Lon is an assassin who is deformed. The only man he can trust is his brother, Kwan. When Lon kills a police officer, the officer's partner tries to go after him, but lets him go after seeing his face. Meanwhile, Lon falls for Wendy, the girlfriend of Lon's sadistic boss, Dragon. When Lon agrees to kill Dragon for Wendy, it's a setup. After the kill, Lon is hit by a car and plunges into the river. A year passes by. A new man named Michael arrives, working for Wendy. Meanwhile, the partner of the cop Lon killed is still on the case. He notices a resemblance of the new man to Lon. Is Michael the same person as Lon? If so, what is the motive? DEVIL FACE, ANGEL HEART (Bin Lim Mai Ching)
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Sound format: Mono
Betrayed and left for dead by a gangster's duplicitous moll (Gigi Lai), a hired assassin (Daniel Wu) undergoes plastic surgery to remove the facial deformity which has marginalized him throughout his life, then returns to Hong Kong to take revenge against Lai and her associates.
Amateurish exploitation thriller, plotted to labyrinthine excess by an uncredited scriptwriter, and directed with a breathtaking lack of conviction by sleaze specialist Billy Chung (notorious for a string of gruesome shockers, most notably the Anthony Wong vehicle LOVE TO KILL, made in 1993). Sex and violence appear to be the principal focus of Chung's attentions in DEVIL FACE, ANGEL HEART, but while the sex angle is exploited for all it's worth - Lai lounges around in revealing designer outfits whilst never quite managing to get completely naked - the film's violence appears to have been curtailed in post-production for a less restrictive censor rating. Wu struggles gamely under Chung's ham-fisted direction, playing the role of vengeful loner with his usual quiet dignity (cameraman Ally Wong spends as much time leering over Wu's beauty as Lai, which evens things up a little), while co-star Stephen Fung lurks around the periphery as an obsessed cop determined to uncover Wu's true identity and establish his connection (if any) to the murder of Fung's partner (Sam Lee, in a cameo appearance). Experienced character actor Lam Suet (ONE NITE IN MONGKOK) is Wu's loyal brother, David Lee plays Lai's lowlife gangster rival, and Convoy Chan is the boyfriend whom Lai throws to the wolves with sadistic glee.
There's a juicy melodrama struggling to emerge from this artless enterprise, but the film plays like a cheap imitation of a HK crime thriller, lacking the sincerity and craftsmanship which has distinguished the former colony's cinematic output for decades. Clearly intended for a quick theatrical play-off before heading straight to video, DEVIL FACE, ANGEL HEART wastes a terrific premise and top-notch cast. Still watchable, if only for the pairing of Wu and Fung, but they deserve miles better than this throwaway effort. Dreadful, interminable music score by Tommy Wai.
(Cantonese and Mandarin dialogue)
I didn't know that this kind of movie was still made in HK. Leave it to an old Category III veteran like Billy Chung to make a movie like this in 2003. Although rated IIB, Devil Face, Angel Heart is Cat 3 sleaze all the way, complete with seedy sex and obviously censored violence (more than once I could hear the music score skip because of cuts).
Luckily, I kind of like this kind of trashy thriller and this one manages to be a little above average. Daniel Wu's rather blase acting style fits his tortured character. Really, It works. I liked him in this movie. The movie is well directed, too, giving it a polished look and feel that a lot of HK moves don't have (for the past several years it seems they've been doing better, though).
Now this isn't a great movie. The plot is a little thin. When the movie was done I didn't feel I had seen an entire story play out. What story there is isn't awful for this kind of movie. There's some twists and turns, but nothing surprising. If you're the kind of person who puts up with this garbage, then it's a decent diversion. It's probably pretty forgettable, but I enjoyed it while it lasted. This is fairly well-done genre filmmaking.