-197C MURDER (冰裸杀) (2013)

Genre: Thriller
Director: Wang Guangli 
Cast: Simon Yam, Vivian Hsu, Yin Er, Yuan Hong. Chen Sicheng, O Ti, Wu Yue, Li Ai, Winnie Leung, Macy Wu
RunTime: 1 hr 33 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Violence)
Released By: Shaw & Scorpio East Pictures
Official Website:  

Opening Day: 
21 November 2013

Synopsis: A young and rich lady was found mysteriously murdered in an abandoned hospital building. Inspector Wayne (Simon Yam) started to investigate and at the same time another lady was found dead and was murdered the same way as the previous. During the investigation, Wayne got to know Jeana (Vivian Hsu), a common friend of the two victims. In a cold storage, an ice piton was fiercely plunged on the picture of Jeana…

Movie Review:

Nice try, whoever came up with the Chinese title for this Wang Guangli directed mystery thriller. Literally translated as “Frozen Naked Murder”, one would think there is something, ahem, exciting to look out for in this 93 minute movie. After all, it stars Simon Yam and Vivian Hsu, who have appeared in notable titles during Hong Kong’s heydays of Cat III cinema.

Sorry to disappoint, fans of this particular genre. First, we are in Singapore, and to have such a flick passed at NC16 (for violence, mind you), it doesn’t take a genius to lower your expectations. Second, Wang is a Mainland Chinese director – you wouldn’t expect him to make a movie that will have his local censorship board jumping on him, would you? One name we noticed is Wong Jing who takes on the role of the movie’s producer, and we’d think his “tactic” of angling the production this way is to attract the curious male moviegoers (predominantly from China, of course) into the cinemas.

The story isn’t too duh: Two socialites are found dead with their insides frozen and their bodies are dressed in cosplay outfits (where’s the naked part as promised in the title man?). Enter Hsu’s character, an unhappy socialite who becomes the serial killer’s next target. Enter also Yam’s unhappy police inspector who is tasked to track down the murderer. The two meet, have some bits of chemistry between them, and manages to keep audiences relatively engaged with some twists and turns of events.

Director Wang could have delivered in many areas. Hsu, as pretty as she looks, just doesn’t cut it as an actress. The 38 year old, who looks younger than she really is, does nothing much except whispering her lines in an increasingly irritating “sexy” manner. What she does well, you have to admit, is how the filmmakers made her don a schoolgirl outfit and a black lingerie in two scenes. It’s exploitation, but hey, it works.

Next, the plot development does get a little messy at times. With the suspense and mystery building up, the movie eventually becomes a half heartedly shot action flick with chase sequences which is more laughable than anything. Kudos to Yam though, for looking really devoted to his job as an actor, focused intensely on catching the baddie.

The supporting actors do not leave much impression. The Mainland Chinese production features unfamiliar names like Yin Er, Yuan Hong, Chen Sicheng who aren’t too bad in delivering their performances, but get outshined by the more popular Yam and Hsu. 

The movie does try hard to give the plot a final twist when you think everything’s resolved, and we’re giving points for that because there’s really no such thing as a happy ending in real life. The unhappy will remain unhappy, the lonely may just get lonelier, and already tainted as the world is, there is no way to cleanse it entirely. Just try to keep things at bay, that’s the least we can do.  

Movie Rating:

(This isn’t an erotic thriller as the title suggests, and shame on you if you thought Vivian Hsu was going to show some skin)

Review by John Li

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