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March 4th, 2002 Issue #98

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

Crime of a Beast
(2001; Matrix Productions Company)

Cover art courtesy Universe.

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Chung gik keung gaan: ye sau yau wat
Mandarin: Zhong ji qiang jian: ye shou you hou
English: The Final Rape: Beastly Seduction


With the theatrical market for B-movies now all but extinct, some HK filmmakers are following the example set by their Japanese counterparts and switching to digital video. CRIME OF A BEAST is one such production and the medium in which it was produced is the only novelty this dreary, hypocritical exercise has to offer. Assigned to track and apprehend a serial rapist, Inspector Wong (Chan Kwok-bong) tries to question the latest victim, psychiatrist / screenwriter (!) Mazy Hui (UN BAISER VOLE's Natalie Ng Man-yan, badly miscast), but she is too distraught to offer any leads. Flashbacks reveal her assailant to be Sin Ho-fun (Samuel Leung Cheuk-moon), a homely, put-upon crew member, whom Mazy tried to help via a free discussion session in her office. The paranoid and delusional Sin soon misinterprets one of her comments and, later that day, drugs and rapes the woman, the first in a series of assaults he perpetrates. Once she has recovered, Mazy and Wong join forces in order to apprehend Sin, who has now graduated to murder.

Grace Lam Nga-sze (left) and Natalie Ng Man-yan (right). Image courtesy Universe.

Wong Jing's RAPED BY AN ANGEL pictures are sleazy and disreputable, and revel in that fact. Ironically, this makes them easier to accept than CRIME OF A BEAST, one of those exploitation films that tries to justify its excesses by making a half-assed condemnation of some societal ill. Director David Lau Tai-wai would have us believe that he is doing just that (via a post-script crawl that offers up an incredibly simplistic bit of psychology to account for Sin's sociopathic actions), while including numerous shots down tops and up skirts, and a sequence where Mazy kisses and fondles a female patient, while the latter is hypnotized (all in the name of therapy, of course). The procedural aspects of the plot are completely unconvincing and the final reel concludes with a series of events so absurd, one can scarcely believe that they were actually shot. Grace Lam Nga-sze and Wong Yat-fei have supporting roles but the Joey Wang and Stanley Tong listed in the credits are not the ones you are thinking of.

DVD Specs:

Universe #5904
Sync Sound Cantonese (Dolby Digital 2.0 & 5.1, DTS) and Dubbed Mandarin
(Dolby Digital 5.1)
Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)
8 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips
Letterboxed (1.79:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
87 Minutes
Contains sexual violence and mild sexual content

DVD menu courtesy Universe.

Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice

Hong Kong: IIB


The image looks rather soft and washed out, and the 1.79:1 matting does not really add much, composition-wise. The disc's main asset is a surprisingly ambitious and atmospheric sound mix offered in no less than four different formats. For no clear reason, the English subtitles are missing part or all of the last word in a number of sentences, and an intertitle is left solely in Chinese. The only extra is a trailer.

CRIME OF A BEAST is available at Poker Industries.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

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