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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I watched The Untold Story purely based on the fact that it contained
extreme violence, but was really not prepared for what it contained.
the acts of violence were an exaggeration of the facts (it is supposedly
based on a true story) is irrelevant. Hong Kong film-makers are not known
for their subtlety, and they certainly live up to this expectation when
The story is not a complicated one - a demented chef (Anthony Wong) is interrogated by some irritating police officers about the disappearance of the family who owned the Eight Immortals Restaurant. It is not necessary to identify the killer - we already know. What we do not know, however, is how he killed the family off.
The murder of the family is a most distressing, explicit sequence of violence. The children acting in this sequence, who were eventually murdered with a meat cleaver, appeared to be truly traumatised and distressed while watching the simulated murders of their parents. One wonders how the film-makers were even allowed to subject the children to these acts.
Another sequence depicts the rape and murder of an innocent woman, and it is depicted in a most inhumane manner. It could possibly be one of the most violent, prolonged rape and murder sequences ever seen in film. The brutal violation of the woman with a handful of chop-sticks eventually kills her, and is a most cruel, disgusting act.
How this film managed to pass the relatively conservative Australian censors is truly astonishing. It can be difficult to source, but is worth a look, if only to test your tolerance levels in depictions of screen violence.
"Bunman-The Untold Story" is one of the most horribly disturbing horror movies ever made.Anthony Wong plays a lunatic who butchers a restaurant owner and his family in Macau after a gambling argument.He takes over the restaurant and uses the family's bodies to make pork buns!"The Untold Story" is a nasty,brutal film based on a real-life facts.Anthony Wong is perfect as the psychotic Wong Chi Hang and his grotesque grin is truly bone-chilling.The violence is extremely shocking:the family slaughter scene has to be one of the most repulsive acts of violence I've ever witnessed on film.The other sequences like brutal rape and murder of his female employee or Wong's suicide attempt in jail are also pretty hard to stomach.Still "The Untold Story" is sprinkled with humour what makes it a bit easier to watch.A must-see for fans of extreme cinema.10 out of 10!
I bought this movie out of sheer curiosity. I'd heard about it somewhere, something about it being a cult classic based on a true story. Anthony Wong was in it and I liked him in Hard Boiled and Full Contact, so I said what the hell. I ordered it on DVD and watched it as soon as I got it. Man, this movie is something. It's one of those movies where you watch it wondering if the cast and crew went home and had horrible nightmares every work day. There's stuff in this movie that doesn't quite leave your mind. I've shown this movie to several people, one in particular swearing off Chinese food to this very day. Anthony Wong gives one hell of a performance. It's not necessarily Oscar-caliber (even though I don't really dig the Oscars these days anyway) but it's just... very convincing. A little bit hammy maybe but yeesh, this guy is scary. My friend asked me once while watching it one day if Wong was really nuts. Judging from the look on Wong's face in most scenes I said yes. The murder scenes are better left undescribed because no amount of words can prepare you for when you're actually watching them. The only gripe I have with this movie is the comedy element. I think the best comparison would be to "From Dusk Till Dawn", where it was almost like watching two different movies spliced together. The comedy feels out-of-place and my idea is that they added it to lighten the movie up a little bit for the murder scenes are pretty intense. If you are one of the faint-of-heart, avoid. If you got guts, give this a look. One other thing: after watching this, you will never look at chopsticks the same way again. Rating: ***1/2 out of *****.
THE UNTOLD STORY, like many reviewers have already noted, will stay with you for a long time. The basic storyline: Anthony Wong (in a masterful performance) portrays a sociopathic/psychopathic restaurant "owner" with a penchant for rape and murder. Wong takes over and claims ownership of the 8 Immortals Restaurant after he murders the real owner and his family (in one of the most brutal scenes ever put to film...) following a card game. From there Wong tries to legitimately take ownership of the restaurant but is unable, since the true owner is nowhere to be found to sign-off on the legal documents. Suspicions arise as the local police are sent letters from family members inquiring to the whereabouts of the missing owner. The police go to the restaurant and question Wong and his cashier, and notice that something seems "off". Upon further investigation, the police begin to put the story together, and THE UNTOLD STORY is finally revealed in all its horrific glory... First off, this is a well written, well acted, interesting film. I know that almost every other reviewer had a serious problem with the "comedic" elements in the film, but personally I feel that they really don't overshadow the film itself at all and are not as prevalent or annoying as other reviewers have noted. I think it is used to lighten the tone of the film a little, but to also show the dynamic between people who are constantly together, day and night, due to the nature of their profession. I don't think the good-natured (though admittedly sexist) ribbing of the female cop from her male counterparts is truly "harassing" in nature (though here in the States she'd definitely have cause for a lawsuit...) - I think it's more of a way to make her feel like "one of the guys" while still acknowledging her sexual differences. I think any female who has taken a profession in what might have once been considered a "man's field" can probably relate. THE UNTOLD STORY also delivers on the brutal and gory level. There are several scenes that are really rough, including: chopstick rape, rusty bucket wrist slicing, soda can tab wrist slicing, limb dismemberment, human meat grinding, and the infamous family slaugther scene. This scene in particular will have most casual horror-goers gouging their own eyes out, and even the more jaded of us sickos out there will have a hard time not being repulsed by the graphic, on-screen murder of an entire family, including several very young children. I have to say, I really, really like this film. THE UNTOLD STORY is a lot better made than many of the Cat III HK sickies, and works on more than just an exploit film level. It is definitely not for anyone who can't truly handle the above-mentioned types of images, but may prove to be a real treat for the more "discerning" (that is to say "depraved") viewers out there. There have been several inferior copy-cats of this film out there, this one is the real-deal. Highly recommended 9/10
The film begins in Hong Kong with a graphic pyro scene and then moves to Macau and the discovery of body parts on a beach by police. Anthony Wong gives a committed, chilling and powerful performance as the lead which won him a Hong Kong film Best Actor award. He plays a man who runs the Eight Immortals restaurant where the previous owner's family mysteriously disappeared, and it turns out the barbecue meat buns he makes contain an unusual ingredient. The police on the demented owner's trail are lead by the captain, Danny Lee, and several others who behave in a frivolous way towards each other. Some of the scenes between them are amusing. But it is Wong's character that stays with us long after the credits. The scene where the Untold Story is told near the end is extremely distressing and definitely not for the squeamish and faint hearted. But this film is a very powerful account of a remorseless killer with a great central acting performance.
The Untold Story is part of a sub-genre called Category III (abbreviated: CAT III), CAT III is a certificate given by the Hong Kong film censors to films that features extreme violence or excessive sexual content. The most notorious CAT III movies, are the ones made in Hong Kong. The Untold Story is based on an actual murder case that happened in Macau. Plot: Severed body parts are found at the Macau Bay, the police investigates and all the evidences leave to the "Eight Immortal restaurant", the cops suspects of Wong-Chi Hang, a man who escaped from Hong Kong after committing a gambling-related murder. The violence is taboo-breaking and bloody, the special effects are good, but i can't tell you how they are realistically shocking. The most sadistic scene is probably the one where Chi-Hang rapes and murders a woman, by shoving some chopsticks up her lower parts.... This movie features a excellent performance by Anthony Wong, as Wong Chi-Hang the serial killer, Anthony even won a best actor award for this movie (100% deserved !). Recommended for CAT III beginners or for who is tired of the same Hollywood "shocking movies".
In the early 80s, popular actor Danny Lee (famous for his work in
action films) became director and producer of his own films, and by the
end of the decade was already a major player in Hong Kong's movie
industry. This position allowed him an enormous amount of power during
the 90s boom of Hong Kong cinema, and made him the discoverer of famous
stars (like Stephen Chow) and producer of a wide array of interesting
films by upcoming filmmakers. Among those, Herman Yau's "Baat sin Faan
Dim Ji Yan Yuk Cha Siu Baau", or "The Untold Story", is one of the most
popular in the Western world, and one of the better known movies of the
CAT III rating that was introduced by the Hong Kong government during
those years. Suppousedly based on a true crime story, "The Untold
Story" is a very powerful film that truly lives to its reputation as
one of the most brutal films of Hong Kong cinema.
The plot starts with the discovery of a plastic bag containing the severed hands of a person in a lonely Macao beach. The young and unexperienced police team assigned to the case is clueless as they had never faced something so horrible, but lead by the suave officer Lee (Danny Lee), they find some clues pointing to Wong Chi Hang (Anthony Wong), the owner of the popular Eight Immortals Restaurant. As the cops find out that Wong just bought the place to his former boss, they try to track down the previous owner, but every attempt to find him or his family prove futile. The discovery of Wong's dark past prompts his arrest, but he still refuses to admit having committed the crime. Officer Lee decides to take severe measures, but not even he will be prepared to hear Wong's Untold Story.
Written by Law Kam Fai (author of another famous CAT III film, "Dr. Lamb"), the movie develops as a police procedural movie, detailing the work of the cops to figure out the responsible of the crime; however, two extremely different elements set "The Untold Story" apart from similar stories: the dark and extremely brutal portrayal of the psycho killer, and the odd addition of offbeat comedy thrown in to balance the grittier aspects of the movie. While this strange mixture of genres may sound unappealing (and honestly at first sight looks unappealing too), it surprisingly works within the movie, and gives good balance to the overall darkness of the story. Apropriately, in the end it is the horror element the one that dominates the film in a terrific brutal finale that by now is definitely a classic of 90s CAT III movies.
Famed for being one of the most shocking Asian horror movies, "The Untold Story" is surprisingly not as gory as one would expect with that reputation; however, this is not saying that the film doesn't live to the hype, as it is definitely a shocking experience although for a very different reason. Director Herman Yau cleverly chooses to portray the grotesque details of the crime in a relatively subtle, unseen way; but the way he executes the scenes allow for a far more powerful effect as plays with the imagination making the violence portrayed frighteningly real despite not being too graphic. The raw and gritty style Yau uses for his film (mainly for budgetary reasons) only enhance the realism of the movie, and together with Wong's brilliant performance make a movie very hard to forget.
Definitely one of the elements that really make the difference between "The Untold Story" and similar exploitation movies is the top notch performance of Anthony Wong as the enigmatic Wong Chi Hang. He captures so well the traits of this unbalanced psychotic character that one can't help but believe that the man on screen is truly a demented person. Danny Lee as the Officer in charge of the case offers the balance between the sadistic darkness of Wong and the at times silly comedy of the police team. Lee's smooth and witty character contrasts with the clumsiness and naiveté of the young cops, portrayed effectively although somewhat average by equally young actors. The exception is Emily Kwan, who plays Bo, the only female in the team and therefore the one who has to prove that she is as capable as the guys to do the police work.
"The Untold Story" is often hard to watch, but it's definitely never boring, and while crude, the portrait of sadistic violence it makes of the crime is captivating in a way that few horror movies are. While this is definitely one of the best CAT III movies of its time, it's not without flaws, as the budgetary constrains really took its toll in the movie. Anyways, what most viewers have criticized about "The Untold Story" is the odd mixture of comedy in the movie, as it seems to add an unnecessary source of silliness to an otherwise brutal movie. Personally, I think that, while not exactly subtle, the comedy do adds to the "charm" of the film, and helps to break the tension in a very dark movie. It may not seem appropriate at first sight, but it's not really a terrible flaw as some may have pointed out.
In the realms of the horror genre, Herman Yau's "Baat sin Faan Dim Ji Yan Yuk Cha Siu Baau", is now a classic of Hong Kong cinema, and essential viewing for those interested in the infamous exploitation movies rated as CAT III. It's not a movie for everyone, but if you have an interest for gritty tales of serial killers, "The Untold Story" is a must-see. 8/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Untold Story is perhaps the most disturbing horror I've seen. Gruesome
in the extreme it features an amoral serial killer who likes atrocities
as murder, mutilation, rape, and perhaps worst of all the onscreen slaying
of children. This is not a movie likely to be given a hollywood go ahead
anytime soon. Yet it is far more disturbing than any Hannibal Lecter or
Seven scenario. Likely to stay with you for many years to
My wife and I saw this movie recently, and I am still creeped out by it.
put this in perspective, we watch movies like Henry Portrait of a serial
killer, and Thief, Cook, Wife and Her Lover all the time. None of those
movies had the same impact on me as this one. I don't know if it is
this was a true story, or the intensity of the killers acting, but this
movie draws you into the story and makes you watch as a helpless
I think the best thing the movie does is show how homicidal maniacs have Jeckle/Hide personalities. The movie never paints the killer with the same broad strokes it unfortunately paints the rest of the cast. There are scenes where I found myself feeling sorry for him, times where he looked like people I know, and times where I could almost like him. The police aren't painted as the heros in the white hats either. Most of them are less likeable than the killer. The whole movie has the feeling like your quiet uncle Joey just murdered your whole family right in front of you.
We did watch the un-cut not rated version, so I don't know what the theatrical release is like.
This is my first 'Cat III' flick, so while I'm not qualified to compare
this to other genre entries; I've heard this is the pick of the bunch,
and I wouldn't be surprised to find that is indeed the case. I guess
this is the sort of film that people mean when they talk about
completely sick Asian cinema, as The Untold Story doesn't exactly hold
back and while the plotting is largely uneven and sometimes doesn't
flow well; there's buckets of blood on display, and the film always at
least has that to fall back on. The film plays out something like a
cross between a psycho killer flick and a police drama, as we follow
Wong Chi Hang; a man who brutally murdered a family after a card game,
and took control of the Eight Immortals Restaurant. Various members of
the restaurant staff are going missing, and it's no coincidence that
the restaurant happens to serve 'pork bao'. The story really starts
when some kids discover a hand on the beach, and following an
investigation into the hand's former owner; it comes to light that it
once belonged to the mother of the restaurant family...
The film starts off slowly, and I can't say that I was enjoying it too much by the end of the first half. However, things really pick up in the second half and by the end we are treated to what is surely one of the most brutal murder sequences ever committed to screen! There's a distinct element of pitch black humour to the film, and this is shown through the bumbling police officers and even some of the murder scenes themselves. The way that the film is shot is fairly stylish and certain sequences; such as the one that sees the main character welding a huge butcher's knife, are very memorable. The Untold Story does a good job of drawing the audience into the central character's story, and this is why the second half of the film works better than the first. The title of the film comes from the fact that our murderer tries his best not to divulge the story surrounding the murders to the police, and the torturous sequences that see the fuzz trying to get it out of him add nicely to the brutal atmosphere of the film. Overall, this is a great slice of nasty cinema. Since it's one of the better known 'Cat III' films, I guess all the experienced viewers will already have seen it; but if you've never seen a Cat III film, this looks like as good a place as any to start!
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