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Dog Bite Dog – Review June 2, 2009

Posted by Cello in Movie Reviews.
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After a savage assassin named Pang (Edison Chen) enters illegally into Hong Kong and hits his target, the police respond with equal savagery as they tear into the night to find him once they realize that he is a Cambodian that has been raised to do nothing by fight and kill for his very survival. Meanwhile, Pang has instinctively made his way to Hong Kong’s landfill garbage dumps, which are similar to the ones where he was living in Cambodia. He finds an unnamed man and his daughter Yue (Pei Pei) living at the dumps. After Pang sees the man rape his own daughter, Pang kills him. Afterward, Yue gradually awakens a gentleness in Pang.

Most asian cinema I’ve sampled lately has been either completely terrible or totally beyond me.  Dog Bite Dog was a film I really needed to see, because I had seen a string of lackluster films beforehand. This Film is rugged and bloody even by Hong Kong standards. Yet before you are entirely repulsed by both sides, they would show flashes of humanity that make you feel increasingly confused in choosing whom to root for. This film is like that Jet Li film, Unleashed, but darker, more nihilistic, less kungfu, more harrowing, more emotionally exhausting, no ridiculous sentimental crap, no clear line between good guys and bad guys, watching it will make you feel nearly as rotten as watching Requiem For A Dream, and at the same time be so emotionally numb by then from witnessing all the gore and violence.

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Made of equal parts cruelty, crime and passion, Dog Bite Dog benefits not merely from an apt title, but also from a flexible direction, superb cinematography and respectable performances from most involved. The rest of the film, admittedly, has a hard time keeping up such aesthetic energy so closely attuned to the funneled physical and mental experience of a single character.

Soundtrack is smartly constructed, occasionally making powerful use of silence as counterpoint to the violent, cacophonous chaos that dominates the action.   The movie starts off with some very provoking macro shots and vivid sound effects; it wasn’t long before I realized that Dog Bite Dog was a film that took itself very seriously from an artistic point of view as well. Just a forewarning, be prepared for some slightly brutal violence and chilling sequences–probably not for a viewer that isn’t prepared to wince or feel the occasional tightening of their stomach. All in all, Dog Bite Dog is a terrific film.
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