wing go to the police station to report that she had just been raped. During this scenes they hang Kit with handcuffs from the ceiling and make him watch via a two way mirror as they all take turns with Wing. And while this scene and the opening murders are gut wrenching to watch. Let’s just say that the film’s most powerful moment is saved for its finale.
Performance wise the entire cast are very good in their respective roles, especially Juno Mak (Dream Home) who gives a utterly convincing performance in the role of Kit. Other performance of note is Lau Wing (Fists of Fury) in the role of the ring leader of the police officers that rape Wing. He makes a formidable foe for Kit. And Sora Aoi (Raw Summer) in the role of Wing. Without a doubt she has the most difficult role and yet she more than holds her own, despite being given little she is given to work with. Ultimately Revenge: A Love Story is grueling tale rooted in vengeance that does not waste any time establishing a bleak tone that beats you bluntly over the head.
Note: This review is based on a test disc and may not be representative of the final product.
Terracotta Distribution presents Revenge: A Love Story in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original aspect ratio. Colors fare well and flesh tones look accurate. Black levels are inconsistent and details at time look too soft. Also there is noticeable ‘combing’ of the image that is most pronounced during moments with heavy movement.
This release comes with three audio options, a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in Cantonese, a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Cantonese and a Dolby Digital stereo mix in Mandarin. All three audio mixes sound clear and balanced throughout. Also they all do a good job with the more ambient aspects of the soundtrack.
Extras for this release include a interview with the films producer Conroy Chan (6 minutes 14 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in English) and a ‘Making of’ Featurette (26 minutes 14 seconds – anamorphic widescreen, in Chinese with English subtitles). Topics Conroy Chan discusses how his production company 852 films came about, casting and the critical reaction to the film. Topics discussed in the ‘Making of’ include, the screenplay, the cast (who also talk about their respective roles), the action sequences and special effects and this extra also include a lot of onset footage. Also included with this release is a brief segment about the Terror-Cotta film festival. Rounding out the extras are trailers for Big Tits Zombies, Hansel and Gretel, The Fox Family, The Detective, God Man Dog, Breathless, Sparrow and Death Bell. Overall Revenge: A Love Story gets an uneven release that is yet another victim of standards conversion.