Film #192: PUNISHED aka RETRIBUTION aka BOU YING
Punished (aka Retribution aka Bou Ying)
3.5 out of 5 stars
Anthony Wong (HARD BOILED, EXILED, HOUSE OF FURY) proves once and for all what a bad motherfucker he is in this slowly-paced, but riveting crime thriller produced by the great Johnny To (ELECTION, TRIAD ELECTION) and directed by Wing-cheong Law (RUNNING OUT OF TIME 2). The film, told mostly in flashback and an overly-convoluted story structure, is about a rich businessman with some shady dealings whose (admittedly irritating & spoiled) daughter is kidnapped and murdered and the slightly over-the-top way he deals with it. While the film centers on the kidnapping and revenge, it is, at its core, more about the use of revenge as a symbol for the father’s numerous failings as a parent. His reaction to his family in the beginning is one born out of apathy, but after his daughter goes missing, he tries to wedge a lifetime of parenting into a few short talks with his son, for example. The father’s failing is that his manner of treating family like business makes for poor parenting. Other than Wong, the standout performance is by Richie Jen as Wong’s lieutenant. His multi-layered role is very well executed. All in all, PUNISHED is more thriller than crime… and the violence in the film, while surprising and brutal, is still restrained and, dare I say, controlled. Still, the film is engaging, well done, and an interesting 90+ minutes. Recommended!!