Reviewed by: danton
Directed by Billy Chung (who also helmed The Assassin), this low budget effort features an ensemble cast and a surprisingly intelligent, cohesive script (which was written by Simon Lui, who also plays the lead). It's the story of a murder investigation: a prostitute (played by Pauline Chan) is found dead in a cheap motel, and a police team led by the ferocious, driven Inspector Pang (Simon Lui) starts an investigation that soon reveals clues that point to corruption within the police force itself.
Inspector Pang is a sullen, obsessive character, who is unable to communicate with his wife, played by Fennie Yuen, and whose marriage is falling apart. At the same time, he pursues his work in an unrelenting, compulsive manner, even resorting to extreme brutality on occasion (the movie includes a very brutal interrogation scene at the start). Simon Lui portrays him with a smoldering intensity that is communicated not so much by what he says but through his eyes and his stony-faced expression, behind which you can just see the turmoil of repressed emotions trying to break out. Great performance. And the talented supporting cast, which also includes Ada Choi, Cheung Tat Ming, Pinky Cheung and the legendary Ti Lung, further adds to the overall intensity of the movie, fleshing out their characters quite believably and injecting each scene with tension and suspense.
With the exception of the somewhat disappointing final scene, Paramount Motel compares favorably with the best efforts of Ringo Lam. Recommended.