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A man (Fatty) returns home to find his wife with another man. He goes to a bar and begins to drink, waking up the next day to find that he owes a mafioso money for killing his wife. Not wanting to pay the money, he enlists a malitia organization only to find the leader a psychopath who seeks revenge on his brother, who the mafioso tortured. The psycho blames Fatty, and kills his mother and young daughter. Fatty must kill the psycho to survive. Written by
Curt Sackett <email@example.com>
Hin Sing 'Billy' Tang has directed many noteworthy pieces of cinema in Hong Kong. His work include Red to Kill (1994) and Dr. Lamb (1992, co-directed with Danny Lee), but I think Run and Kill (1993) is perhaps his masterpiece, at least from films he's directed completely himself. Run and Kill stars the "fatty" Kent Cheng as Cheung, a business man who has a beautiful wife and little girl. He lives peaceful life with his family and goes to work in his company everyday and is a good family father. One day after coming from work he learns his wife is cheating on him with another man, and he gets shocked very badly. He goes to the nearby bar and gets drunk big time. Soon he meets one mysterious character who starts to ask things from Cheung and recommend some things which his wife deserved.. Cheung is very drunken and he says something he'd never mean and once he gets to home after waking up in the street, he learns what's happened and what's going to happen. The incredible and frightening trip to Hell has begun and the worst is yet to come.
Run and Kill is totally powerful experience and even more harrowing after the second viewing. The film begins as some usual Hong Kong "slapstick comedy" as Cheung plays with his daughter and does silly things as they are getting ready to go to work and school on that fateful morning. It may feel very irritating as Cheung acts so childishly as he tries to entertain his child. That's okay, since fathers play with their children and try to amuse them. The tone of the film, however, won't stay that way once the first 15 or so minutes have rolled. The film changes from light family film/comedy into a shocking cheating tragedy into a hellish quest for life after the real nature of the happenings is revealed. The beginning and ending of this extraordinary film are as different with each other as possible. The beginning is comedy, the ending is nightmare.
The usual dark colors and cinematography of director Tang is again powerful element, and really creates the infernal mood of the film. Once the horror begins, there's hardly any sunny scenes or happy colors, but menacing dark and blue smoke and empty rooms with nothing but despair. This film is perhaps as dark as they come, even from Hong Kong. The greatest power of Run and Kill among these cinematic elements is the structure how it changes its nature so wildly and becomes such a trip to the heart of darkness after beginning very differently and lightly.
Meet Simon Yam, the most frightening, sadistic and dangerous screen psychopath ever in any film:
Simon Yam's character in Run and Kill is totally incredible. He plays a traumatic Vietnam veteran who is undescribably evil and wicked inside and that we unfortunately learn very soon. I'd like to tell more about how this character becomes to the film, but Run and Kill belongs to the movies that you should know as little before viewing as possible. Yam's character is equally bad and dangerous with Anthony Wong's character in Herman Yau's The Untold Story. Yam's character in Run and Kill shows its most evil sides during the film's most infamous and sadistic scene which involves the death of one young character. That scene is so harrowingly powerful and disturbing act of violence that it is hard to imagine being even more powerful on any level. It gets worse. The way how Yam acts in that scene is as frightening as the act committed itself. Yam seems not to act anymore, he seems to BE like he'd be normally, it is that realistic and convincing. His face expression and other movements during that scene are totally unimaginable and made me cringe during that scene as I fully noticed them now during second viewing. Imagine Anthony Wong's face expression during the credits of The Untold Story (as he's in the police photographs) and you have the idea how powerful Yam's acting in the scene is. The scene in Run and Kill is definitely among the most gruesome and disturbing scenes ever in any film. Is it there in vain and only to exploit? No, because it is an important element in the story and finally makes Cheung's character to become what he becomes.
After that scene, the film has still approximately 15-20 minutes of running time and as it should be clear by now, it is total Hell and despair whole thing. The point and theme of the film is how seemingly normal and peace loving human mind may become greater evil and more wicked than he'd ever dare to think. Cheung becomes as evil as Yam at the end, and so the inner demon and wickedness in Cheung's soul has been released and is no more un-active hiding in the background of his mind. Run and Kill is extremely depressing and dark film which hasn't got too much (if any) positivism in it, and perhaps the only positive characters (who stay alive) are the police officers, led again by Danny Lee, the actor in many other police roles and the co-director of Dr. Lamb. The violence is very strong, too, and rarely have I felt so much pain to watch the mayhem on screen as every act of killing and stabbing hurts badly as it is realistic and never glorified or distorted to look harmless and an noteworthy tool to solve things. Run and Kill is very honest in this department and that's why it is so effective and challenging film experience.
Run and Kill was almost too much and too powerful experience for me, and so this is definitely not for any casual viewer. I think many/some viewers would without a doubt simply faint during the most infamous killing scene, especially if seen in the theatre on big screen. The power of Run and Kill is so great, it can affect people so effectively as people have actually fainted during the most powerful films and run out of theatres. Especially people who have own children will definitely feel very bad during that scene as I did, too, without being a father. Run and Kill is very likely as dark and pessimistic a film as possible and the power of this film is not likely going to be beaten or even equalled and I think those who manage to do so, are also made in Hong Kong or Japan, whose film makers have freedom to do their art without following some restrictions and commercial aims.
Run and Kill gets the full 10 rating from me as I find this so remarkable piece of the dark cinema and its message is close to me, too. This really shows how noteworthy films some of the CAT 3 films are, despite the fact that some/most (?) of them were made simply because of money and fact that these were so popular in Hong Kong back then in the early 90's. Run and Kill among The Untold Story is the greatest achievements of these CAT 3 films and they have many important things to tell and discuss, but only for the adventurous.
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