100 Ways to Murder Your Wife (1986)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2006-09-04
When “A Better Tomorrow” exploded onto the screen and into the hearts of moviegoers throughout Asia Chow Yun Fat not only created an iconic character in a new genre of Hong Kong movie, but also put paid his potential as a comic actor . In “100 Ways to Murder Your Wife” Chow is gleefully manic, does a wonderfully repressed slow (very slow) burn and has impeccable timing. Kenny Bee is good as his foil, Joey Wong is beautiful, goofy and naive about her affect on men while Anita Miu is beautiful, sultry and mean as a snake. The beauty and screen presence of the two female leads gives credence to the central action of the movie—only someone truly deranged, driven insane by jealousy (Chow) or nagged into neurosis (Bee) would want to be rid of either of them.

Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train” might well have been the basis for the script (it was released the year before Danny De Vito’s “Throw Momma from the Train”) but the idea of a chance encounter leading to cold blooded murder is quickly abandoned. Football Fa (Chow) and Roberto (Bee) know each other, attend the same parties and move in the same circles. When they awake from a drunken night on the town they mistakenly think that Fa has killed Anita, Roberto’s wife. Fa tries to convince Roberto that the favor should be returned with the death of Wang Hsiao, Fa’s wife. Things become complicated when Anita, pretending to be her own ghost, shows up to bother Roberto and Fa thinks that Roberto is having an affair with Wang Hsiao.

The payoff of the movie comes after Roberto and Fa have set up increasingly outlandish ways to kill Wang—and ice bullet shot by a slingshot, a guillotine whose blade drops when someone sits on a chair under it, a huge TV set to electrocute her in the swimming pool, deadly piranha fish released into the pool and probably a few more that I can’t recall. As is fitting and expected the bumbling would be murderers spring all the traps upon themselves, barely surviving. This extended set of scenes is what makes “100 Ways to Kill Murder Your Wife” worth watching although it doesn't really make up for the long stretches of stupefyingly boring stuff.

This is Kenny Bee’s only credit as a director and the scenes flow well enough to think that someone else—Wong Jing most likely—was actually calling the shots. Wong was behind the camera as the producer and in front of it as Mr. Wang and it looks as if he spent enough time on the set to keep an eye on things.

This is by no means the worst movie released in 1986. It is modestly entertaining in itself and serves as a window on some of the extravagant costumes and sets of the time.
Reviewer Score: 5