#74 – Severed Tongue

(1991, HK, 105 min) Dir Jackie Woo. Cast Jackie Woo, Maxy Feng, Annabelle de Long.

While never in fear of achieving respectability Jackie Woo skirted the edges of the mainstream in the mid to late eighties and came within sniffing distance of a halfway decent budget and a recognisable cast. Something about this must have been antithetical for Woo as he followed his most conventional and popular film to date, Law Fist, with this, his most repellent feature. Cocky Triad Vin (Woo, as usual) has been sent by his boss to Indonesia to hash out a drugs deal but while there gets carried away with women and drink and ends up kidnapped by some kind of a jungle cult. He escapes but without both his tongue and penis – both having been graphically torn off/out – and makes his way back to Hong Kong only to be shunned by his former compatriots. Finding that he’s now somehow endowed with mystical powers (along with hallucinations of jungle men following him) he takes bloody revenge on his fellow Triads and do I mean bloody – one victim has his skin pulled off over the course of what seems like an eternity of tearing and screaming, one has his head popped like a zit, another his limbs wrenched from his body. According to the man himself in the 2006 documentary Jackie Woo: Bloody Vengeance, this film was catharsis after years of Triad interference but it didn’t seem to do his standing with them any harm – while only a moderate success at the box office it was so well received by the Triads they gave him an effective carte blanche for his next half-dozen features.

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