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後天殺人狂 (2004)
My Baby Shot Me Down

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 08/24/2011
Summary: Surprising performance from Teresa Mak

Teresa Mak joined the Hong Kong police in order to catch the criminal who murdered her sister; Jade Leung is the inspector who leads the squad and Pinky Cheung is also a policewoman and Mak’s buddy. “Brush Up My Sisters”, the air-headed, estrogen fueled failed attempt at comedy directed by Martin Lau, right? No, it’s “My Baby Shot Me Down” with Teresa, Jade and Pinky reprising their roles although with a bit less romping in the shower and a bit more rolling around in bed (although not with each other). Less lighthearted fun, more tight lipped woe. Teresa, as Mak, Lin is a psychiatrist/police officer who wants to crack the case of Midnight Butcher Lam Kwok Keung, thinking it will help her solve the murder of her sister, a crime that may have been done by someone copying the gruesome, ritualistic method of the imprisoned Lam. Jade is Inspector Shum, her boss while Pinky is Kammy, her comrade in arms and buddy. It may be a record for cast serendipity: Candy Chiu Jing-Yee played Teresa Mak's murdered sister in both movies.

There are several pairs in the movie: one is Inspector Shum and Sin, her sister. She went missing three years ago and showed up suddenly. Shum is thrilled that her little sister has returned and brings her home where she still has Sin’s favorite ice cream ready for her. Another is Dr. Mak and her sister, the murdered Pui. Even though she is dead—or perhaps because she is dead—Pui is in Mak’s dreams and in her waking thoughts. It is when Mak is bringing flowers to Pui’s grave that the third pair forms: movie actor Wong Wai Tim is also in that part of the cemetery at his mother’s grave. They meet, Mak tells him she and her sister were huge fans when they were young girls and sparks fly.

The last pair is Wong Wai Tim and Lam Kwok Keung, overacted to disgusting perfection by Lam Suet. Lam is a cut-rate Hannibal Lecter—IQ of 192, lives in isolation, is firmly chained whenever he is moved—but he is more distasteful than dangerous. The scene in which he gets sexual satisfaction from rubbing Mak’s ankle while he is still chained and cuffed to a chair is as creepy and revolting as it was meant to be; perhaps more so since the idea of an orgasmic Lam Suet is not an appealing one. Lam has a psychic hold on Tim and has convinced him to continue the reign of terror begun by the Midnight Butcher. We don’t know how the serial killer got control of the actor, only that Tim’s father hated and feared women and passed that along to his son before he killed himself.

Women are killed and mutilated (off camera); Tim fantasizes about slitting open a female corpse (on camera); Lam bends Mak to his will and then refuses to give her the information she sought. “My Baby Shot Me Down” is a misogynist’s delight. It is a weak entry as a cop movie and isn’t really in the “girls with guns” genre—all the girls are armed but only Teresa Mak shoots anyone and has to be talked into it by the person she shoots. It is exceptional if not unique in one way: Teresa Mak acts. She does more than just hit her mark and say her lines, although that is what most acting, particularly on film, consists of. She has an extraordinarily cinematic face—the camera loves her—but it is more than that. Here she is able to inhabit a character that has more than one or two emotions and gives a real performance that might be the best of her career. That seems like damning with the faintest of praise so it might be better to say that she creates a character as well as anyone could have in her underwritten role and does a more professional and artistic job than the director and screenwriter could have expected.

Reviewer Score: 5