MAD FATE (命案) (2023)
SYNOPSIS: Can one beat fate at its own game? When a madcap fortune teller named The Master (Gordon Lam) crosses path with “born psychopath” Siu-tong (Lokman Yeung), he foresees the young man is destined to murder. Using every feng shui trick in the book to change fate itself, the unlikely duo begins a peculiar song and dance, engulfing themselves in a world of omens, signs, portents and visions teetering on the edge of complete psychic annihilation at every turn. Meanwhile, a veteran detective is on their trail, convinced to pin a murder, while The Killer is still on the loose — leaving a gruesome trail of bodies for all to get tangled into… a cosmic game of chess pulled by the messy strings of a mad, mad, mad fate.
Some people believe our fate is sealed since the day we were born while some believe there is a way to alter our fate perhaps through “feng shui” or through some bizarre religious rituals.
Mad Fate, the latest thriller from Milkyway’s regular writer You Nai-hoi (Running on Karma, My Left Eye Sees Ghost) and director Soi Cheang (Accident, Limbo) deals on the topic of fate through the eyes of fortune teller (Gordon Lam) and Siu-tung (Lokman Yeung from HK Cantopop group, Mirror).
From the gripping opening, we see the Master or fortune-teller conducting a ritual in a graveyard for his client who is a prostitute by the way. We learned that he is trying to cheat the fate of his client whom he declared will “die” very soon if she did not complete the ritual. As fate would have it, the client left before the ritual is done and she ended up being murdered by a serial killer (Peter Chan) the very night.
Soi and You quickly build things up by introducing a food delivery man, Siu-tung into the mix. Siu-tung is no ordinary guy, he is a man with a tendency for violence, a man that has no remorse or conscience. And with our main characters being introduced, the Master, the serial killer and the destined killer yet we are still wondering if this is a supernatural thriller, a psychological thriller or simply, a mystery crime thriller.
The serial killer story is set aside after the prologue with the narrative focusing on the Master trying his best to alter the fate of Siu-tung. Part mad-cap energy, part comedy, Lam is a hoot as the enthusiastic master on the journey to cure Siu-tung of his desire to commit a murder. Yeung on the other hand is unmistakingly creepy as the cat killer and the one responsible for the disfiguring of his sister. Their outbursts and exchanges are compelling but at times, it’s hard to distinguish who is actually the mad one. The master or Siu-tung?
Needless to say, Mad Fate is very philosophical even metaphorical to an extent. Say what you want, there’s frequent shots of an ant drowning in a puddle of water. The absurdity of fate where the Master believes he will go mad one day given both his parents suffered from mental illness. In other words, there are fates that can be changed and of course, there are those that are already sealed by fate.
Milkyway regulars David Richardson and Cheung Siu-keung returns to the editing room and cinematography department respectively to lend their talents to this Made-In-HK production. All in all, Mad Fate is a mesmerising watch with exceptional strong performances from Lam and Yeung, unfortunately its not everyone’s cup of tea given it’s complex ideology.
Review by Linus Tee