Thursday, March 29, 2012

To Kill With Intrigue

The Action Mutant…
presents "To Nudge With Meh".

To Kill With Intrigue

review by Joe Burrows

The Plot, as it was:
Jackie Chan stars as Siao Lei, a man who scorns his pregnant girlfriend Chin Chin (Yu Ling-Lung) and asks her to leave. Before you mark him as a total douche, he only did so because his family was about to be slaughtered by a gang led by Ting Chan Yen (Hsu Feng) and wanted Chin Chin out of the way. Yen spares Lei, who flees into exile and is pursued by hired killers. In order to gain his girl back and have his revenge, Lei must go through strange channels to obtain it.

Don’t shoot me…I’m only the reviewer!:
This Lo wei/Jackie Chan collaboration would be another wholly forgettable one in a slate around this time period if not for a few reasons. Not all of them are positive mind you but they do ensure that To Kill With Intrigue isn't boring (unlike some of those aforementioned vehicles). For one thing, to call the plotting "convoluted" would be an insult to the word itself. We're not talking twists on an M. Night Shyamalan level here but there are too many needless ones in a Kung Fu flick that acts as part Martial Arts saga and part soap opera. The main one does reveal the primary villain but it takes more than a few steps to get to that point. The twists also bring about plot holes that could pose for an interesting party game in case you're watching with friends. Try reasoning why Lei tells his girlfriend off instead of just warning her of the eminent danger. Wonder as Lei goes on to befriend his attackers and why a certain one puts him through several tests instead of just helping him out right! Granted, this is a fictional tale but reasonable people normally don't take these steps (or leap through the air like a trampoline is always near by). Thankfully, everyone ditches the confusion about midway through and replaces it with some plentiful fight scenes (even if they require plenty of wire & trampoline work). They're not up to the quality Chan fans are used to these days but they are fun enough to make you forget that you had to watch some perplexing shit in order to get to them.

Body Count/Violence: 23. TKWI brings plenty of weapon use, including swords, knives, axes, staffs, spears, etc. Some stabbing and hand to hand combat bring about bloody results but nothing too excessive. Also, Jackie gets burnt on the face and has to swallow a hot coal instead of just walking over them.

Sexuality/Nudity: Nothing.

Language/Dialogue: Not much at all, if any.

How bad was it?:
Most were on the fence on TKWI, leaning more toward the negative side of things. While critics say it had its merits, the muddled plot, cheap production and tacky fight scenes ultimately tanked any goodwill.

Did it make the studio’s day?:
Filmed in South Korea, To Kill With Intrigue started its Hong Kong run on 7/22/77 and ended five days later. It was released to video in America under the Trans World Entertainment label in 1985.

Film: **/*****
Entertainment value: ***/*****

Copyright 2012 The Action Mutant

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