image courtesy of Mei Ah
Year of release: 2002
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Devil Face, Angel Heart
Daniel Wu. Image courtesy of Mei Ah.
Daniel Wu seems to be on a quest to be the actor to star in the most Hong Kong movies. While he's nowhere close to current champ Anthony Wong's total, Wu's output on the whole has been much better than the king of Category III's as of late. Devil Face, Angel Heart is another solid effort from the young actor, and it's a good film to boot.
In the movie, Wu plays a disfigured hitman who is treated harshly by his boss, and after falling in love with his girlfriend (Gigi Lai), Wu decides to take out the boss. However, the girlfriend has an agenda of her own, which leaves Wu's brother (Lam Suet) dead and Wu in a coma. Waking up with a surgically-altered face, Wu infiltrates his old gang in order to take his revenge.
Stephen Fung. Image courtesy of Mei Ah.
Even though Devil Face, Angel Heart's has a plot full of twists and turns, the film-makers manage to keep things on track by keeping the movie focused on Daniel Wu, and he is up to the task. While it's not a earth-shattering performance, it is worlds above most of the other teeny-bopper pop-idol actor wannabes currently stinking up Hong Kong movies. Even while hiding behind grotesque makeup, he manages to create a believeable and, more importantly, sympathetic character. By the time the film draws to a climax, the viewer actually cares about what will happen to Wu, which is more than you can say about a lot of recent Hong Kong movies, which end up coming off as so generic and bland.
There is also a good deal of sex and violence to keep the viewer's interest. It's nothing along the likes of Naked Killer, but Wong Jing's (his production company financed the film) fingerprint is definitely there -- which makes it refreshing compared to the relatively tame films Hong Kong has been producing as of late. Devil Face, Angel Heart isn't a classic, but it does harken back to the "golden days" of Hong Kong cinema, where fans could expect oodles of "naughty bits" and solid performances, and as such, it's worth a viewing.
Gigi Lai. Image courtesy of Mei Ah.