Year of release: 1988
Directors: Leung Po-Chi, Benny Chan
Action directora: Phillip Kwok, Bruce Law
Producer: Raymond Wong
Writers: Lau Daai-Chi, Zevia Tong, Lee Hong-Wa, Lee Mak, Raymond Wong
Cinematography: Horace Wong, Paul Chan, Poon Hang-Sang, Peter Pau
Editing: Wong Ming-Lam, Wong Wing-Ming, Cinema City Editing Unit
Music: Violet Lam
Stars: Leslie Cheung, Cherie Chung, Ann Bridgewater, David Wu, Melvin Wong, Ou-Yang Sha-Fei, Phillip Kwok, Gam Biu, Hui Ying-Sau, Cheung Choi-Mei
Rated IIA for violence
Movie Review Index
At first blush, Fatal Love appears to be a re-telling of A Chinese Ghost Story set in modern times, or at least modern as 1988 was at the time, complete with feathered mullets and cell phones the size of a cinder block. However, like many Hong Kong movies, this picture doesn't take a straight path to its' completion, instead taking a sharp left turn towards a blood-soaked finale.
Normally, this wouldn't be a bad thing, especially for those viewers already versed in the schizophrenic world of Hong Kong movies, but Fatal Love seems to have suffered from a case of too many cooks in the kitchen. For example, there are five screenwriters credited here. Much of the overstuffed crew apparently came at the behest of producer Raymond Wong, who wasn't satisfied with the dailies and kept bringing new personnel, to the point that even the original director, Leung Po-Chi, was put to the side so that "executive director" Benny Chan could step in.
All of this ends up to an end product that has an extremely uneven feel. At times, Fatal Love is cocksuredly assured of itself, offering up stylish and compelling drama and action. In other instances, the film comes off like everyone involved was just trying to get the shooting done for the day so that they could head off to play mahjong. There are some good constants throughout the picture, such as Leslie Cheung and Cherie Cheung having good chemistry together, and Melvin Wong once again hitting a pitch-perfect take on a slimy villain.
Unfortunately, though, the positives present here are not quite enough to push Fatal Love out of the realm of the average. Granted, sometimes an average Hong Kong movie is something that would totally fit the bill for a night's entertainment, especially, as with this case, if you are a fan of the actors involved and aren't too particular about the cinematic vehicle you're watching them perform in.