In Mandarin with English and Chinese subtitles
Director: Kelvin Tong
Cast: Ekin Cheng, Shawn Yue, Fiona Xie, Stephanie
Che, Liu Wan, Bill Liu
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Released By: GV/Mediacorp Raintree/Scorpio
Opening Day: 13 March 2008
"RULE #1" SINGAPORE PRESS CONFERENCE
#1 is a horror-thriller about cops. There are no helpless
female victims here. Instead, the prey are policemen who,
despite possessing guns, find themselves at their wits’
end when confronted by bloodthirsty ghouls and spirits. RULE
#1 takes place in an unnamed Asian city and tells the story
about two cops - a rookie and veteran. As the body count rises
and our two protagonists find themselves ankle-deep in blood,
themes of bonding, faith, heroism and betrayal are explored.
As good battles evil, the line is drawn somewhere between
the truth and lies. This is no man’s land. This is gray.
Being in the media industry, there’s always someone
out there you want to look up to. For this reviewer, it was
Singapore director Kelvin Tong. Having met in him person on
a few occasions, he found the bespectacled filmmaker to be
intelligent, articulate and opinionated. Besides, he loves
the director’s Eating Air (1999), The Maid (2005) and
even Love Story (2006), which some people overly self-indulgent.
Tong made Men in White (2007). Despite being mildly amusing,
the badly panned supernatural comedy made this reviewer doubt
his liking for the local director. Then Tong made this supernatural
horror thriller. And this reviewer is relieved again, because
Tong has shown that he is back in form.
entirely in Hong Kong, the Tong-written movie tells the story
of two policemen who can, in no way surprising here, see ghosts
in their course of work. One particular case changes the two
men’s lives completely as they hunt down a vengeful
spirit out to bring about bloodshed.
any other winning Asian horror films, this one scores in terms
of scares and chills. There are some truly scary and disturbing
images that will leave you uneasily queasy. The perfectly
executed sound effects and creepy music score (Joe Ng, Alex
Oh) will make you grab the edge of your seats. Having made
another successful horror movie before this, Tong knows how
to grip your senses and hold it tight, giving you little time
to gasp for air. The thrilling ride is complemented by competent
cinematography. Filmed beautifully at several run-down but
strikingly arresting locations in Hong Kong, this is definitely
one of the better local movies which allow its stunning visuals
do the storytelling.
two male protagonists are played by Shawn Yue and Ekin Cheng,
who play their roles of a rookie and a veteran very comfortably.
Yue’s vigor comes through nicely and Cheng’s world-weariness
adds a nice human touch to the horror movie. Watch out for
the scene where the two men banter about whether they will
shoot the next person who walks through the door towards the
end of the movie – an example of great scriptwriting
coupled with wonderful acting to showcase the casualness amidst
the uncomfortable tension. Fiona Xie plays Yue’s girlfriend
with her signature doe-eyed look while Stephanie Che throws
in some emotions as Cheng’s neglected wife.
the heart of this picture is a well-developed story which
boasts of a decent twist at the end. The message to take home
may not be as in-your-face as other moralistic shows out there,
but you can be assured that this is a thinking man’s
movie, as well as one which tugs at your heartstrings. The
human condition is finely explored with Tong’s sure-handed
directing, and that is definitely a winning factor of this
picture. To say that this 95-minute is a straightforward horror
thriller would be wrong – it is a human drama at heart
this reviewer walked out of the theatre, he knew that the
movie has worked on all levels when he couldn’t stop
thinking about how (in a way, affectionately depressing) the
movie concluded. He also knew that Tong is someone he can
look up to in the media industry again.
well-executed genre film which boasts of fine writing and
Review by John Li