The Wicked City [妖獸都市] (1992)
AKA Mutant City
Starring Jacky Cheung, Leon Lai, Michelle Reis, Roy Cheung, Tatsuya Nakadai, Yuen Woo Ping, Carman Lee, Reiko Hayama
Directed by Peter Mak Tai-Kit
Expectations: Moderate. I remember not liking this, but I’m a different person now.
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
After Stephen told me he was doing the Wicked City anime for October, I figured it’d be the perfect time to revisit the live-action Hong Kong version. I haven’t seen it since the late ’90s when it got a VHS release stateside amidst the craze for Hong Kong action and anime. This film brings the two sub-cultures together, so it’s easy to see why it got a US release. Perhaps our one-two punch isn’t the best way to handle the films, though, as I haven’t seen the anime since about the last time I watched this, and Stephen’s never seen this one at all. So while we offer reviews of both, neither of them contain any sort of contrast or comparison; I guess my idea was more misguided than I realized. I can say that from the vague, back corners of my mind I remember the two films opening very similarly, but diverging wildly from each other from there.
The Wicked City opens as night falls on the land of the rising sun, and HK superstar Jacky Cheung is taking a woman upstairs to his room. Things are not as they seem, though, as the woman quickly turns into a spider-ish creature with long clawed legs and attacks, but Cheung’s ready for battle! Then his partner (Leon Lai) bursts in through a window to offer his assistance and they quickly vanquish the foul beast. This scene doesn’t mean anything to the plot, but it does set up the world and our two main guys. From here they travel back to Hong Kong, and the real story begins.