Aug 31, 2010

Taxi Hunter

To enlighten those who are just now introduced to Herman Yau's work by way of The Legend is Born: Ip Man, Yau is also the fellow known exclusively in the "cult" circuit as the man who offered us generous doses of greedy-like gore with his two CAT III hits Ebola Syndrome and The Untold Story. Previous to those two Anthony Wong vehicles was what many could consider the precursor to Wong's perfected art of ignorance meets derangement and Yau's eventual transcendence into shocking violence. The film was Taxi Hunter starring Anthony Wong as a workaholic insurance salesman whose wife is expecting a child until a fateful night with a taxi driver that results in her squirmy death via asphalt challenge. This, with other incidents concerning selfish and rude taxi drivers, is what sparks Ah-Kin's (Wong) bloody rampage as he plays with the idea of murder as a tool for bettering society. Well, that's how Yau planned it but Wong only can represent the charitable executioner for so long until the "hero's" development hits a speed bump and leaves us wondering if we really could root for this respectful monster at all.

Unlike the other classic examples of excellence in this particular genre, Taxi Hunter is rated CAT IIB (equivalent to "R" rating) but even without the brutality this remains a film that does not disappoint. If you're familiar with Red to Kill, Run and Kill, or Her Vengeance, then you are aware of precisely what you are getting yourself into; a chop-socky brawl featuring karate cops and ubiquitous violence with that antique HK feel. One recurring theme in these Hong-Kong exploitation pictures that I couldn't help but notice is the inclusion of "Fatty", a character that appears in most everyone I've seen. Whether he is the main character, supporting cast member, or police officer, I can recall scratching my head and wondering whether or not the Asiatics take humorous prejudice to our tubby kinfolk or just plain lashing out at obesity and the disgusting effects of over-consumption. For the matter of repeating thematic elements of film crossing over to similar kind, Taxi Hunter is also laden with jazz-pop lullabies that draw a more-than-savory approach to highlighting and tuning into all moods this film has to offer; tragedy, madness, and the giving spirit.

When Taxi Hunter kicks off into it's second gear, the film takes a curious charge in representing the same methodical structure behind 2006's Korean hit No Mercy for the Rude, in which a hitman only "cleans" disrespectful targets. Another comparable topic is Michael Douglas's stellar role in Falling Down, the story of a man who seemingly had it all until his sanity dissipates. These two films pasted together create the core of Taxi Hunter; which will most likely be seen as Taxi Driver from an alternate dimension. There isn't much to report on Taxi Hunter as it's effortlessly a splendid "revenge" film, if you could call it that. While Ah-Kin denounces vengeance I'm not so easily fooled. His entire murderous charade was using his wife's death as a crutch for the means necessary to expel his rage. Taxi Hunter might be one of my more brief reviews but I still find much to applaud and support as this is a great film that sizzles into an extended car chase scene. Just as quickly as the credits roll, I too will make this my exit strategy from my affliction of pandering braindry.


1 comment:

Diana Puzuzi said...

Thank you for telling us about this movie, i MUST see it, definetly..