Fatal Visit 聖荷西謀殺案 (2019) - Hong Kong
Reviewed by Andrew Chan (Film Critics Circle of Australia)
In line with many Hollywood murder mystery thrillers, the latest Sammi Cheng and Charlene Choi starring vehicle, Fatal Visit” takes precisely that route. Based on the popular Hong Kong play “Murder in San Jose” by Candace Chong (one of the best playwrights in Hong Kong), the film script is adapted by Philip Yung (“Port of Call”) and directed by veteran lyricist Calvin Poon. The film never goes beyond the genre cliches and in turn creating a thrilling yet predictable and over the top average Hollywood styled B-thriller with great performance from Sammi Cheng and Charlene Choi.
Sammi Cheng continues to plays quality character roles and for the first time plays a murderer with dysfunctional emotions. Cheng displays plenty of turmoil in her inner soul as she wrestle through a train wreck of emotions, jealousy, love and friendship. Charlene Choi is outstanding as the childhood friend who comes for an almost fatal visit. Choi’s childish charm hides her own struggles and combines well with Cheng in crucial scenes. Tong Dawei who plays the husband and love interest to Sammi Cheng, is mostly adequate and grounded in the role. However the real scene stealer comes in the cameo by Dominic Lam who is essentially the root of all problems. In fact the dinner scene between Cheng and Lam remains a highlight.
All in all, “Fatal Visit” provides the void for a lack of these kind of generic Hollywood themed murder mystery films. It is not entirely successful in its execution, but the core of the play remains there. With outstanding performances, Cheng and Choi almost single handedly lifts the film from its bland ambitions. Still, the film provides good entertainment value for its duration and like its Hollywood counterpart, it may already be enough for now.
I rated it 7.5/10