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Ngai Choi Lam
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Of the Hong Kong directors who have been most highly regarded by critics and punters, I find Tsui Hark to be the most overrated. Even "Chinese Ghost Story", which has often been credited to Hark and is a very effective and surreal horror pic, was not directed by Hark, but was directed by "Naked Weapon's" Ching Siu-Tung.
"We Are Going To Eat You" has all the flaws of (most) subsequent and previous Hark movies. It is chaotic, repetitive and confusing. The characters are all exaggerated to the point of irritation and the so-called comedy is forced and shrill. There is a gratuitous overuse of wide, low angle compositions and much of the music is inappropriately loud -- one of the main cues, from Argento's "Suspiria" (by Goblin), is an often repeated offender.
Hark leaves his audience no time to breathe or take in the atmosphere in this odd piece of "horror fu" which is a pity because the island location that hero Norman Tsui (Agent 999) lands on to search for a legendary thief, is suitably creepy and hostile.
Unfortunately, every scene is attacked with a sledgehammer and every actor overreacts to everything. What you end up with is a film with no shading and no contrast, a loud blob of sound and picture serving no purpose but to assault the senses like an infant screaming into your face for ninety minutes.
For gore hounds there is a bit of limb-lopping and copious blood is spilled, but there is zero suspense and endless martial arts fights that come across like low rent Jackie Chan. And speaking of Chan, many viewers will recognize the familiar "Project A" sets on display.
Hark's debut feature "The Butterfly Murders" bored me silly and his follow-up "Dangerous Encounters" (aka "Don't Play With Fire") didn't impress either with its confused politics and sledgehammer style. His "The Lovers", however, made almost two decades later, is his finest achievement so far, a simple romantic drama directed with admirable restraint and style.
This film's mix of cannibalism, broad physical comedy and kung fu comes across as misdirected and awkward. I'd only recommend this to die-hard Hark or cannibal cinema completists. The rest should look elsewhere for their entertainment.
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