Director: Ho Yuhang
Cast: Kara Wai, Simon Yam, Wu Bai, Faizal Hussein, Tony Lau Wing, Siow Li Xuan, Kirk Wong
Runtime: 1 hr 31 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 21 September 2017
Synopsis: Mrs K is a housewife who lives in a quiet suburban neighborhood with her husband Mr K and their daughter Lil’ K. One day, a stranger shows up to blackmail Mrs K. He’s an ex-cop who knows about her unseemly past. But he doesn’t seem to pose much threat and she punishes him, hoping that he would back off. That is only a prelude to the immanent terror. Soon, Lil’ K is kidnapped. Mrs K is forced out of her sheltered life to face an old enemy.
(Reviewed at the 27th Singapore International Film Festival)
Malaysian director Ho Yuhang is evidently inspired by American auteur Quentin Tarantino. The protagonist of his latest film is a housewife who is willing to do anything (how convenient that she can deliver some mean kicks and punches!) to protect her husband and daughter when enemies from her past come hunting her down. The spaghetti western influences are strong in Malaysian band Fugu’s film score, and the end credits are stylistically familiar.
Oh, the protagonist doesn’t have a name in the movie as well (no one actually calls out the titular “Mrs K”). Beatrix Kiddo, anyone?
The similarities stop there. Ho manages to infuse a strong flavour into his work, thanks to a well cast ensemble of actors. After reviving veteran Hong Kong actress Kara Wai’s career in his 2009 revenge drama At The End of Daybreak”, Ho reunites with the action star of the Shaw Brothers era and the result is gleefully fun to watch. Elsewhere, Taiwanese celebrity Wu Bai plays her husband (who would have thought the rock star can pull off the role of an obstetrician so well?), Hong Kong actor Simon Yam effortlessly plays a demented villain, and screen legend Tony Liu takes on the role of a suspiciously sneaky private eye. Newcomer Siow Li Xuan does a fine job as well, playing Wai and Wu’s daughter who gets kidnapped by the baddies.
Hong Kong filmmakers Fruit Chan and Kirk Wong are joined by Malaysian director Dain Iskandar Said as the trio turn in hilarious cameo performances as murdered criminals who re appear as apparitions.
While there are occasional straying plot developments, the 97 minute movie is saved by its entertainment value. The action scenes are exhilaratingly choreographed, the offbeat humour are genuinely chuckle worthy, and the production values are high (thanks to director of photography Teoh Gay Hian and production designer Wong Tai Sy).
What we are particularly impressed are the heartfelt scenes where the family spending moments together. Two standout scenes to watch out for - one involves Wai, Wu and Siow having dinner, challenging each other to spit out fish bones, while the other has the three watching TV, having a seemingly inconsequential conversation. Ho has successfully captured the essence of what every human being yearns – to share that unspoken bond with loved ones.
Review by John Li