Underground Banker

Underground Banker


Director: Bosco Lam

Stars: Anthony Wong, Lawrence Ng

Everything seems to be going good for Anthony Wong -- he's got a good job as a truck driver, has a pretty wife (Kitty) and a cute kid and (after a mysterious death) manages to find a choice apartment. However, things turn out to be not so rosy when the family moves in and they find out that their neighbor is none other than the infamous Dr. Lamb (a character from the Cat III movie of the same name, played here by Ng). It seems "the good Doctor" got rid of "the killing habit" in the loony bin and managed to get out. Even though Wong is apprehensive at first, Lamb turns out to be a pretty good guy, letting Wong's kid play video games and giving some sound marital advice. Everything seems to be going okay until Kitty meets up with her ex-boyfriend Stunner, who happens to be the local Big Brother. Stunner still wants to get into Kitty's pants, so he's only too willing to feed her Mah Jongg habit, even being so "good" as to let her borrow money from his boss, a big-time loanshark (the "underground banker" of the title). When Kitty can't pay back her gambling debt, Stunner takes his revenge. Wong resolves to curling up and dying until the good Doctor once again comes on the scene and helps Wong gain some payback.

Underground Banker is a sly parody of the HK "roughie" (ultra-violent) genre, and as such, viewers who have seen a lot of Cat III movies such as Dr. Lamb will get a lot more out of it than the average viewer. Wong himself is considered a "king" of the genre, most notably through his roles in such movies as The Untold Story, and it's really fun seeing him pull a 180 and be the wimpy victim this time out (especially towards the end when he reverts into his full-on psycho mode and goes around screaming that he's going to chop people into pork buns, a nod to Wong's award-winning work in Untold), and Ng turns in a satisfying performance as Dr. Lamb, delivering his lines with a dry wit that should please fans of Simon Yam's performance in Dr. Lamb.

However, Underground Banker jumps all over the map during its running time, alternating between horror, crime drama, softcore porn and comedy. Genre mixing is to be expected in HK films, but it gets ridiculous at times -- and those not used to seeing the seedier side of HK movies might be disgusted at the levels Underground Banker goes to. At any rate, I personally had a good time watching the movie -- I would liken it to something like Evil Dead 2 or Dead/Alive; a very, very black comedy that should please those tired of the slick MTV-like horror movies produced (both in HK and Hollywood) over the past few years.


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