Steven Yip Tin Heng's black comedy Mad Stylist stars Wong Hei, Hilary Tsui Ho Ying, Kent Cheng and Michael Wong and is frankly one of the most bizarre Hong Kong movies I have ever seen.
|Oh No! Mad stylist has struck again.|
Dee (Wong Hei) is a wannabe hairstylist but keeps getting fired as whenever he tries to cut anyone's hair his hands start to tremble and he makes a mess of the job. Ever more frustrated he takes a job where he's a dog's body and is bullied by colleagues to boot. Enter childhood lost friend May (Hilary Tsui Ho Ying) who used to protect Dee from being bullied as a child. Cue the love and murders, and improbably Dee finds he can style the hair on the decapitated heads without the trembles! The psycho couple's happiness is put in jeopardy when a brain damaged girl sees Dee dumping a body, May demands that she is killed but Dee saves her instead from a leering transvestite guardian who just happens to be a teacher! Complications ensue when Kent Cheng and Michael Wong's cops start investigating the murders and Dee keeps the girl like a pet dog. It just gets weirder from there!
Where to start with Mad Stylist? Steven Yip Tin Heng obviously loves Oliver Stone's Natural born killers and the writer of that movie Quentin Tarantino as the film features multiple nods in the direction of both, with montage inserts of film clips ranging from wildlife film to hentai and splatter anime to ram home his points. The story is told in Tarantino's trademark non linear style but stops short of using chapters, it also uses a blatant "rearrangement" of Dick Dale's surf version of the song Misirlou to further press the link. The whole film seems to be aiming for the tone of a Tarantino movie, I could be wrong though as it's so far from being successful!
|What's in the oven?|
Mad Stylist fails as a film on many levels but what it does have is a WTF feel that keeps you watching just to see what it can come up with next. Perhaps my favourite scene in the movie is a karaoke sequence with Kent Cheng and Michael Wong belting out a version of Paul Anka's Diana, it has to be seen to be believed. The category III elements of the movie are quite tame in some respects and mostly played for comedic value, with the first killing being hilarious in it's absurdity. By far the most offensive elements of the film are a couple of instances of real animal killing, in particular where a frog is killed in an horrific manner.
Mad Stylist does try to give Dee and May some psychological depth but it has about as much as Kent Cheng and Michael Wong's musical performance. If you take the movie remotely seriously the whole thing would be pretty offensive in it's story and characters, but to be honest if you did take this seriously you'd be as mad as the stylist!
|If this isn't worth watching a movie for I don't know what is!|
I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to recommend Mad Stylist but if you have a thing for black comedy serial killer movies with Kent Cheng and Michael Wong singing and a brain damaged girl being kept on a lead, you could do worse!