review by Neo

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A wannabe-infernal that kinda works...
Marco Mak is an interesting character, the director who made gritty crime-thrillers like The Wall and Colour of Truth to absolute B-movies this year with Slim Till Death and Set to Kill. It is not surprisingly that while Slim Till Death fails to appeals, his other one - Set to Kill, shot with an even lower budget reminds us much of The Wall, than crap like Cop on a Mission. Starring only two kind of well-known stars in Raymond Wong and Isabel Chan (who stole the show in Butterfly) and a stack of newcomers and veterans, it has all the ingredients of a crappy B-movie. However, to Neo's surprise it isn't half bad and the twists after twists and more twists may have ruined a lot of movies, it actually made this thing more interesting than it deserves. While the acting is stiff and a less than adequate performance from Raymond Wong and some underused stuff like Isabel Chan and smoother filming techniques, it is nonetheless what Neo calls, an interesting low budget flicks that "kind of" work.

The movie goes like this: It's never easy to distinguish enemies and friends in Set to Kill. Set to Kill is another crime fiction in which the unveiling of traps set intelligently within traps and the depiction of people's inner psyche in struggling with their enemies matter more than action. When the police are investigating money laundering in an investment bank, all the money suddenly vanishes mysteriously! The head of an international crime syndicate forces Connie (Ning Jing), Assistant General Manager of the bank, to return the whole amount. Her boyfriend (Johnny Lu Sze Ming), CEO of the bank, seeks help from a retired local triad leader (Lau Siu Ming), who in turn sends Nick (Raymond Wong) and three other guards (Berg Ng Ting Yip, Marco Lok Lik Wai, Isabel Chan Yat Ning) to protect Connie. Nick, indeed an ex-boyfriend of Connie, thinks that the case is more complicated that it seems...

Once again, Neo is right about Raymond Wong, as his performance as lead is more than questionable, due to his lack of facial expressions, but then again, perhaps, he is born to be a supporting actor. However the reason to kind of catch this flick is not because of its below average acting performances, but Marco Mak ability to turn twists after twists in a manner that so many movies before it has failed, but somehow it made this movie 10x more thrilling and kind of watch-able. It is interesting to note about the message that Mak tries to bring out, and in a way it is simple and yet again it is kind of deep. The people who are stupid are those who think they are the smartest and the smartest people are those who think they are stupid. Surely the lines seems cheesy and contradictory, but thinking about it, makes you realise - hey it is actually right...

Set to Kill isn't a ground breaking film, or even Marco Mak's best, but it does have something to say, and whether it is a good movie or not, is not really up to me to decide, as it what I call, an interesting B-movie that kind of work. The movie attempts to bring inner human nature to the question, and the film ends with the note of appearance vs. reality and whether or not greed is born within human nature. It also ponders upon an interesting psychology about the human mind of what distinguish between those who are stupid and smart and finally realising that they are all stupid. While it is smart or just plain bullshit, it is entirely up to you to conceived, but ignoring the crappy digital camera like shots and some very inadequate acting, this movie isn't half bad and as far as twists is concerned, this one succeeds more than most...

I rate it 8/10

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Genre: Crime/Thriller
Director: Marco Mak
Cast: Raymond Wong | Ning Ching | Wu Ting Ye
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), August 2005