Year of release: 2001
Genre: Triad drama
Director: Dick Lee
Action director: Chan Pui-Hung
Producer: Dick Lee
Writers: Shum Wai, Yung Sau-Hung
Cinematography: Tsui Ka-Ka
Editors: Lai Fu-Yau, Lo Jan-Hung
Music: Yip Hoi-Ming, Chan Chi-Choi
Stars: Hugo Ng, Kong Ming-Wei, Siu Yee-Ting, Jim Ping-Hei, Shum Wai, Alan Chan
Rated IIB for violence and language
This movie is available at www.hkflix.com
Movie Review Index
It's one thing to be a low-budget straight-to-video release. It's another thing entirely to be that sort of picture, but actually be shot on video. Desperation Verge is that sort of effort -- something which I'm hesitant to actually call a movie. Not only does it have next to no production values, it's just damn boring. Can you tell this isn't going to be a positive review?
Desperation Verge's thin shred of a story is about Rat (Kong Ming-Wei), a low-level Triad whose gambling debts have gotten him in trouble with a loan shark. To escape the heat, Rat's boss (Hugo Ng) sends him to Malaysia, when he meets a semi-hot chick and brokers a deal for a valubale computer chip. Of course, double-crosses ensue, and the real fun begins.
Well, okay, maybe not. Sure, the Triad drama is extremly well-worn territory, but even average film-makers can usually do something, anything, with the genre -- that is not the case here with our friend Dick Lee, who has created a Triad picture with zero creativity or dramatic weight to it. There isn't even any gratuitous violence or shots of bare breasts to keep the audience entertained. Instead, we get a bunch of actors hamming it up doing some very bad (and poorly chosen) comedy that will remind many western viewers of exactly why they don't like Cantonese comedies.
It always puzzles me how (and why) movies like Desperation Verge get made in the first place. Is there really an audience out there for this sort of stuff, or were the producers depending on dumb gweilos like me to pick up the DVD based on the cover art? I'm thinking it's the latter, and I want to smack myself in the head for subjecting my retinas to this drivel for eighty minutes. Do youself a favor and don't make the same mistake. Your brain cells will thank you in the long run.