Victim [1999]
Director and screenplay: Ringo Lam
Producer and screenplay: Joe Ma
Cast: Lau Ching Wan, Tony Leung, Wayne Lai, Joe Lee

One of Hong Kong's finest directors, Ringo Lam has made an excellent action filled crime story with one of Hong Kong's finest actors, Lau Ching Wan, cast against type in the bad guy role. After a brief interlude in Hollywood with the Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle Maximum Risk, Lam returned to HK to make Full Alert[1997] and The Suspect[1998] prior to Victim.

Part murder mystery, part ghost story, this movie has a hard time deciding what it wants to be. What appears to be a grizzly kidnapping case proves to be something quite different after some hard nosed police work by Tony Leung and his C.I.D. squad. When the kidnap victim turns up in a haunted house, the movie gets very atmospheric. "Ghost movies" have been a very popular genre in recent years and Victim does a nice job with the scary segments. The high tension action sequences are very taut and explosive, as is expected in a Ringo Lam film.

Performances from Lau and Leung are outstanding. Victim features some strong performances from the supporting cast. Stormriders Mud Buddha, Wayne Lai, who was so funny in Billy Chung's Last Ghost Standing[1999] and so twisted in Steve Cheng's Violent Cop[2000], is cast as Leung's 'timid around ghosts' police partner. The film also features Joe Lee as the leader of the criminal gang. Lee appeared in Wilson Yip's Bullets Over Summer[1999] as the nasty bad guy and he is just as intimidating here.

copyright 2000 J. Crawford
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