Intruder 恐怖雞 (1997) Review

In the (curiously) one and only directorial feature from Tsang Kan-Cheung, he takes the familiar story of identity theft and gives it an uncompromisingly nihilistic twist in Intruder <恐怖雞>.

Tsang Kan-Cheung, who also responsible for writing the screenplay, detailed on a wanted fugitive from mainland China (Wu Chien-Lien’s Yieh Siu-Yan) assuming the identity of a dead sex worker in Shenzhen in order to bypass the Hong Kong customs. Posing as a prostitute, she gets to know a divorced taxi driver Chen Chi-Min (Lai Yiu-Cheung) and ends up kidnapping him for an unknown reason while waiting for the arrival of her husband Kwan Fai (Moses Chan Ho).

Definitely not for the squeamish, writer-director Tsang Kan-Cheung doesn’t shy away from the movie’s notorious Category III rating and made Intruder <恐怖雞> as bleak and morally reprehensible as possible. Other than a brief scene showcasing Wu Chien-Lien’s sympathetic side at Chen Chi-Min’s little daughter Yin Yin (Yuki Lai Yuen-Tung), the movie embraces more on the pessimistic side of the overall tones and characters.

Whereas some of the Hong Kong’s Category III films at the time tends to tone down its nihilistic nature of their subject matters with the abundance of comic relief, Tsang Kan-Cheung clearly isn’t interested to sugarcoat his story whatsoever. Which is why Intruder <恐怖雞> tends to feel a tad too cold and clinical for its own good.

Still, the movie benefits from a solid cast all around, with Wu Chien-Lien has again cast against type in her icy and remorseless portrayal of a woman who doesn’t bat an eye when comes to killing a person. This is the second time in the row she took on such a controversial role since 1996’s Beyond Hypothermia <攝氏32度>, which also happened to be another Milkyway production. In a rare cinematic turn, TVB veteran (Wayne) Lai Yiu-Cheung delivers strong support as the hapless Chen Chi-Min, even though he spends most of the time being strapped on a wheelchair with masking tapes. Moses Chan Ho, who appears later in the movie, brings a perfectly steely demeanour to his character as Kwan Fai.

Released just a few months after the historic 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China on July, Tsang Kan-Cheung’s relatable themes of paranoia along with xenophobia and identity theft certainly hits too close to home in Intruder <恐怖雞>. Just like the movie itself, Tsang Kan-Cheung’s screenplay offers a few unexpected surprises that mirrored the uncertain future at the time of Hong Kong’s handover. 

THREE-AND-A-HALF-stars

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