Marketed as TVB actress Bernice Liu’s 廖碧兒 first foray into Hong Kong cinema as a badass martial arts actress, Bad Blood 滅門 started screening in in the territory on 21 January.
Produced, scripted and directed by Dennis Law, Bad Blood plays out like a low budget B-grade action based gangster film from the late 80s and early 90s. While plenty of respectable actors (Simon Yam 任達華, Lam Suet 林雪) and veteran action stars (Ken Lo Wai Kwong 盧惠光, Xiong Xin Xin 熊欣欣) star in Bad Blood, the film really belongs to the newer generation of HK stars: these include Andy On 安志杰, upcoming Mainland Chinese action star Jiang Luxia 蔣璐霞 and former beauty pageant winner Bernice Liu. Ludicrous action takes center stage in the movie with the rest of the film serving as mere filler between the fights.
The plot follows the death of a triad head and the subsequent jostling for his estate and the right to become the new leader of the gang within his immediate family. Bernice Liu takes center stage as a seemingly good natured sister who turns out to be the most vindictive member of the family. The plot falls apart as viewers are not given any indication as to her motives; we can understand killing off competition to the role of gang boss, but she even kills a brother she “loves” who doesn’t pose any threat.
As for the action, Andy On and Jiang Luxia both take part in pretty much all the key action scenes and both deliver entertaining fights. Though ground breaking fights a la Donnie Yen’s in Flash Point or SPL these are not. Bernice Liu remains awkward throughout the film, and I won’t call her martial arts debut a success; her fights don’t dazzle and seem quite ordinary for Hong Kong films. Part of the problem, I think, comes from the fact that her acting isn’t quite up to snuff and she never convinces as a badass fighter or a conniving bitch.
Bad Blood reminded me of the days when Hong Kong produced 100+ movies a year – some where classics, but many simply rode on the wave of others and delivered cheap thrills with ok action and loads of skin (incidentally, Pinky Cheung Man Tsi’s 張文慈 role in this movie seems to have been written just for the actress to wear a bikini and crouch in front of the camera). These lesser movies were often entertaining in a low brow kind of way and were instantly forgettable. Back then, we would watch new releases like these every week; nowadays, even these low budget slap together films have become a rarity. So yes, I welcome crappy films like Bad Blood even if I won’t recommend it as a good film.