Dr. Lamb (1992)
Reviewed by: ewaffle on 2014-06-08
Summary: Sadistic violence
On one side is Dr. Lamb the cab driver from hell. He kills young women, brings their bodies home to typically small multi-generation Hong Kong apartment, keeps them hidden until the rest of family goes out and then poses the bodies for photos before dismembering them. Hardly a master criminal, Lamb drops off his film as a local processing shop--the proprietor calls the police when sees the horrifying subject matter although it seems from the dialog that he had developed and printed some similar images for Lamb in the recent past. On the other side is Detective Li and his squad of thuggish and brutal policemen who arrest Lamb and beat him until he confesses. They beat him some more the convince him to tell them where evidence of murder and mutilation can be found. Then they beat him more because it's just what they do.

The movie begins with scenes from Lamb’s past that show his psychosexual compulsions may have been present in his youth. However the leap is so great from a puberty ridden kid who peeks at his father and stepmother having sex to an adult who enjoys unspeakable crimes against women that the filmmakers could have skipped the backstory without weakening the narrative.
A saxophone wails as a cab glides slowly through a typical (in movie terms) rainy late night urban wilderness lit by blinking neon signs. This isn’t “Taxi Driver” or “Night on Earth”, though; in both of those films it was essential that the protagonist drive a cab. In “Dr. Lamb”, Simon Yam’s job is incidental—he is mobile and is able to meet women in an anonymous but seemingly benign environment. Simon Yam’s portrayal of the demented killer has all the subtlety of a falling safe. He goes from insane but controlled to frothing at the mouth frenzy without missing a beat. He is sane enough to clean up the gore in the apartment (although unable to completely cover the stench of blood and viscera in the close quarters of the bedroom he shares with his brother) and to get out of the apartment with a box full of bloody body parts which he dumps from a bridge.
The pre-handover Hong Kong Police are depicted as corrupt, misogynistic, lazy, incompetent as well as vicious. Emily Kwan plays Bo, the only woman officer on the crew—she is the victim of a particularly ham-handed “recreation” of the first murder in which she is shut in a coffin-like bureau even though she is claustrophobic. Parkman Wong is Bully Hung the chief thug on the squad, taking the lead in beating Lamb. Kent Cheng is Fat Bing who seems to be second in command and who spends his time avoiding work.
There are enough “what the hell?” moments in the film to detract from the overall sense of horror and disgust. The main one for me was when Lamb was dissecting the second corpse—cutting off a breast, as I recall, and the blood flowed freely from the cuts. Dead men tell no tales and dead women don’t bleed.
Worth watching for fans of Simon Yam and for aficionados of sadistic violence.
Reviewer Score: 5