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M (1993)
Fatal Love


Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 07/16/2007
Summary: Safe to pass.

I haven't watched many Cat III thrillers, but if this is one of the better ones then I won't be watching more. My guess is that by taking ten minutes to address the plot, this one has eight minutes more plot than the typical Cat III thriller and is therefore quite a find for some fans of the genre.

The love scene between Ellen Chang and Michael Wong toward the end is better than usual. Often times these scenes look good, but if you look a little closer the bodies are arranged in a way that would make actual sex impossible. Not here. Though the spray-bottle sweat was applied with a heavy hand.

But the rest is bits of psycho violence woven into a plot that's telegraphed ahead of time and so has little value. This is one you'll want to hit the fast forward button on to reach The Scene, but only if you've messed up and bought it in the first place.

Reviewer Score: 5

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 04/01/2002

Had this lying around in my pile of unwatched movies, and after reading MrBooth's enthusiatic review decided to pull it out and check for myself whether he simply got seduced by a comination of Ellen Chan's beauty, too little sleep, and too much Red Bull, or whether this movie indeed deserves his lavish praise.

And the verdict? Well, the film does not disappoint. It is indeed a well-crafted thriller that features well-developed characters and a very suspenseful story, despite some gaping plot holes. Ellen Chan as the undercover police officer trying to get evidence on suspected murderer Michael Wong displays just the right mix of ample charm, tough determination and innocent naivity to make the story work. The audience cares about her (and I'm not talking about the small portion of the audience who will watch the film merely for the sex scenes) and she has a smart counterpoint in Michael Wong, who works well as an actor when he is dubbed. The film initially keeps the audience guessing about the true identity of the villain, and when it is revealed, we desparately want to save Ellen from her pending fate. Alas, things go as they must, and the films ends with a rather upsetting and abrupt conclusion that left me somewhat unsatisfied, as it was not the outcome I had wanted.

The violence/gore level is pretty high, with some gruesome torture/murder scenes made all the more questionable by being combined with gratuitous sex.

All around, one of the better Cat 3 thrillers. Recommended, if you can stomach the violence.


Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 03/26/2002
Summary: Very good psychological thriller

After watching Eternal Evil Of Asia, I had it in my mind to see some more Ellen Chan. Fatal Love sounded *ahem* interesting. I wasn't expecting a good movie, just some fluff that I could put on at 7am and fall asleep to. I was hence quite surprised to find myself totally gripped, and still awake at 9.

Ellen Chan is a young police academy graduate who is offered a chance to work undercover. Her job is to get close to Billionaire tycoon Michael Wong - suspect of involvement in drugs trafficking, but also suspected of being linked to the rape and murder of a number of young women.

The movie opens with a scene that lets you know how it ends. We see Ellen being rushed into a hospital emergency ward, not looking at all well, whilst Michael looks heartbroken. This scene is really well filmed, quite tense & intense. I was like "wow, what a great first 2 minutes... now where's the nudity?". The first piece of nudity does appear but moments later, with a totally gratuitous shot of Ellen in the shower. Short though, and it will be quite some time before Ellen is disrobed again. The one thing that I would never have expected is that after this tense and well filmed first 2 minutes there would come about 86 more of them. Well, maybe only 84, plus a couple more minutes of gratuitous nudity.

Far from the 'lets find excuses to get pretty girls naked' Cat III fluff I was expecting, FATAL LOVE turns out to be a very well crafted psychological thriller. You know from the beginning how it all ends, but you're never quite sure how it's going to get there - or exactly what it was you saw in those first 2 minutes. The movie manages to sustain its atmosphere pretty well from being to end, and genuinely had me quite on edge - something few movies manage. The characters are very 3-dimensional and well developed, and the script/dialogue/pacing all top notch. Ellen Chan gives an absolutely outstanding performance, and I hate to say it but Michael Wong is really good here too (it helps that he was dubbed by somebody who could act, so if you don't look at him too much you don't have to suffer his natural awfulness). The movie is basically carried by these 2 actors, and under Lo Kin's direction they bear their load well. Maria Cordero deserves a special mention as Debbie's mum too, as she is really good in the few scenes she appears in. The cinematography and especially the soundtrack are very good throughout as well, really building up the atmosphere.

Now perhaps it was red bull and sleep deprivation talking, or perhaps just that my expectations were so low I couldn't help but be impressed, but I found Fatal Love a much deeper and more rewarding movie than I expected. Far from a titillation-fest, even quite cerebral. It's also quite... scary? almost disturbing. There is some sex throughout, and some violence - both are actually pretty "full on"... but kept well within the framework & atmosphere of the thriller at Fatal Love's core. They are genuinely integral to the story and add to it. Honest!

Reviewer Score: 8

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 06/17/2001
Summary: Ellen Chan full frontal

Yep, THE only film in which La Ellen bares it all, though there's plenty of tease first, including a nice shower scene, before she finally flashes the lot in the last few minutes, during an enthusiatic sex scene.

So, is there anything else going on, apart from awaiting THAT moment ? Well, there's a really dumb story with numerous gaping holes. Any shred of suspense is lost in the opening frame, when the identity of the baddie is established beyond doubt. The rest is supposed to be a cat and mouse game, but the cat is way too clever, and the mouse way too naive.

The story is basically a remake of SLIVER with elements of JAGGED EDGE tossed in. Not that either of these were great films, but FATAL LOVE is not even as good.

Total loss ? Certainly not ? I'm surprised this film got away with Cat III rating uncut. There are numerous full frontal shots up so close that, with decent freeze-frame, would serve quite well for gynaecological study. And very nice specimens too. I hasten to add that Ellen's isn't one of these. She is shown full frontal from somewhat too far a distance for my liking but, hey, I'm not quibbling.

One thing which did put me off was the sadistic violence. The villain is know to love killing his victims in cruel ways, and he has an assistant who is just as bad. We are treated to more than one scene where a lovely young woman is stripped naked, then brutally and slowly murdered. These scenes would not have been out of place in the voyeuristic gore-fest DR LAMB.

The ending provides little in the way of resolution, and is very much an anti-climax. I wonder if the director was leaving the way open for some sort of weird sequel.

Anyway, you've been warned.

Reviewer Score: 4

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

An athletic female police recruit goes undercover and falls fora gangster who kills undercover agents, a fact she's perfectly aware of but ignores. She gets reamed in more ways than one.

(1/4)



[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 2