Huan hun (Blood Ties) (2009)

Film review

Blood Ties (2009)“Blood Ties” is a film full of the unnecessary. Capitalising on its supernatural slant, the film is actually a revenge film in disguise. In an over-long first act with flashback after flashback, we witness the brutal killing of an undercover cop, Shun, and his wife, through the eyes of his young sister, Qin. On and on the flashbacks go – we keep seeing the same one with increasing detail, explaining what has transpired – I looked at my watch – when is the movie going to actually start? This playing of timeline and structure is completely arbitrary and slows down the momentum of the film. Isn’t it more exciting for the plot to be revealed in a more active way considering it’s a mystery thriller (why was Shun slained?)

Another unnecessary component is the violence. Violence is usually more effective when we see it once, or even just hear it. When it is repeated over and over (same scene with increasing detail, several times, mind you), it becomes more sickening and senseless – why do we have to keep watching this over and over? Because nothing seems to be engaging and everything is repeated, the mind begins to predict what will happen. And by the hour mark, especially when you keep seeing the girl and Shun’s ex-partner talk, talk and talk, one begins to suspect a twist or two.

With some serious rewriting and restricting, I think “Blood Ties” could have worked. But a genre film is challenging, as the goods have to be delivered and then something original/fresh provided. In “Blood Ties”, the plot is convoluted to no effect except to confuse an otherwise straightforward story; the story itself is uninspired and predictable, the climax lame and tepid. Sever all ties with this film.

Rating: 1/10

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