Staying busy at the time with prison dramas, war dramas, gloomy AND wacky swordplay movies, Chu Yen-Ping continues to showcase in Hunting List that he has good taste in picking iconic moments from Western movies. With 1992's Requital, the impact of having watched Phil Joanou's State Of Grace (starring Sean Penn and Gary Oldman) was carried over to the special effects team responsible for loading up squibs to the point where what we got was heroic goreshed and he also provided his OWN copy of the famous end shootout from said film. But the desire to give it his shot when it came to the STORY of State of Grace came with Hunting List however that comes loaded with as much if not more goreshed, familiar beats with a twist of Tony Scott's True Romance thrown into the mix. I've seen Chu's movie fandom been echoed better and in an even more poignant way but Hunting List delivers the goods that become the same iconic imagery Chu himself surely took away from above movies.
Having committed a murder as a teenager, Kit is sent to Taiwan to hide. Returning to Hong Kong as an adult (played by Ray Lui), he re-connects to his sworn brother Cramp (Tan Lap-Man) and is quick to stand by his brother's side as they wade their way through the often violent underworld working for Lui (Paul Chun). However Kit's loyalties extends to the police force as well as he is in fact an undercover cop...
Chu Yen-Ping ain't no Phil Joanou, doesn't have Penn or Oldman but as hastily put together and standard as Hunting List does feel at times, the underworld doesn't necessarily have to feel vibrant but violent times 20. The gangster movie template across the world and in multiple classics is often a predictable rise and fall, downwards spiral type of story anyway and no different with Hunting List. In that way, it is actually a competent piece hitting all the right notes for those after a quick fix that doesn't just provide one death with blood spilling out of every orifice but a dozens of them.
That it caters to those primal desires makes it easy to forget that it's not as strong of a character piece as it wants to be. Ray Lui's torment, reconnection with Tan Lap-Man's Cramp, with Lo Suk-Fong's May and the addition of Vivian Hau as the daughter of Cramp in a relationship with Jackson Lau's Hong, it's barely sufficient but not added to pad the movie unnecessarily either. If anything Vivian Hsu's addition by Foo Laap (who directed her in Angel Heart and Devil Angel) to add some steam to the picture (without nudity however) is the sign of desperation but as with the entire movie, we're in and out and even get primal satisfaction in a way because Hsu does sex scenes in the movie.
With the dash of True Romance mainly coming in the final shootout, there is continual pleasure in the uneven Hunting List watching and putting yourself into the head of a movie fan wanting to extend movie love to an audience locally that might never have gotten a chance to see State of Grace or Scott's movie. That it's also the still durable gunplay genre rated Category III, Hunting List is well timed even if slightly ill conceived. But the kicks are there and you kind of long for double double bill across two nights maybe of this, Requital, True Romance and State Of Grace. While not open about this agenda, Chu Yen-Ping makes you watch movies, both his and others.
reviewed by Kenneth Brorsson