nstead of reviewing "Peace Hotel", I find it
more interesting to talk about the people who made this movie. The film itself
is not worth an entire review; and while it is not atrocious in the same way
that "Ichi the Killer"
Security" are atrocious, it is, in its own way, quite atrocious. Like
"Security", I had little strength to write a full-length review of
"Hotel" after the initial viewing, thus happily absconding on my
self-imposed criteria to write "in-depth movie reviews".
And so, 7 months past, I have finally dragged myself back
to the keyboard to write that missing full-length review of "Peace
Hotel", attempting to make up for a simple statement of avoidance 7 months
ago. But talking about the movie, which is a nonsensical ball of nonsensical
nonsense, will be next to impossible. Once again, the film does nothing for me,
and while it is not so bad that I cringe at the mere thought of it, I would
rather poke nails into my eyes before I would voluntarily watch it again.
"Peace Hotel" was Chow Yun-Fat's final Hong Kong
movie before making the jump to the States. Already an internationally acclaimed
action star, Chow found American stardom elusive. After bombs with tailor-made
action movies like "The Replacement Killers" and "The
Corruptor", Chow finally garnered mass American approval with Ang Lee's
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden
Dragon". The irony, that Chow would finally become famous for making a Chinese
movie rather than an American one after having left Chinese films for American
films, escaped no one.
One of the reasons why I believe "Peace Hotel" is
such a dismal failure is the presence of writer/director Wai Ka-Fai. If the name
sounds familiar, that's because Wai has made a living "co"-directing
alongside Johnnie To ("Running
on Karma"). Wai made his debut with "Hotel", and would go on
to "co"-direct goofball comedies such as "Wu
Yen" and "Fat Choi Spirit", both with To. It's probably not a
surprise that Wai would find success with slapstick comedy, because "Peace
Hotel", for the most part, plays out like some poor junkie's warped
Scripts don't get any more tripe or nonsensical than the
one for "Peace Hotel". To say that the movie is based on a faulty
premise would be understating the fact that "Hotel", simply put,
should not exist in a world where people still ponder the possible existence of
alien life forms in galaxies hundreds of light years away.
Under the banner of goofy comedy/action/period film,
"Hotel" offer us a story of The Killer (Fat), a former bandit who has
turned a hotel in the countryside of turn of the century China into the peace
hotel of the title, where all can come for sanctuary, all under the protection
of the infamous Killer, who as it turns out, is quite an idiot of massive
proportions. Along comes Cecilia Yip, who pushes the script's already weak
boundaries and turns the whole thing into massive Tomfoolery that only junkies
in the throes of withdrawal can possibly appreciate.
In short, "Peace Hotel" boggles the mind with its
infantile humor, while neglecting that little thing called Good Taste. It is
also a prime culprit of Hong Kong Absurdist Cinema, where a fart joke easily
follows the mass slaughter of innocent victims without so much as an "Ahem,
excuse me, please ignore my lack of Good Taste". To watch "Hotel"
is to wonder how people could possibly think this is anything other than amateur
hour. Or the fact that Chow Yun-Fat is squeezing all the poorly conceived
Chinese Melodrama for all its worth without an ounce of shame.
"Peace Hotel" isn't bad.
But it is pretty bad.