MFR Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
This Hong Kong exploitation movie completely delivers everything you want. It begins with plenty of gore, it’s sometimes difficult to watch and contains a story of unflinching passion fueled revenge.
Revenge: A Love Story is based on a story written by Hong Kong pop singer Juno Mak, who also stars as the film’s central character, Kit. But mainstream pop this is not, in fact Juno Mak claims to be quite a fan of extreme cinema and there’s all the ingredients here. The film starts by showing Kit committing a series of brutal murders, including pregnant women with their babies cut out from the inside. Lovely stuff. Kit is caught and considered a suspect and despite being tortured by the police he remains eerily silent throughout. The film then cuts back to a flashback and the story of how Kit changed from a quiet young food vender to a stone cold killer unfolds.
Unsurprisingly, Revenge: A Love Story is both a revenge and love story. It’s a thrilling piece of genre cinema. The film shows Kit meet Wing (Sola Aoi), a girl he falls in love with despite her mental illness. Wing is then mistaken for a prostitute raped, sparking Kit’s quest for revenge and the intensity never drops.
The film is split into a series of rather randomly spliced ‘chapters’ with strange quotes that look a little lost in translation (the constant misuse of “your” and “you’re” makes me think another proof reading might have been handy, although to be fair generally the subtitles are fine). The slides separating the chapters are a little odd and there was clearly a message Director Ching Po-Wong wanted to convey, but in the end the film’s underlying message is open to your own interpretation, and bloody powerful it feels too.
The romance feels touching and holds the film together. Yes, it contains all the elements of an exploitation revenge film, but centrally the love is quite tender. Revenge: A Love Story contains a gripping tension and a quiet lead role which allows you to get into Kit’s head, and what a terrifying place it feels.
It many ways it’s crime thriller that’s well paced and nicely cut to keep it at a sharp 90 minutes. It’s not going to reinvent the wheel, but it’s certainly entertaining and leaves a rather strong flavor of glorious romantic vengeance that haunts while leaving the cinema.
Revenge: A Love Story is out on 25th November in the UK. Running time: 90 mins. Certificate 18 (UK).
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Review by David Rank