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Fairy Tale Killer
Fairy Tale Killer

Wang Baoqiang and Lau Ching-Wan face off in Fairy Tale Killer.
Chinese: 追兇
Year: 2012
Director: Danny Pang Fat
Writer: Danny Pang Fat, Szeto Kam-Yuen
Cast: Lau Ching-Wan, Wang Baoqiang, Elanne Kong Yeuk-Lam, Joey Man Yi-Man, Felix Lok Ying-Kwan, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong, Lam Suet, Kelly Fu Ka-Lei, Gary Chiu Cheung-Sing, James Ho Seung-Him, Elena Kong Mei-Yi, Ciwi Lam Sze-Man, Carolyn Chan Chor-Kiu
  The Skinny: Serial killer thriller from Danny Pang that may satiate filmgoers used to mediocrity. For those who demand more, Fairy Tale Killer is style over substance, and yet another underwhelming effort from the Pang Brothers - or Pang brother, in this case. Lau Ching-Wan stars but that's not necessarily a reason to see it.
by Kozo:

The Pang Brothers, the sibling duo behind seminal Hong Kong horror The Eye, are currently mired in a lengthy filmmaking streak of mediocre-to-worse films – and sadly, Danny Pang’s Fairy Tale Killer extends that streak by yet one more. The normally dependable Lau Ching-Wan stars as Han, the leader of a five-man cop team (played by Ken Lo, James Ho, Gary Chiu and Kelly Fu) who question make-up wearing, mentally-challenged Wu Zai-Jan (Wang Baoqiang) after he’s captured for loitering. Wu reveals he’s murdered someone named Cheng Fai (Lam Suet), but when the cops investigate, Cheng is alive and well. Wu is released, but before he goes, he reveals that he “knows” Han. Cue suspenseful music.

Fairy Tale Killer derives its English title from Wu Zai-Jan’s M.O., i.e., offing his victims in sadistic, fairy tale-inspired ways. Zai-Jan’s confession occurs before he starts committing crimes, but his actions place Han in a pickle. Realizing that he’s allowed a killer to walk and commit a crime, Han authorizes a cover-up to protect his team. Or maybe he just wants to protect himself. Han may be a cop, but he’s also a complete bastard, since he downloads movies at work, deflects blame onto his subordinates and treats his autistic son in a cruel manner. Since Wu Zai-Jan’s muse, artist Wong Yue-Yee (Elanne Kong), is also autistic, there could be a greater connection between these two men than just a simple crime. Is this the clue to how Zai-Jan “knows” Han?

Not really, and that lack of connection is one of the many missed opportunities in Fairy Tale Killer. Zai-Jan does know Han, but the revelation of how is dispensed in a final flashback that serves only as exposition and not something surprising or more profound. Fairy Tale Killer has a solid premise, but the film turns out to be a laundry list of chronic Pang problems. The revelations don’t shock or enthrall, character development is routine or weak, and plot holes are difficult to ignore. It’s never explained why Zai-Jan confesses before he begins committing his crimes, and many of the characters, both cops and victims, behave in blisteringly stupid ways. Like any film, suspension of disbelief is required to make it work, but not enough is done here to cover those holes.

As is usual for a Pang Brothers film, the production and sound design is a step up from most Hong Kong fare, and the trademark intense Pang style still has some cinematic power. Also, the acting is fine for the genre. Nobody embarrasses themselves, though the shallow character development doesn't give them much to work with. Fairy Tale Killer has a dark premise and characters, but it fails to do anything substantial with them. Everything the film intends to say is explained point blank such that the audience has nothing to think about. Both Pang brothers remain technically sound filmmakers who can make their films look professional and edgy, but they’ve not grown as storytellers, and now routinely underwhelm. Granted, some audiences are perfectly fine with mediocre product, and Fairy Tale Killer at least gives them a two-hour dose of that. Honestly though, we all deserve more. (Kozo, 2012)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Universe Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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Image credit: Universe Entertainment Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen