Punished (2011)

Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Richie Jen, Janice Man, Maggie Cheung Ho-yee,
Bou ying is a movie starring Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Richie Jen, and Janice Man. When a tycoon's daughter is found dead of cocaine overdose after being rescued from abduction, he will stop at nothing to avenge her.
  • 5.9 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Chi Keung Fung, Fung Lam, Writer:
  • Wing-Cheong Law, Director:
  • Johnnie To, Producer:

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7 / 10

Simple and Realistic Crime Thriller

After the usual dose of mindless and brutal crime thrillers that has been the staple of Hong Kong fare, this one comes as a refreshing change. Directed by Law Wing-cheong, it has the trademarks of a sleek Johnny To production - and with 'film noir' tone. One thing I can say is that I have never seen Richie Jen performed better than this role.

"Punished" opens at the end of a botched kidnap in Hong Kong - with ruthless property developer Wong Ho-Chiu (Anthony Wong) crying over the body of her daughter Daisy (Janice Man) at a make-shift grave. Wong blames himself as much as he does the kidnappers for the girl's death. His relationship with his drug-addict daughter had not been good lately and he had suspected Daisy of planning her own abduction to get her hands on his cash.

And as he has promised the kidnappers that he would do anything in his power to wreak revenge if anything happened to his daughter, Wong sets his bodyguard Chor (Richie Jen) to investigate the case and punish the culprits. Yes, he derives great satisfaction in watching the former gangster Chor carry out his personal brand of 'justice' (which is sent to him on his i-phone) but then there is the question of his own punishment and salvation.

As the ruthless businessman and tyrannical father, Wong walks a thin line between protagonist and villain. And with his years of experience in such roles, Anthony Wong manages to play the tyrant and get our sympathy too. For me the surprise here is Richie Jen who imbues Chor with the sense of unfailing loyalty and calm menace requisite of his role as the punisher. Janice Man is nicely high-strung as the spoilt brat daughter while Maggie Cheung Ho-yee is impressive as the loving wife and tolerant stepmother.

I had expected a few wild twists in the movie but the fact that the screen-writers resisted the temptation to hype up the plot is a credit to them. There are some minor flaws in the plot but on the whole, it is an engaging study of an individual's brand of crime and punishment. Also, I like the subplot involving Chor's young son from his estranged marriage. It presents a positive side to the movie's other themes about tyrannical upbringing and neglecting one's children. (limchangmoh.blogspot.com)

8 / 10

A Nutshell Review: Punished

When it comes to Hong Kong crime thrillers, Milkyway stands out as the benchmark to be measured against in recent years, with its stable of producers, writers and directors from Johnnie To to Yau Nai Hoi almost always boasting a stellar ensemble from Lau Ching Wan to Ritchie Jen in frequent collaboration in a series of films that would be the envy of those struggling to come up with something as decent. Without a doubt I am always looking forward to the next film from the production house, and Punished is no different – produced by Johnnie To, directed by Law Wing Cheong and starring Anthony Wong and Ritchie Jen in lead roles.

At first glance Punished may look like a knock off of Pierre Morel's Taken, where a father goes on a rampage taking on the hoodlums who had kidnapped his daughter, and clears away just about every adversary that stands in his way with vicious methods dished out without remorse. But I assure you that while Morel's film was more action oriented, the reverse is true for Punished, which takes a more in depth look at the characters, taking its time to build and set them up for the fall, and a deeper examination into the protective role of fathers. It is this that made Punished shine and allow you to feel a little bit more for the characters and a realization that fathers have it tough

The evergreen Anthony Wong chews up all the scenery each time he comes on screen, in an introduction that brings him to the Salar De Uyuni in Bolivia, before the narrative unfolds in non-linear fashion, with a gruesome discovery coupled with flashbacks to bring the audience up to speed with a series of events leading up to now. Anthony Wong plays Wong Ho Chiu, a man who has worked his way up to riches though not always through legitimate means. Wong has remarried, and has estranged ties with both his son, who harbours the desire to study music instead of medicine as dictated by Dad, while daughter Daisy (Janice Man) is the spoilt brat hook on drugs and constant party. It's an understatement to say that Wong has this strong gravitas throughout in the film as the godfather type who's a business man on the outside, and a not so obvious crook on the inside, and plays the character to pitch perfection, as always.

Ritchie Jen also paired up quite nicely opposite Wong, starring as Choy his trusty executive assistant in a Kato sort of role – the chauffeur, the bodyguard, the go-to man, the ex-convict never needing another word to put his life down for his boss. In fact, Jen's Choy is the right hand muscle man for Wong's character, and for the most parts of the film we follow him as he gets tasked to investigate into Daisy's kidnapping, relying on past contacts and some pure investigative work that made Punished an engaging film to sit through. Those looking for all out action may be disappointed, since this is more detective work than going all out to bash everybody's heads in. Choy also got to deal with similar father issues with his own estranged wife and kid, and this serves as a parallel to his boss' predicament, as well as providing that contrast in parenting styles, and opportunity even when dealing with one's kids, which two methods get adopted.

A subplot involving an underling's determination to obtain a plot of land from villages through all means possible may serve as karma to try and hammer the theme about punishment in, that one need not be directly at the receiving end of a penalty, but that life can dish it out in an indirect fashion, which comes from the torment of Wong himself and the spiral of his relationships downwards. The story when unravelled is extremely simple without the usual unnecessary, meandering twists and turns, relying on seamless editing between time and space to add a little complexity to its presentation., resulting in a tight thriller especially when the vendetta order gets issued.

Perhaps the only kink in the armour was how one of the last perpetrators was dealt with, while I understand that the story had to have some form of redemption factor, it would have packed another punch if a darker tone was adopted instead. But as a tale dealing with fathers and the lengths that they will go in order to protect their kids, Punished still pulled off what it had aimed for - a well acted, gritty crime thriller with charismatic main leads to boot, being an able addition to the Milkyway filmography. Recommended!

7 / 10

There are things that haunt you for life.

Maybe I have a subconscious desire for revenge as I typically like that genre. This is a tale of revenge on the death of a tycoon's daughter.

His bodyguard (Richie Ren) is tasked with finding those responsible and taking care of business. He reports back on his boss' iPhone.

I've seen Ren in Exiled (Fong juk). and he is very good. This may be his best.

Revenge doesn't replace the fact that you need to be close to your loved ones now. That realization is central to the film and revenge was not sweet, but a painful reminder of the father's failure.

Really good film.

6 / 10

HK Neo Reviews: Punished

It is impossible not to be disappointed at the latest Milky Way Film produced by Johnnie To. The film probably plays like any other To's films, but without the usual stylish flair that elevates his films to fan-boy's status. Director Law Wing-Cheong is clearly no Johnnie To and his inability to take an average and predictable story and turn it into a stylistic art means mediocrity is all he will achieve. It is unfortunately with the likes of Anthony Wong and Richie Ren being involved and giving a good account of themselves in the process as well. The film also suffers from the lack of a wonderful soundtrack that is so utterly important in Milky Way films. All in all, Punished fails as a Milky Way production and lacks of all the usual Johnnie To's stylistic trademark that make his films so much better. Average and predictable at best?

Neo rates it 6/10.

  • www.thehkneo.com

6 / 10

Another Asian revenge crime film

Revenge is a common theme in Chinese action films, and even just in the filmography of producer Johnnie To, who is best known for another film called Vengeance. This one is called Punished, though it is somewhat of an untraditional revenge film. There are more layers of plot and morality than the average revenge film, though it packs just as much excitement.

Punished begins as a rather unpleasant family melodrama. It feels like a Chinese episode of "The Sopranos" when the drug habit of a powerful man (Anthony Wong) becomes more than just an embarrassment. Her behavior threatens business, which somehow feels slightly less than legitimate, but none of this is an issue when the daughter is suddenly kidnapped. The reasons for this kidnapping are unknown, and even after the ransom is paid she is killed just the same.

This is when it becomes a revenge film, though there is a certain level of distance in this vengeance. Instead of dirtying his hands with the act of murdering the people responsible for his daughter's death, the tycoon hires his ex-bodyguard (Richie Jen) to do it instead. Determined to make enough money to ensure his son's financial stability in life, this bodyguard is willing to throw everything away in order to destroy the culprits. He videotapes the deaths and sends them back to his boss, who only becomes involved with the final death.

For full review go to: http://www.rizayreviews.com/2012/01/punished-dvd-review.html