Revenge: A Love Story (2010)
By: Rip on October 24, 2012 | Comments
Eastern Eye | Region 4, PAL | 2.35:1 (16:9 enhanced) | Cantonese DD 5.1 | 87 minutes (Full Specs)
The Movie
Cover Art
Director: Ching-Po Wong
Starring: Juno Mak, Sola Aoi
Screenplay: Lai-yin Leung, Ching-Po Wong
Country: Hong Kong
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Based on a story by Hong Kong pop singer Juno Mak (who also stars as the film's central character, Kit), Revenge: A Love Story opens with the brutal slaying of a heavily pregnant woman and her husband. We soon learn that the woman's husband is a policeman, and as fellow officers arrive to find the grisly scene, we are privy to yet another attack and similarly butchered victim; the unborn baby removed and the victim's husband, also a policeman. The authorities soon track down a suspect in steamed bun salesman, Kit, whom they duly arrest and subject to violent interrogation. Remaining strangely silent throughout, it becomes apparent that these police officers may have had dealings with their suspect in the past. The film then takes a flashback to follow Kit as he forms a a relationship with mentally challenged schoolgirl, Wing (Aoi Sola) and it is here that we discover the devastating motives behind Kit's actions and how he changed from a quiet young food vendor to cold-hearted killer...

Ah yes, nothing like a good revenge film. Revenge is the most basic of human desires and this is probably why these types of movies are so enduring. Revenge: A Love Story just happens to be one of the best this reviewer has seen. This Hong Kong Cat III title from 2010 has had quite a bit of acclaim, playing at many festivals around the globe and even taking out a few prizes. The film certainly delivers in terms of graphic content, with some truly shocking violence and gore scenes, many of which involve pregnant women, along with gun and knife battles, beatings, and over-the-top police brutality. In her first Chinese language role, young Japanese porn starlet, Aoi Sola (whom you may recognize from the wacky Big Tits Zombie), also has to endure one of the roughest and longest rape scenes in recent memory, undergoing some horrific treatment at the hands of her abusers during the film's key flashback sequence. As a result, the film pushes its 'R' rating to the very limits, especially in the substantially nastier international cut, which we have thankfully received here in Australia. And although it's the violence which really drives the film, the plot of Revenge: A Love Story is taut and gripping. Director/co-writer Wong Ching Po masterfully weaves exposition and flashbacks into the narrative, and the film moves along at quite a clip.

As the tortured Kit, Juno Mak is very convincing in a surprisingly sympathetic performance, and given Aoi Sola is a porn star as opposed to serious thespian, she manages to show glimpses of real emotional depth, despite only having a few lines of dialogue. The relationship between Kit and Wing is quite affecting, making for a few genuinely poignant moments and helping to validate the use of the word 'love' in the title of this otherwise relentlessly grim movie.

Visually, the film is intentionally drained of colour. In fact, it's almost black & white, which ultimately suits its rather noir-ish style. Aided by a menacing and sometimes beautiful musical score, Revenge: A Love Story is in possession of a deep emotional core that really sets it apart from other films of similar ilk and therefore deserves to be seen.
Madman's Eastern Eye R4 release replicates the film's washed-out visual palette, with a clean and uncensored transfer, framed in its original 2:35 aspect ratio. Though a little soft here and there with some very minor motion blurring, the print is blemish free and 16x9 enhanced. Optional English subtitles are available and easy to read.
We get the choice of Cantonese and Mandarin 5.1 audio tracks. No problems here, with robust bottom end and that terrific score coming through nicely, especially in the more ambient moments.
Extra Features
A most interesting 26 minute shot-on-video 'making of', that is broken in to 4 parts with English subtitles. Despite the short running time, it manages to cram a lot of information in. The film's theatrical trailer is also featured.
The Verdict
Revenge: A Love Story is a superior revenge flick. Engrossing and grim, super violent, but thought-provoking, this is great cinema and it comes highly recommended.
Movie Score
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