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Original Title:
Mit moon

Hong Kong 2010


Dennis Law

Andy On
Jiang Lu-xia
Bernice Liu
Simon Yam
Lam Suet
Eddie Cheung
Chris Lai
Ken Lo
Xiong Xin Xin
Pinky Cheung
Chan Wai-Man
Wong Tin-Lam

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Bad Blood

Story: During a hand-over by the Tung Leung Shun organisation something goes wrong and the police take the boss of the mafia organisation, Andy Lok (Eddie Cheung), into custody. Before Lok gets executed he makes his last will and testament which states that the money of the organisation goes to his sister Audrey (Bernice Liu) and his brother Jason (Chris Lai). However, Funky (Simon Yam), the newly elected boss, isn't that happy about this decision. He wants Audrey and Jason to give him the money and so he starts to apply pressure on them. A power struggle within the organisation seems to break loose of which the black sheep of the group, Calf (Andy On), seems to be excluded, though. But Calf finally sees his chance to earn himself the respect he deserves. Fortunately, he is a martial arts expert and also has the mute orphan Dumby (Jiang Lu-Xia) at his side, who he trained in lethal techniques since her childhood days. The at first only inconvenient seeming situation within the Tung Leung Shun group suddenly becomes a life-threatening power struggle that claims its first victims.

Review: You can't help but to shake your head in disappointment after having watched "Bad Blood". Director, screen writer and producer Dennis Law by no means delivers what he promised in his trailer. Hard Hong Kong action 80s/90s style? Yes, you actually get that and this is also the only reason why you could watch the film until the end if you had to. Because the fighting sequences are in fact entertaining, while the rest of the movie only arouses unintentional laughter, makes you roll with your eyes and simply bores you, though. Law apparently wanted to create quality cinema and he even managed to get hold of some familiar faces which could have given the film the necessary depth, e.g. there is Simon Yam in one of the more important supporting roles, and there are also quite some cameos by actors like Lam Suet, Wong Tim-Lam etc. to name only a few. Andy On and new martial arts wonder Jiang Lu-Xia are responsible for the action pieces as well as TVB-star Bernice Liu in a not so convincing role as the villian, but for this she does a good job as a supposed martial arts expert.

So where exactly lies the problem? First of all, without a doubt in the script. What has been scribbled down here and is called dialogue is simply amazing, and not in a positive sense. Compared to this talk between juveniles at the local marketplace at midnight almost seems like that of a philosophical discussion group. I simply have to give some examples for you to make yourself a picture of the complete nonsense we are tortured with here. One minute of the movie centers around what Calf did take so long on the toilet. Another example: During an important meeting there is some small-talk between the organisation members. That itself is not a crime yet, but talking about the weather?! Compared to that a short dialogue about football almost seems original, even if it is as out of place as the rest of the lines the actors have to actually speak out loud. Still, I couldn't really believe my ears when I suddenly heard Audrey say in English "I don't want to just survive, I want to live!". What the hell just happened? Why can't some random villian please jump out of a hedge and deliver a good fight? Why do we have to endure such badly written dialogues and to make it worse get them recited as worse?

All of this actually could have been quite funny had "Bad Blood" been aware of its B-movie (or rather C-movie) charm. But instead the film takes itself serious! However, what are we supposed to think of a movie that uses minutes of its running time to show us mafia members entering a room, Lok being taken to his place of execution in an endlessly lasting procedure and Andy On waiting for his coffee machine to finish the coffee? It's those scenes of extreme headache that make you want nothing more than to push the stop-button. But luckily there are some nice action sequences scattered throughout that can keep the pot boiling. Li Chung-Chi, who already did the choreography for "New Police Story" and "Invisible Target" again does a good job. The punches and kicks look pretty hard and there are some scenes that make you groan in pain in place of the actual victims. The physical contact you seem to be experiencing yourself with every punch in fact reminds us of the old hard Hong Kong action pictures. You actually get an idea of what kind of movie "Bad Blood" maybe was supposed to be. But in the end the fights feel like being part of a whole different movie. That is because the rest of the film can't compare to the action even the slightest quality-wise.

Andy On ("Election 2", "The White Dragon") and Jiang Lu-Xia ("Coweb") are the actual stars of the film, even though Bernice Liu brings herself in the foreground on several occasions. On and (finally another female) martial arts wonder Jiang are without any doubt on a whole different level concerning their skills, but Liu can be surprisingly convincing in her fighting sequences. It's difficult to make women who aren't really trained in martial arts look as if they were tough, but Li Chung-Chi manages to pull off exactly that with Liu and she also deserves some words of praise for that. However, besides some tactical fights during which the terrain is used in a fashion that even when being outnumbered the enemy has no chance or apart from some weapon fighting there are also a few wire-fu scenes. Nonetheless, all in all we get to see some real old-school stunts, making the fights look really entertaining.
If you are looking for character elaboration then search somewhere else, though. Not even Simon Yam manages with his portrayal to exceed two-dimensionality and it's also questionable if he really reaches even that. The rest of the cast also doesn't get the opportunity at any point to play anything else than bad caricatures of clichés.

The worst part, though, is the character evolvement of Audrey. There is a transformation from the nice, powerless sister to the evil, merciless and invincible fighter which actually doesn't make any sense at all except the fact maybe that the film was in strong need of a decent villian. Director Dennis Law doesn't succeeds in the slightest to deliver a respectable script and his directing is unusually amateurish, too. His choice of color filters is also quite questionable and it's also a shame that he can't bring a certain style into the movie, maybe except during the fighting scenes. Everything looks simply boring and dull. "Fatal Contact" already had its flaws, yet managed to make up for them at points, Law's following movie "Fatal Move" had some more serious issues and thus it seems only inevitable that in "Bad Blood" we get to see the whole extent of Law's deficits in filmmaking. A ridiculous and boring movie that only hardcore action fans will be able to endure if they make the fast-forward button their best friend.

(Author: Manfred Selzer)
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