Vendetta – Getting To A Man Through His Family

Country: Hong Kong
Genre: Ghost/ Action
Director: Tony Leung Siu-Hung
Year: 1993

Rating: ★★★½☆


The rest of Vendetta doesn’t quite live up to the blistering first 20 minutes, but it’s a lot of fun, anyway.

Hung Long (a scary Tommy Wong) is one of those total criminal badasses from the Mainland. Along with his brother Tony (Leung Sap-Yat) and sister Kitty (Linda Lau) they plan to rob a jewelry store in Hong Kong before hightailing it back to Mainland China. These three kill as casually as some people order coffee and donuts.

Anyway, after the robbery, cop David Chan (Ray Lui) and his best friend Ming (Kent Cheng) go after the criminals. Tony and Kitty wind up dead and Hung Long ends up in jail, but not before vowing to kill Chan’s entire family. What happens next I won’t reveal, but suffice it to say that for Tony and Kitty, a little detail like being dead isn’t about to get in the way of their vendetta against officer Chan.

These early scenes have the blistering energy of the best of the Golden Age of Hong Kong cinema. Director/action choreographer Tony Leung Siu-Hung imbues the first act with a remarkable amount of energy, and not just the action scenes either.

After the first act, the movie slows down for domestic scenes with officer Chan and his family, which get progressively creepier.

Then Hung Long escapes, setting us up for one final action blowout. Writers Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu and Cheung Sin-Wamake make this scene more interesting by having officer Chan booby trap his house in various ways.

I should also probably mention that the filmmakers make a couple of references to Silence Of The Lambs, which is kind of fun.

The biggest criticism I have of Vendetta is some poor story logic which takes place in the third act, culminating in a completely retarded wrap up. What mystifies me most about the ending is that Hong Kong movies, unlike Hollywood, aren’t required to have happy endings. Of all movies, Vendetta should have been bleak all the way through.

But still, Vendetta is a very enjoyable genre exercise, and you can’t have too many of those.

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