Red to Kill

Red to Kill ★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Red to Kill is by no means a brilliantly made film - though the amusingly badly-translated subtitles on Universe's DVD make it look worse than it actually is ("Sex Lupine!") - but I love it for its utter commitment to being as nasty as possible.

Take the opening scene for example, in which scenes of a mother killing herself and her young son are cross-cut with a man raping a beautiful young woman. Talk about light and shade! That said, it's not entirely without humour; at one point the rapist villain "hilariously" puts a load of ice down his pants in an attempt to douse his violent urges. And yet it's a film that's capable of going straight from something as dumb and offensive as that, to some genuinely tragic and heartbreaking moments, thanks to a brilliant central performance by Lily Chung as Ming Ming, a bereaved woman with a mental age of 10.

Which brings me onto this. The film's portrayal of people with learning difficulties (cue lots of actors doing Joey Deacon impressions) as adorable, flirtatious and vulnerable to extreme violence is pretty much the very definition of exploitation, as is the way that it subjects Ming Ming, the loveliest of these characters, to an extended and vicious rape before cutting straight to her nude scene, the camera salaciously focusing on her vagina and breasts as she punishes her own body with a straight razor.

This is pretty much the most insensitive, irresponsible film in the world, even if it does contain a damning indictment of how the justice system treats rape victims. It's well worth a watch, but you'll probably want to take a shower afterwards. Just don't take a razor in with you.

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