Bad Blood (Review)
Bad Blood is a Hong Kong crime film that is about Triads and betrayal and having too many characters to give enough of them proper character development. And it isn’t very good. It is saved from being completely boring by one character going absolutely crazy and by Jiang Luxia beating up lots of dudes.
Granted, the only reason I even bothered to see this film was Jiang Luxia was in it, and from the trailer and description it made it look like she was going to be a deaf evil hit girl. And though she is deaf and dumb, she isn’t an evil hit girl and her character actual does stuff and is likeable, more than in Coweb, but no one still has bothered to use Jiang Luxia in a real capacity. Someone get of your duff and do it right, before I fly to Hong Kong and then quickly fly back home after having breathing problems in the bad air quality.
But Triad films are still the rage thanks to affairs of the infernal kind and dudes who are youthful and menacing. So for every HK Triad film you will sort of remember, there are many more that you will not. This might qualify as a film you will remember, but not because of the intriguing Triad relationships.
The film starts in the middle of a deal gone bad, as the cops are chasing a bunch of criminals dressed as “Red Ex” delivery men. No wonder you got caught, Red Ex? They don’t even have the Fed Ex arrow in the logo. After a long, running fight, most of them get away except one named Andy Lok, who is rammed by a truck and captured. He’s also the one guy carrying the merchandise, some copper plates for counterfeiting money.
The rest of the gang is Funky, Calf, Hung, a bald guy, and Brother Zen. They are part of the Tung Luen Shun gang that was started by the grandfather of captured Andy Lok. Poor Andy Lok is shot in a public arena in China, witnessed by his sister Audrey Lok, who then goes and gets his will along with attorney Peter. The will is not able to be read to the crime family until Audrey’s other brother Jason returns from the US. So in the meantime, they vote Funky in charge of the gang because he has a cool name and he is Simon Yam and thus cool. There is an argument over whether money in Andy’s will should go back to the gang since he used money to buy the copper plates that he had on him when he was captured.
Calf goes to see Dumby, who is Jiang Luxia and attacks him as he enters her place with knife on a rope. They fight for a bit until he brutally kicks her into barrels. But they are just practicing and are really good friends. Dumby can’t talk, and communicates by sign language and texting. They go for a motorcycle ride and start looking for trouble. And make it double. Actually, they find some guys harassing some girls, one of which stole the boyfriend of a buddy of the gang. So Calf watches as Dumby walks up and just kicks the crap out of all the guys. They run off, and declare they shall return in a few minutes. so they do, with like 30 dudes all itching to fight Dumby. Dumby beats the tar out of every one of these guys in a running fight that happens around some parked trucks and semis. When everyone is defeated, Dumby slaps the evil girl who started all the trouble just for good measure. Scenes like this are fine, and are more interesting than the actual plot of the film.
Jason comes back into town and they can finally read the will, which basically says Jason and Audrey each get half. Funky still makes veiled threat about getting his money, and as he is a cold medina, you should listen to him. Things seem okay until the next day and the will reader Peter Wong is dead, having leaped off of a high building. “Leaped”, to be precise. That means he was murdered.
Jason gets blown up by a car bomb that Audrey obviously knew about because it takes her a bajillion years to come downstairs to the car. Hey, movie, how about next time you play your cards close to your chest and not waste our time with two minutes of Audrey deciding what underwear to wear. You would think I wouldn’t complain about women and underwear, but I am, because this movie is making me.
Everyone except Brother Zen seems to think Funky did it, even though he says he didn’t. Didn’t they watch Audrey slave over her underwear decision like us in the audience did? See, this would all be solved if they were perverts who were spying on Audrey.
Audrey goes all weird in a sequence where she cuts her hair short and puts on makeup. That is her spiritual translation to evil, because all evil women have short hair and makeup. Audrey sets up a will that if she dies all her money goes to the Red Cross, to protect her from being murdered for her money.
The bald game member Kong is at the gym, and is attacked by Calf. They knifefight for a while until bald guy eventually loses and is killified dead.
Flashback to Audrey trying to get Calf to team up with her, though at this point Audrey has her hair cut but is referring to Jason as still being alive. Someone fire the continuity person! Calf is the son of a hooker, by the way.
Calf then ambushes Brother Zen, who is prepared and has body armor on. He also has a dozen goons with knives and Hung in an room, all of who burst out to attack Calf. But Calf has Dumby, who is worth 50 dozen guys in a room and 19 Hungs. She and Calf soon start wailing on all those goons with knives. Eventually, all goons are defeated, and Brother Zen and Hung are both killed as the film suddenly gets all stylized and has red fake blood splatter all over the screen as they die. Hunh. I didn’t know the film had it in it! What next, a decent plot? No, more like a descent into wacky town, but that’s a few scenes down the road…
Calf was injured and Dumby takes him to her place. Dumby calls over his mom, who he just yells at and then stomps off to his place. Dumby was an orphan girl he adopted when he found her on the streets, and she’s in love with him as well. I tell you this because I know you care.
Audrey’s dance classes she talks about are really her going and hiring guys to try to kill her, then she kills them and learns lethal kung fu that way. You would think there would be an easier way. She is also the master of stylized kill screens with fake graphics blood splattering everywhere. She’s the Jackson Pollack of movie stylization.
Audrey has Calf play badminton with her, and then she stabs him in the back with some goofy splits-climb-up-the-wall move. This movie has gone from bad to dumb really fast.
Audrey is going all out evil now, and challenges Funky to a final battle. AKA, a duel in a warehouse. They invite a bunch of old guys to watch, who I guess are elders in the gang (but shouldn’t the elders be in charge of the gang, then???) and after a long bout of giant knife vs sword combat, Funky gets cut the funk up and is dead. Audrey takes the jade medal of leadership.
Audrey then kills Calf’s mom with scissors, and the rest of the family, which is Pinky Cheung as some random girl that was sleeping with Funky and Grandma Ling, who was paralyzed but was just faking it. Grandma Ling gets into an SUV and tries to run down Audrey, who leaps onto the back of the speeding SUV, smashes through the glass roof, chokes Grandma Ling until she crashes. Then Audrey ties up Grandma Ling, pours gasoline all over the SUV, and then sets it on fire while walking away in slow motion.
Yeah, the movie has gotten that dumb.
Speaking of dumb, Dumby is the last character left, so she storms the house that Audrey is in, with 50 something guards outside protecting her. Dumby cuts through all the guards in a protracted roof fight and gets inside, only to have Audrey kick the crap out of her until she’s puking up blood. Audrey wants her to talk, which if you have been paying attention is impossible, so there you are. Dumby then pulls out a grenade, and Audrey’s bodyguards’ responses are just to shoot Dumby even though Dumby is on top of their boss with a grenade. Needless to say, everyone blows up and the movie ends.
So a boring Triad drama was partially saved by Jiang Luxia and Andy On going around causing trouble, but then the film is taken over by a crazy lady who makes Cruella De Ville look sane. Not many films are brave enough to roast granny. But even that stuff can’t make up for the boredom of parts, the obviousness of who the real villain is, and the over the top evilness that isn’t played up for the fun glee it should be. I wanted to like it, but I still don’t.
Rated 4/10 (kanji time, Who has a Red Ex?, the magic plates, the jade of leadership)
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