The Executioner (HK 1993)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: The Beheaded 1000
Review Date: 12/7/13
Cast: Jimmy Wang Yu, Chin Sui Ho, Joey Wang, cameos by Wu Ma, Pauline Wong

Jimmy Wang Yu is a righteous executioner who has beheaded 999 criminals. Unfortunately for him and his young apprentice (Chin Siu Ho), the notorious Blood Brothers gang comes back from Hell seeking revenge. Blood Lotus (Joey Wang) leads our heroes to their doom as a seductive temptress of hatred and deception, while the Guardian of Hell (Wu Ma) tries his best to help out where he can.

The whole thing is rather silly and overly long, and the pacing drags as a result of the seemingly endless dialog. The action scenes are disappointing as are the wire stunts, and the entire production seems a bit amateurish compared to similar Hong Kong fare. It does, however, boast some very impressive visual effects in the decapitation department, and overall the cinematography is quite good.

The venerable Wang Yu is barely recognizable, but does an adequate job as the old master. Chin Sui Ho gives an excellent performance, although I would have preferred to see a lot more kung fu action from him, and Joey Wang is astonishingly beautiful throughout. While playing a ghost is nothing new for her, I've never seen her so vicious and malicious before, and she can be surprisingly intimidating. With a leaner script and more proficient action scenes, this film could have been extremely entertaining, but as it is, it comes off as rather dull and feels like a missed opportunity.