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A Taste of Killing and Romance
Year: 1994
Andy Lau and Anita Yuen
Director: Veronica Chan Jing-Yee
Action: Stephen Tung Wai
Cast: Andy Lau Tak-Wah, Anita Yuen Wing-Yee, Waise Lee Chi-Hung, Mark Cheng Ho-Nam, Christine Ng Wing-Mei, William So Wing-Hong, Johnny Tang Siu-Cheun, Henry Fong Ping, John Ching Tung, Joe Junior, Tuan Wai-Lun, Joh Chung-Sing
The Skinny: Stylish hitman thriller is like ultra-light John Woo, only with the added bonus of some female characters. Throwaway entertainment that manages to entertain.
by Kozo:
     Andy Lau and Anita Yuen love and kill in A Taste of Killing and Romance, the umpteenth hired killer flick out of Hong Kong, and yet another chance for an "It Girl" to act tough. Lau is Ko Sau AKA: Judge, the toughest hitman in Hong Kong, who's ultra-successful despite the fact that he has floppy Aaron Kwok-style hair and never dresses like an ultra-cool hitman. While not on a job, he chances into Yu-Feng (Anita Yuen), a neophyte assassin who kills while wearing questionable designer clothing. She has no idea that he's really the town's top killer, despite the fact that they share the same handler, Ice (a sultry Christine Ng). The two fall in love via sappy montage, but things aren't destined for a happy ending. Circumstances arise which may pit the two against one another. Meanwhile, dedicated cop Waise Lee is determined to bring down Judge.
     Stephen Tung's effective gun choreography makes this flick a minor pleasure, though not everything about the film works as well. The plot isn't compelling despite a tried-and-true formula, and it also features lots of annoying coincidences. Bumping into someone randomly seems to be an accepted crimefighting technique, and the way characters just happen upon one another makes Hong Kong seem like it has only four city blocks. Andy Lau and Anita Yuen don't share much chemistry, and their romance seems incredibly forced. Yuen is also miscast. She doesn't make a convincing killer, and her photogenic charm is largely absent. Those who enjoy her as a ditzy, silly girl will likely find her performance here uninteresting.
     Still, the film does manage a few clever tricks, and the over-the-top silliness of the affair is standard Hong Kong Cinema charm. The overdone romanticism and too-cool righteousness (Ko Sau is one of those "good" hitmen) that make many HK films enjoyable are present and accounted for. Likewise, the production is enjoyable in that cheesy comic book way, and Veronica Chan's stylish direction keeps things moving nicely. The supporting players help too. Mark Cheng gives a sweaty over-the-top performance as Ice's assistant Shooter, and Waise Lee shows grizzled presence as the requisite cop. Most viewers could probably do without this movie as it really doesn't accomplish very much. But, fans of this sort of cheap hitman melodrama may find ninety minutes of undemanding entertainment. It's nowhere near as good as John Woo's The Killer, but A Taste of Killing and Romance can be a sufficiently cheap and lightweight facsimile. (Kozo 1996/2003)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd.

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