#73 – Backspace

(1987, HK, 96 min) Dir Jackie Woo. Cast Jackie Woo, Phillip Ko, Rosamund Kwan.

By the standards of director Jackie Woo this is an unusually restrained techno-thriller but in saying that I have to warn potential viewers that this isn’t The Net or anything like that – it’s still a Jackie Woo film which means there are two beheadings, a disembowelling and one instance of a topless lady running around on fire. Aside from that it’s a model of restraint from the guy. Jimmy (played by Woo’s favourite actor – Woo himself) has just started working at DynoTime industries which boasts a fully automated office building, from the doors to the drinking fountains. Unfortunately for him, in a big slapstick moment involving an inappropriate use for a banana, he screws up big time on his first day and has to hide from his tyrannical boss under his desk. There he falls asleep and wakes up after hours to find the building in lock down with a very vigilant computer standing guard like HAL with whirling razor-sharp blades and before he knows it he’s fighting for his life. As if that wasn’t enough a gang of punk criminals are breaking in that same night, hence the aforementioned body count. Of course the film ends with Jimmy prevailing and being garlanded with Employee of the Year but the journey there is something else. Alternating between broad comedy, hard-core violence and misty-eyed sentimentality this is a classic Hong Kong kind of film.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

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