Country: Hong Kong
Director: Taylor Wong
TRASH CINEMA HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
The Truth, the sequel to The Unwritten Law, is a distinct improvement over the original.
The movie takes place five years after Lau Wai Lan’s (Deannie Yip) acquittal. She’s still a drug addicted prostitute and barrister Raymond (Andy Lau) still doesn’t know that he’s her son.
The first half of the movie details her grim existence. Aside from the rigors of everyday life, Lau Wai Lan and her fellow prostitutes are forced to put up with the harassment of a pair of corrupt vice cops, Wong Fat (Wong Chi-Keung) and Chan Ging. Wong Fat, while shaking down the prostitutes for their valuables in exchange for not busting them for heroin possession, comes across proof that Lau Wai Lan is Raymond’s mother.
Wong Fat promptly blackmails Lau Wai Lan for $10,000 U.S. dollars, but when Lau Wai Lan miraculously scrapes up the money to pay him, he demands another $90,000.
Suffice it to say that Lau Wai Lan winds up in court again.
A couple of things make The Truth quite entertaining. First is the no holds barred melodrama in the script by Johnny Mak and Stephen Shiu. The screenwriters really put Lau Wai Lan through the ringer. As before, Deanie Yip is marvelous in the Stella Dallas role of a mom who will do anything for her son. Andy Lau is okay as the good hearted son. Paul Chun is appropriately irritating as the prosecutor. But the real fun is had by the actors playing the rogues and scumbags of the piece.
Ng Hoi-Tin is fabulous as the judge who has it in for Raymond. As usual, Shing Fu-on steals any scene that he’s in. Chan Ging is wonderful as a low-life cop. But Wong Chi-Keung walks away with the picture as the loathesome vice cop that blackmails poor Lau Wai Lan. His body language, the way he scratches himself — Wong Chi-Keung spares no effort to make Wong Fat hateful.
Again, just like The Unwritten Law, the weakest aspect of of the flick is the courtroom scenes. Neither side presents a very good case. But this time, there is some drama in that Raymond is so desperate to clear his mom (he finds out who she is finally) that he bribes a witness and coaches his mom to lie on the stand.
The ending, while not realistic in about a half dozen ways, didn’t irritate me as much as it might have. After putting Lau Wai Lan through seven circles of hell, I was happy the screenwriters gave her a break. I just wish they had been more clever about it.
So, what’s the verdict? In spite of some flaws, The Truth is a rousing melodrama and a lot of fun.
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