Magazine article Screen International

'Mrs K': Busan Review

Magazine article Screen International

'Mrs K': Busan Review

Article excerpt

Dir: Ho Yuhang. Malaysia/Hong Kong/China, 2016. 96 mins

The star of numerous 1970s and 80s Shaw Brothers martial arts actioners, Hong Kong actress Kara Wai continues a career revival which started with a previous collaboration with director Ho Yuhang, the 2009 revenge drama At The End Of Daybreak.Mrs K sees Wai cast as the eponymous housewife, mother and bun-baking domestic goddess. She has settled into low key family life, only to find herself pulled back into her past when unsavoury characters from Macau's underworld finally track her down.

The cult appeal of Wai's name, plus some high profile, if eccentric, pan-Asian casting (playing Mrs K's husband, ponytailed Taiwanese popstar Wu Bai is the world's least convincing gynaecologist), should generate some interest in this film. Its prospects outside of die-hard martial arts fans and Wai completists however will be limited by the fact that the plotting is a little incoherent and the action sequences lack the propulsive thrust and tension one might hope for. Still, there is some lurid fun to be had here, and the film should play well in festival midnight movie slots.

A blood-soaked opening sequence promises pulpy thrills and excess which is only partially realised by the rest of the film. A grisly montage depicts a trio of chubby men in loud shirts with big cleavers meeting their makers in a variety of ways (Hong Kong directors Fruit Chan and Kirk Wong Chi-keung cameo as two of them).

And then, in one of the film's most successful scenes, Mrs K, clad in an immaculate tangerine-coloured silk blouse and with a becoming smudge of flour on her nose from her cooking exploits, deftly thwarts a home invasion by a pair of inept wannabe criminals. …

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