AKA: King of Triads
Year of release: 2010
Genre: martial arts
Director: Dennis Law
Action director: Nicky Li
Producer: Dennis Law
Writer: Dennis Law
Cinematography: Herman Yau
Editing: Azrarel Chung
Music: Tommy Wai
Stars: Simon Yam, Benrice Liu, Pinky Cheung, Andy On, Lam Suet, Chris Lai, Jiang Lu-Xia, Ken Lo, Hung Yan-Yan, Michael Chan, Eddie Cheung, Wong Tin-Lam
Rated IIB for violence and language
Movie Review Index
A former real estate magnate turned director, one always gets the sense that Dennis Law's heart is in the right place, but he doesn't really have the chops to produce compelling cinema. His 2010 picture Bad Blood (renamed to King of Triads for its' recent US DVD release) is another example of this. While there are some fun scenes present here, as whole, the film isn't very well put together at all, making this more of a rainy day rental, rather than mandatory viewing material for action movie fans.
The story here (which was also the product of Dennis Law's mind) is pretty much bottom of the barrel stuff, with the basics boiling down to Bernice Liu and Andy On trying to eliminate members of a gang led by Simon Yam so that they can keep a five million dollar inheritance to themselves. Now, granted, action movies don't need to have deep plots to be entertaining, but the exposition here is truly painful in parts. Case in point -- Simon's character's name is Funky. Yeah, that's right. Funky. Ugh. Someone please pass the Jagermeister.
Dennis Law's style of film-making seems to be to simply place a camera in the center of a room and just let the actors go through such not-so-exciting motions like making coffee. And he really doesn't seem to have any grasp on how to motivate actors, with most of them going on auto-pilot. For the veterans like Simon Yam, who has played this kind of role dozens of times, this isn't a major detriment, since they can do these sorts of gigs in their sleep. But, for the younger actors, watching them attempt to emote is akin to a cinematic icepick to the temples. The worst offender is Bernice Liu, who, despite looking lovely, far too often resorts to the crutch employed by many poor Hong Kong actors of reciting her lines in English.
What saves Bad Blood from becoming total cinematic chum are the fighting sequences. With a cast that includes Ken Lo, Hung Yan-Yan, and Michael Chan, there is some definite quality present in the fisticuffs department. In particular, Mainland actor Jiang Lu-Xia shines in what could have been a standard tough girl role. But, overall, even though the fights are good stuff, there isn't nearly enough of them to get across the sizeable divots in the road the clunky exposition throws towards the viewer.