Judge David Johnson punishes his housecat every time she shoots him one of those condescending looks.
First the ransom. Then the payback.
When the daughter of wealthy industrialist Wong Ho-chiu (Anthony Wong) is kidnapped, he scrambles to supply the ransom. But the deal goes sour and his beloved child is found killed, dumped in a shallow grave. Enraged, he instructs his badass and somewhat insane personal bodyguard, Chor (Richie Jen), to pursue the criminals responsible for her murder, waste them, and videotape their executions for Wong to enjoy at his discretion.
On the surface, that's not a bad plan right? Sort of Saw meets NYPD Blue. A revenge fantasy that every out-of-his-mind grieving father would love. Unfortunately, things get a lot more complicated, when the particulars of the kidnapping and the brains behind the operation are revealed.
Interesting movie. Punished could probably be better defined by what it isn't than by what it is.
It's not torture porn.
It's not an action film.
It's not a horror movie.
It's not even really a thriller.
Despite what the provocative disc cover implies—the shadowy, gun-toting figure, walking away from a dead girl, dragging a bloody shovel—Punished is really…a procedural. Heavy on the drama and investigating, light on the stuff you were interested in seeing.
There are a couple of scenes of violence, but much of it is implied. The edgiest sequence is Chor's belt sander interrogation of a thug. It sounds worse than it is. Just some gruesome sound effects and a strategic camera pull-back. Not that I'm hankering for some stomach-churning violence, but you should know what you're signing up for here.
Good DVD: standard definition 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the original 5.1 Dolby surround Cantonese and 2.0 stereo English dub, an inside look at the making-of, a featurette on directing the cast, and a photo gallery.
A decent enough whodunit, Punished fails to lift itself out of the
crowded field of import action also-rans.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
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