100 Ways to Murder Your
Reviewed by YTSL
A cautionary note: There is a very strong
possibility that I missed out on a lot of the featured jokes in this comedy
on account of my not being able to understand its Cantonese dialogue and
read the horridly huge subtitles which had so much cut off on the sides
and from the bottom of my TV screen that they might as well not have existed.
Alternatively, it really might have been my good fortune that this offering
is more reliant on visuals rather than verbals to elicit guffaws, giggles,
chuckles, sniggers and smiles from its audience. It also is not impossible
that I might have grossly misinterpreted the tenor of this 1986 movie's
humor. If the latter is true, perhaps it was for the best; since
I found so much of this Kenny Bee-directed film to be an incredible laugh
Beyond the language issues: With a title
like 100 WAYS TO MURDER YOUR WIFE, and a story-line which really does involve
two men making a pact to kill the other's wife for him, there is some likelihood
that not everyone might be as appreciative of that which I did find hysterically
funny. For what it's worth though, this female (re)viewer thought
that this star-studded production (whose leads are Chow Yun-Fat, Joey Wong,
Kenny Bee and Anita Mui; and which features guest appearances by Wong Jing
-- yes, THAT Wong Jing! -- and Wu Ma) is much less misogynistic and mean-spirited
than many might assume. At the very least, even while it's the men
in this film who do provide the audience with the bulk of the laughs, it's
the women who come off looking like better -- or more grown up -- human
In 100 WAYS TO MURDER YOUR WIFE, Chow Yun-Fat
plays the captain and goalkeeper of a Malaysian soccer team which came
to participate in a tournament in Hong Kong. Football Fat -- yes,
this is one of those movies where some of the characters have the same
name as the actors who play them! -- also happens to be the immensely jealous
husband of a beautiful as well as sweet former Miss Malaysia named Joey
(who is portrayed by -- you guessed it! -- Joey Wong). When Fat sees
Joey happily chatting with other men, be it the soccer squad's gay doctor
or a friendly but equally innocent member of a rival team, he gets so enraged
that he not only has to utter wordless screams but also needs to pull all
the leaves off any poor plant within grasping distance.
Things come to a head one day when Fat thinks
he's overhearing Joey and the team doctor plotting to poison him (I can't
be sure but my sense is that they were in fact trying to figure out how
to add vitamin and other kinds of healthy supplements to his diet).
That evening, there's a party at Fat and Joey's temporary Hong Kong residence
(loaned to them for the duration of their stay there by Wong Jing).
Roberto, the star of the Hong Kong soccer team (who comes in the form of
this film's director), is one of its attendees. He himself is stewing
about his wife (a clothes designer with questionable tastes, high ambitions
and an obviously sharp tongue portrayed by Anita Mui), who had humiliated
him in front of his neighbors just before he left for the party.
Ignoring her instructions to not drink alcohol while there (and also return
home early), Roberto proceeds to drink the evening away with Fat and come
to an agreement which sends Fat off to kill his already angry wife while
he does the same to the unsuspecting Joey.
Suffice to say here that the first murder attempts
were not successful. And although there weren't as many as 100 ways
enacted by the two bumbling men to kill their wives, we are indeed shown
quite a few; many of which are obviously too imaginative and outlandish
to be all that easily and successfully carried out by rank amateurs.
Piranhas, a giant television set, a swimming pool, a deck chair, ice darts
propelled from a catapult, thick glass designed to channel the sun's rays
to burn and more get commandeered by the men for their nefarious purposes.
Along the way in 100 WAYS TO MURDER YOUR WIFE, we also are treated to such
sights as: Anita Mui and Chow Yun Fat brandishing large kitchen knives
at each other; Joey booting Fat in the head with a soccer ball and also
whacking that part of him with her hand; Anita Mui pouting until she is
allowed to score a goal past Kenny Bee; Roberto washing his hair in a urinal;
Fat playing a drinking-cum-chanting game with a dummy; the two husbands
bawling like babies and getting mistaken for a gay couple in at a discotheque;
and the two wives throwing temper tantrums plus hijacking a hot air balloon.
If the descriptions furnished so far of events
in the film do not make you smile or want to check out 100 WAYS TO MURDER
YOUR WIFE, then it will obviously not be your cup of tea. For myself,
the zest and glee with which its stars inhabited their roles and did whatever
they did in the madcap movie was itself a truly fun sight to behold.
How much did I enjoy this work? Let's say that I almost didn't want
it to end; and as it was, took about twice as long to watch the movie as
one might usually do because I found myself rewinding and rewatching so
many bits of it. Furthermore, I am being entirely serious in stating
that this is one of those gems that I am extremely happy to have stumbled
across in my continuing exploration of what Hong Kong cinema has to offer.
My rating for the film: 8.5