Bloody Secret (2000)
Reviewed by: wyeeso on 2012-03-29
Summary: Not suitable for HK audiences
[Plot: 1/5]
I believe most local HK audiences would call this HK-made film a “kiss-the-Chinese-officials’-ass movie” (a.k.a. “kiss-ass movie”) as soon as they realize the whole story is all about Chinese patriotism and propaganda during the Communist-Chinese era.
One reason, out of many other reasons, why HK audiences don’t (and can’t) favor this kind of “kiss-ass movie” is most local Hong Kongers lack a sense of patriotism towards Communist China since the Mao era (NOTE: I would like to be clear that most Hong Kongers can be patriotic towards China, but normally not to the China ruled by the Chinese Communist Party. Furthermore, most Hong Kongers still love some of the patriotic films, especially those with actions, as long as they are free of Communist-related plot and/or of Communist-related production). As a matter of fact, there’s absolutely no way a realistic Hong Konger can feel patriotic towards Communist China and its “brainwashed” people. Why? Well, it’s not just because most of them are still confused about their national identity (ie. British-Chinese/Chinese/Hong Kongers), it's also because the hatred towards Communist China and their illogical/demoralized culture continue to grow day after day since what happened during the Cultural Revolution and the Tiananmen Square Protest in 1989. So even after 1997, and nowadays, local Hong Kongers would make a distinction, whenever possible, by only admitting themselves to be Hong Kongers, not (Communist) Chinese, and that they are from Hong Kong, not China. They also further distinguish themselves through language/writing, culture, freedom of speech, and so on.
As for the propagandist element of this film, it has little or no impact on me even though I know what the Japanese troops did during WWII was unforgivable, but once I think of what the Chinese Community Party did to their people since the Mao era, I just can't agree with their propaganda anymore. Anyways, we all know that propaganda is usually used as a tool to drive patriotism, and ensures its audiences are fully brainwashed about the pros of their country and the cons of their enemy. And in this case, just like how all terrorists are from Middle East in those US movies, Japanese are frequently portrayed as the ultimate bad-asses in most HK/Chinese (patriotic) movies. So right off in the beginning of this film, the Japanese are already set off as the bad guys who bully the Chinese, deny their invasion of China during World War II, and attempt to destroy the relevant evidence through money, power and violence. On the other hand, Wang Kuo-Hsin the Chinese history scholar (played by Anthony Wong) and Li Ho the Chinese martial art student (played by Ray Lui) are identified as the Chinese heroes who fight to defend the evidence and their country by beating off the bad guys.
Now kids, here we know from the film that propaganda is not just about degrading and exalting people, it’s also about stressing the importance of ethnicity and Chinese identity. For example, throughout the whole film, the Chinese protagonists constantly (or pretty much like every 5 to 15 minutes) emphasize phrases like “a Chinese should help another Chinese” and “Chinese ain’t easily intimidated (by the Japanese)”. Such propagandist intrigue was probably implemented to remind the audiences (especially to the Hong Kongers and Macanese who have recently gone through the turnover to China) of their true identity, or so to speak the Chinese identity. Just like how Ken the Macanese mobster (played by Karel Wong), who suddenly becomes patriotic towards China (even before the Macau turnover as told in the story) and commits suicide when he learns the true intension of Yamada Iro (played by Matsuda Masaru), is reminded of his Chinese identity and his civil duty near the end of the movie. But then, how can the HK audiences take this film seriously, and not be frighten at the same time, when they learn that even the most vicious mobster has to bow down before (Communist) China and meet his death in shame (or meet his death to regain his honor)?
Meanwhile, the romance between Li Ho and Liang Shen-Shen (played by Yvonne Lo) is the side dish for this film, but this melodramatic dish is so corny that it’s not for the modern HK audiences to gulp down.
Finally, to further evident that this film is truly a propagandist production, the film ends with some retro-Communist-Chinese scenes consisting of flying pigeons, sea wave, the sun, and most notably, the Chinese five-star flag. What a bright future Communist China is offering to its people!
In conclusion, for a “kiss-ass movie” like this one, it doesn’t matter what the plot is, or how good and bad it is, what matter is how effective can this film influence its audiences with its patriotic and propagandist messages.

[Actors: 1/5]
HK actors who had their voice dubbed is definitely another reason why HK audience can’t enjoy this film since we have already familiarized ourselves with the original voice of Anthony Wong, Ray Lui, Karel Wong and Ricky Wong. And most of the time, their dubbed voice doesn’t incorporate well with their facial emotion, making it unbearable for me to watch and judge their performance. All I can tell is Ray Lui didn’t give his best performance in general, probably because his role wasn’t that challenging, and you can so tell it was a stunt who did the actions for him.
Also want to mention that if anyone wants to enjoy Anthony’s performance (even with his voice dubbed), you’ll be disappointed because he only got to appear for 10 to 15 minutes in the beginning of this film.

[The Production Crew:]
As of today, I don’t know if we should still blame the director, script writer, and the producers for making such a “kiss-ass movie”. I mean who can blame them if they know they are likely to earn more from Mainland Chinese audiences than from HK audiences, even for a film with a crappy plot like this one? Nevertheless, we should definitely blame the production crew for producing a horrible plot, the poorly made conversation between characters, the use of terrible voice actors, the miscasting, the deplorable martial choreography, the random filmmaking technique, and so on.
Talking about filmmaking technique, I must say I really dislike the use of sequential (zoom) shots (I apologize I have no idea what the proper term for this technique is) in this film and in general! An example of this technique was used when Li Ho and Liang Shen-Shen hug each other at the train station before their separation.

[Memorable scene(s):]
Towards the end, I almost laughed out loud when the villains (including the ones played by Karel Wong and Ricky Wong) enter the scene and appear before Li-Ho and Liang Shen-Shen on a roller coaster with quite a few evil laughs. Where did that idea come from?

[Worth Watching A Second Time?]
Don’t even bother watching it the first time if you really wanna support purely-made-in-HK film with a localized plot that targets the local HK audiences.
Reviewer Score: 1