Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Ebola Syndrome (1996)

If asked to describe Ebola Syndrome in one word it would have to be, hilarious. "What?" You might be thinking, "How can you describe a movie that features dismemberment, cannibalism, animal mutilation, self-mutilation, rape, gratuitous nudity, racial slurs, autopsy dissections, and an infamous masturbation scene with pork meat, as hilarious? How? Because in spite of all the nastiness featured in Ebola Syndrome, it actually resembles a gross-out comedy more than a horror film. That's not to say the the film doesn't have it's share of edgy, disturbing violence... it's just done very comically. And better yet, it works well.

Anthony Wong reprises his psycho/rapist/killer role again for another outing with director Herman Yau. Along with Danny Lee, these two were behind the much more serious and darker "Untold Story." Drawing comparisons between the two films seems inevitable because they are very similar in plot and both feature Anthony Wong doing what he does best... acting like a raving maniac. But while Untold Story is a dark and mean monster of a film, Ebola Syndrome is it's more light-hearted cousin.

Kai (Anthony Wong) plays a psycho who flees Hong Kong after brutally murdering the family of his employer (all of which happens before the opening credits) to take a job in South Africa working as a chef in Chinatown. Ten years pass, and Kai finds himself stuck in a dead end job with no way out. After visiting a local Zulu tribe to purchase pigs, Kai gets infected with the lethal Ebola Virus. But Kai is "one in ten million" and instead of dying he becomes a carrier for the disease. Shortly after an argument ensues at his work, Kai ends up murdering his employer and his wife, chopping up their bodies, and feeding their Ebola infected bodies to customers as "African Pork Buns (Notice any similarities)." After finding his employer's cash hoard, Kai decides to return to Hong Kong: but not without a trail of bodies along the way.

The secret of Ebola Syndrome's success is that it's not afraid to go completely over the top. Combined with genuinely funny humor, the film manages to be one fun ride. Anthony Wong gets to deliver a multitude of great lines with dead-pan nonchalance while he's ruthlessly dismembering or raping one of his many victims. I guess you have to have a dark sense of humor to get this film, and it's not for the squeamish- the autopsy scene is truly disgusting- but if ultra-violence is your thing, Ebola Syndrome delivers a wildly entertaining and sadistic ride.

Bottom Line - If you like extreme cinema and have a pitch black sense of humor than seek this out. A blissfully disturbing fun time with Anthony Wong doing what he does best. 7/10

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