Hong Kong Cinema Festival 2011 – Punished Review and Trailer

Don’t worry, other than in the example I am about to give, I promise not inject this film’s title in any past tense verb kind of way throughout my review, i.e., “Why am I being punished worse than the film’s victims?”

In order to critique a film fairly, I try to rid myself of any expectations from what I am about to see.  Take Wing-cheong Law‘s Punished, for example. Going only off the information given to me from its IMDB webpage (Internet Movie Database) and my Punished press kit, I would assume that at least one aspect of this film would wind up being praiseworthy.  Yet one more reason as to why I should never assume anything.

I assumed that the film’s producer, Johnnie To, who is known for directing top-notch actioners with stylized scenes that revolve around elaborate set pieces would at least produce an average piece of entertainment. I also assumed that its star, Anthony Wong, would deliver a performance other then him struggling to convey any feelings whatsoever into a character who exists at the heart of the story’s emotional center.  After having just recently Wong’s topnotch performance in Infernal Affairs (AKA the original Departed film) I was pretty disappointed.

There is simply no way of getting around it; even if I hadn’t assumed that both To and Wong’s involvement in this film was going to result in some kind of satisfaction, the movie still would be what it is – a stinker of a revenge film.

Revenge films often exist as a vehicle to showcase action and/or harrowing drama in where the avenger’s conflicted morally with the notion of an eye for an eye.  Contrary to what director, Wing-cheong Law’s Punished wants you to believe, this film is neither of these things.

The film’s premise seems simple enough; a tycoon’s daughter is kidnapped and a ransom set at $50 million.  Not going to the police, the tycoon sends out his bodyguard to track down those involved in the crime.  The bodyguard then updates his boss of his bloody path of revenge by texting pictures to his phone.  All of this, of course, leading to the final showdown in a film that feels twice as long as it actually is and with more plot holes than an acre of dug up cemetery land.

There are quite a few action scenes, but all of them are uninspired and don’t do anything to get you excited for them. As an action film, Punished fails. There are quite a few dramatic scenes as well, but due to almost laughable heights of overacting used as a substitute for not acting at all every dramatic scene in, Punished fails. There were also are quite a few scenes in which the tension was so taut that I was on the edge of my seat biting my fingernails.  No… wait, that was a Hitchcock movie I watched before this.  Overall, this one was pretty bad.

Showtimes for Punished:

Saturday, September 24 – 9:45pm (New People Cinema – 1746 Post Street)


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Categories: Reviews

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