The Untold Story (1993) reviews, overview and Blu-ray news

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The Untold Story, the Category III Hong Kong horror classic, is being released in the USA on Blu-ray by Unearthed Films on October 13th 2020. The disc includes the following special features:

The Documentary, Category 3, The Untold Story of Hong Kong Exploitation
Cantonese Carnage, an Interview with Rick Baker
Commentary with Herman Yau
Commentary with Anthony Wong
Commentary with Art Ettinger and Bruce Holecheck
Booklet by Art Ettinger of Ultra Violent Magazine

Meanwhile, here is our coverage of the notorious film itself:

The Untold Story 1993

The Untold Story is a 1993 Hong Kong crime-thriller film directed by Herman Yau and starring Anthony Wong and Danny Lee (The KillerDoctor Lamb). The film is allegedly based on a true crime that took place in 1985 in Macau. Original title: 八仙飯店之人肉叉燒包)

The film was followed up by two unrelated sequels with The Untold Story 2, featuring Wong returning in a supporting role, and The Untold Story 3 with Lee in another supporting role. The Untold Story won its only nomination, with Anthony Wong winning his first award for Best Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Review:

On August 4, 1985, there was an unspeakable massacre at the Eight Immortals Restaurant in Macau that revolved around… what else? Money. What is untrue, is the film’s version of incidents, sensationalising incredible brutality and cannibalism. So let’s unfold this unbelievable Asian tale of “Catch Me If You Can”, splattered in blood and severed body parts.

Wong Chi Hang is quite the restauranteur. With a limited staff including hostess Pearl and a new waiter (who observes a cheating Wong during a game of Mahjong), this murdering owner will cease at nothing to protect his business and more importantly… his illegally acquired wealth. All the while, he boastfully puts out the best handmade BBQ pork buns in town.

When a group of bumbling police officers are called onto a beach to scope out a discovered bag of rotting limbs, their comical performances step into high gear as they enter Wong’s world of wicked maliciousness.

Anthony Wong (who portrays the repugnant Wong Chi Hang) is ferocious in all functionalities. The newly hired waiter’s employment is short-lived when confronting the owner of his underhanded ways to con others out of money. Pearl’s fate follows suit when her loyalty ends and Wong’s rage emerges in an excruciatingly violent end with a handful of chopsticks. All I can say is ouch!

While the humour ensues amongst the detectives, they begin to focus in on Wong’s criminal activity, including the status of Eight Immortals Restaurant’s previous owner, Cheng Lam, through letters sent by his incarcerated brother, Cheng Poon.

Unfolding the layers of deceit and brutality that all trace back to Wong, the relentless torture bestowed upon him in jail would often speak to the sensitive side of a compassionate person. Until the outlined massacre of Cheng and his family is brought to the table (pun intended) and the pure viciousness of Wong leads to a frustrating ending.

The Untold Story is unforgiving, callous and violent in every way you can imagine.
 Yet that’s what also makes it so damn good. I will never eat a BBQ pork bun again.

Meredith Brown, MOVIES and MANIA

Other reviews:

“Instead of creating a cat-and-mouse chase for the running length of the film in the vein of Silence of the Lambs, The Untold Story’s antagonist is captured about halfway through the story. The writers then took the challenge to continue the story without turning it into a boring courtroom drama. With interesting elements they managed to make the second half of the film just as shocking and violent as the first one…” DVD Review

“Directors Danny Lee and Herman Yau build up a disturbing atmosphere, very much in tone with the unbalance mind of Wong. Employing a stylish narrative, directors Yau and Lee cleverly orchestrate the grotesque details of the crimes in such a harrowing, powerful way that, no matter that the actual act takes place off-screen, the horrific effect is still felt.” W-cinema

 

Cast and characters:

Anthony Chau-Sang Wong … Wong Chi Hang
Danny Lee … Officer Lee
Emily Kwan … Bo
Siu-Ming Lau … Cheng Lam
Fui-On Shing … Cheng Poon
Eric Kei … Robert
King-Kong Lam … King Kong
Parkman Wong … Bull
James Jim-Si Ha … Wong’s Mahjong Buddy
Julie Lee … Pearl
Tin-Dok Wong … Hair Dresser
Chor-Fai Kwong … Macau Policeman
Siu-Hung Leung … Doctor
Si Man Hui … Cheng Lam’s Wife
Wai-Nam So … Policeman

Technical details:

96 minutes
Audio: Mono
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

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