say confession is good for the soul, but probably not in Lee Leung’s case. He
has turned himself into the authorities after failing in his divinely inspired
mission. His body count is carefully documented, but there might be more to his
story than meets the eye in Daniel Chan’s Cross
which releases today on regular DVD and digital platforms from Well Go USA.
fact that co-directors Steve Woo, Lau Kin Ping, and Hui Shu Ning are all
credited with helping to complete Cross over
a two year period does not inspire a boatload of confidence. On the plus side,
it stars Simon Yam as Lee Leung. In fact, it is not the dreary anti-Catholic
diatribe we might expect, even though Yam’s serial killer is most definitely
devout. Reeling from his terminally ill wife’s suicide, Lee Leung starts to
kill off members who post on an online suicide forum, at their own invitation,
thereby saving them from mortal sin. They are supposed to pass peacefully, so
when he botches his latest assignment, he remorsefully turns surrenders to the
Cheung, the police psychoanalyst, starts to investigate the case, at which
point the film turns strangely sympathetic towards Lee Leung. It is clear his
wife’s death deeply damaged his psyche. However, he may have been manipulated
by an outside agency.
just as the film builds up the mystery surrounding his murders, Chan (or whoever)
blithely pulls out a Jenga block, making the entire tower collapse. There are
also massive timeline issues with the ultimate truth, but at least there are
some nice stylistic touches in how it is revealed.
Cross definitely feels
edited-together, but as usual, Yam is rock solid as Lee Leung. It largely
confirms our unspoken theorem that every Simon Yam film is worth seeing. Kenny
Wong Tak-bun is also terrific as Prof. Cheung, an obsessively empathetic
character worthy of his own franchise treatment (which stands no chance of
happening). It is also amusing to see Nick Cheung appear in a small role just
as his career was igniting.
You can readily see how if circumstances had
been different, Cross might have worked
quite well. It is still considerably exceeds the expectations established by
its reputation. While it should not be anyone’s introduction to Hong Kong
cinema, Yam fans will find its consistent moodiness strangely watchable. Consider
this a bemused defense more than a recommendation now that it is available from
Well Go USA.
Labels: DVD, Hong Kong Cinema, Kenny Wong Tak-bun, Serial killer movies, Simon Yam