fredag 7 april 2017


Killer Constable is just not another solid Shaw Brothers actioner with a relieable and bankeable star. It has other virtues that transcends it into action- heaven.

I have been moaning on and on about action cinema needs to grow up, develop more sophisticated story lines with more developed characters, both male and female. I want to dig up examples to show to the world that action films does not need to be stupid. Killer Constable delivers a story with deep consequences, terrific vsiuals and terrible tragedy. An operatic excersise of mayhem, with plenty of dead people, sacrificing themselves for what they believe is for the greater good. A story about an evil man coming to terms with his wicked ways and finally using those evil ways to perform one of those redemptions to put an end to corruption. Sure, it´s the type of mythic story that ha sbeen told again and again around campfires, but the execution here is spot on.

The prolific Shaw Brothers actor Chen Kuan Tei plays Leng Tian Yiang (Constable John Killer) of Arbitrary Investigations of Ancient China (AIAC)  A pretty unfuckwithable guy, basically the Judge Dredd of Imperial China who never takes any prisoners on one of his cases. he just flats out murder whoever is considered guilty. I guess it is cost effective in the days of Ancient China, as  you get rid of all those show trials that always end up with a guilty verdict anyway. So good job of being efficent. Also good job being a ruthless asshole.  

Someone has stolen the Imperial Treasue of two million chinese dollars which puts the Empress Dowager in a bad mood as she wont even eat. Constable Killer, known for his ruthless and efficient ways is being put on the case in order to right an Imperial Wrong and put the Impress back on her eating schedule.

Constable Killer puts together a team for the mission, but one of his oldest friends is reluctant about following Constable Killer. he has grown tired of his ruthless ways and has started questioning his modus operandi. But there are plenty of  other dopes to choose from to join this police squad of killers. so he wont have a problem putting together a bunch of loyal unquestionable fools who will die for him during the course of the film. And you feel bad for them that they have to die because of someone is greedy

Constable Killer traces the millions that were being stolen to an older guy with a blind daughter, which makes us faces a similar scene as later depicted in John Woos´s The Killer. as the two rivals have to present a facade in front of her to spare her from the  inevitable clash in which one of them must fall for the other ones bladeThe daughter unknowing of the rivalry of both warriors. This is also the part of the film in which the Constable learns of who teh real culprit is, a greedy offical of the Imperial Court.

This is a great film for many reasons. It is the kind of violent cop action film placed in a martial arts setting with plenty of police brutality, but instead of justifying the violence, the film takes the postioning of presenting the harsh consequences of behaving in that unhinged way. Plenty of people dies throughout the film that doesn´t deserve it. The violence is not used as the usual by-the-numbers exploitation but plays an important part in the story, and although a lot of cannon fodder villains are being dispatched on a almost industrial line of massmurder, the characters that matters are treated with a certain amount of respect and poignancy. you wouldn´t expect.

The editing:in the action sequences is jarring and effective. It relies more on the visceral  effect on the viewer than a part of a continous flow of the action not that common within HK action. And a fairly progressive view on film making. It is more cinematic than theatrical. I love kung fu movies, and the techniques on display, but this movie delivers more in cinematic terms than in satisfying a hardcore audience who want prolonged sequences of exchanging of blows. It might be a film even those who aren´t fan of kung fu cinema might be interested in seeing.

The influences of the spaghetti western can be felt, as one of the characters in the film carries that same type of mystical feel of Clint Eastwood, carrying swords as they were guns fastened at his hips, givng two shits about any other person,  less he gets paid

Like a Chinese Saloon

A Stranger

...perhaps going for his guns?


Guns from the hips

This guy is awesome.  he does intervene in the Constable business or  the plot, but he is just such a formidable badass that he manages to hamper the team and kills one of them as well.. I personally love a sidearmed  villain ready to pulverize a perfectly fine force of badasses. And when he comes across like a mythic gunfighter that escaped a spaghetti western it is even better!

What is great about this film is that it deals with the corruption of power, both the antagonist and teh protagonist of the film are guilty of it. What is worse is that the team that Constable John Killer has rounded up for the mission are more than happy to sacrifice their lives in the process.  Except his long time brother ( figure of speeach) who at the beginning of the film will have nothing more to do with Constable Killers reckless ruthlessness. The unquestionable loyalty of people is tragic, they are led to believe they are doing good, but instead are being used by people in power to further their greedy agenda. Like Donald Trump uses people as door mats. So , this film is  even more relevant than ever. Because we cannot really trust people in power, as power corrupts and we must stay vigilant when it does.

This has become one of my favourites and if I had any medals to give out it would be for excellence in craftmanship. and  a Purple Heart  to all those who died for Constable Killer. I will salute you with a drink of whiskey.

For those about to die, we salute you!

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