The Untold Story (Collectors Edition) – Blu Ray Review


untold story blu ray

In Hong Kong horror movies have been popular for many years, but censorship rules meant they were restricted in what could be shown. Until 1988 (still under British rule) they introduced the Cat III rating which meant much stronger images could be shown, but no one under the age of 18 was allowed to view them.

Many Category III films were made, but one that got a lot of publicity and notoriety was The Untold Story starring Anthony Wong and directed by Herman Yau.

Also known as Bunman, The Untold Story tells of a murder in 1978, then eight years later on a Macao beach, kids discover the severed hands of a fresh victim. A bunch of naive, happy-go-lucky cops investigate and suspicion falls on Wong Chi Hang (Anthony Wong), the new owner of The Eight Immortals Restaurant famous for its delicious pork buns.

The hands that were found on the beach belong to the missing mother of the restaurant’s former owner who has disappeared along with the rest of his family. Staff at the restaurant continue to go missing but the police can’t seem to find any hard evidence that Wong is responsible.

When he can’t produce a bill of sale proving his purchase of the restaurant, Wong is arrested and the police try to torture him into a confession. Can they make him talk? And what was in those famous pork buns?

The film is typical in some ways of Hong Kong cinema of the period, with massive shifts in tone and humour appearing at very odd places in the film. The cops are all morons, the inspector (Danny Lee) in charge appears to have a beautiful hooker attached to his arm every time he makes an appearance and they seem to take the crimes very lightly at first.

But when Anthony Wong goes into manic mode he dominates the screen with a superb and insane performance, he is a vile individual who will stop at nothing to keep the restaurant and the money it is making. As the film progresses he gets more and more psychopathic and the scenes with the chopsticks and the murder of the children are very hard to watch and extremely graphic.

Anthony Wong won the award for best actor for this role at the 13th Hong Kong Film Awards and you can see why. To think this was based on a true story makes it all the more shocking, but it is his performance that keeps you watching till the end.

It is surprising the film got passed by the UK ratings board uncut and on the new Blu-ray by 88 Films you get a good crisp and solid 1080p transfer. The audio has original Cantonese with re-translated English subtitles.

Extras on this deluxe release include Audio Commentary by Frank Djeng, and archive commentaries by Anthony Wong and Herman Yau. A short film of when Anthony Wong visited the UK for a film showing, trailers, as well as a nice thick booklet and a double-sided fold-out poster.

A hard and brutal horror thriller, spoilt at times by the extreme shifts in tone, but any serious horror fan should definitely seek it out.

FILM – 7.5 PICTURE – 8 AUDIO – 7.5 EXTRAS – 7.5

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