The Eight Immortals Restaurant: The Untold Story

05/12/2023 08:03

Film: The Eight Immortals Restaurant: The Untold Story (Bat sin fan dim: Yan yuk cha siu bau)

Year: 1993

Director: Danny Lee and Herman Yau

Writers: Wing-Kin Lau and Kam-Fai Law

Starring: Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Danny Lee and Emily Kwan



This is a movie that I heard about thanks to people in the podcasting community. My buddy Derek showed me that he got it. The 22 Shots of Moodz and Horror covered this movie. As part of that, Mr. Parka likes this and it also appeared on the Summer Challenge Series for the Podcast Under the Stairs. That is the reason I watched this as it is one of the movies I hadn’t seen before.

Synopsis: Macau cops suspect a man running a pork buns restaurant of murder, after tracing the origin of a case full of chopped up human remains that washed ashore.

We start this in Hong Kong back in 1972. There are a couple of guys. One claims the other owes him money. He refuses to pay. That causes the man to attack, killing him and starting a fire to cover up what happened. The man who did this act is Wong Chi Hang (Anthony Chau-Sang Wong).

It then shifts to Macau in 1986. There is a family hanging out on the beach when they notice a terrible smell. Like the synopsis said, there is a bag of body parts that are found. The police are called and we see a group of them that are bumbling. There is a woman named Bo (Emily Kwan). There is Robert (Eric Kei), King Kong (King-Kong Lam) and Bull (Parkman Wong). They send Bo off to do the work until Officer Lee (Danny Lee) shows up. It takes effort, but they get a fingerprint off a hand that starts their investigation.

That leads them to the Eight Immortals Restaurant. When we see it, Wong Chi Hang is running the place. It used to belong to Cheng Lam (Siu-Ming Lau), but he and his family disappeared. Pearl (Julie Lee) is the hostess and she doesn’t care for Wong. There is also an interesting scene where a man is hired to help, but he upsets Wong who kills him. Paranoia sets in as the police show up. Wong doesn’t want his employees talking to them. Wong also can’t stop killing either. He has an interesting way of getting rid of the bodies as well.

Now that is where I’m going to leave my recap and introduction to the important characters. What is interesting here is that by the end of the movie, it seems this is based on a real case. I didn’t look to confirm. The things that I’ve heard from Mr. Parka makes me think that it might be. I did also see trivia that this loosely based on something that happened in Macau. Hong Kong has a bunch of these Category 3 movies where they would be exploitative in what they show as well as to real events.

With that taken care of, this is a wild movie. Wong is mentally unstable. He gets agitated by anyone and everyone. We see that he does keep it together well enough when the police show up. When he loses control is when the police talk to his employees and he’s not around to hear what they’re saying. He doesn’t believe anyone so he assumes they ratted on him. It is truly the look of someone who knows they’re guilty. He’s sloppy so by killing he thinks it makes it easier. The truth is that it makes it more difficult. Wong is a despicable human being for things that he does here. I did want to give credit to Wong’s portrayal though. He did a great job to be honest.

I did want to go over to the effects here. I must give them credit since they look so real. The blood and gore is on point. There were times where it made me cringe. I knew this was coming, but seeing it was something else. Not the most graphic of things I’ve seen, I did want to establish that. The cinematography should also be pulled in as I think they do well at framing shots where it leaves a bit to our imagination. Both are good so I’ll give credit for sure.

Then to shift back to the story, I knew coming in that this also had a bit of comedy. I don’t know if it works for me to be honest. It feels like The Last House on the Left where the subject matter is so difficult to deal with, they decided to inject comedy to lighten it. The police officers are one step away from being a Three Stooges act. I’m guessing this is acceptable, it just doesn’t fit my taste.

That’s not to say that the acting is bad. I’ve said my piece on Wong. Lee is good as this officer that the rest look up to. He’s a good cop from what I could see. Kwan, Kei, Lam and Wong were all fine as well. They fit for what they were asked to do. I thought Lee was good in the fear she shows. Other than that, I’d say Fui-On Shing, Lau and the rest of the cast rounded this out for what was needed.

There is one last thing to go over. This movie has the police officers capturing Wong. They need him to confess. This movie shows the police officers being brutal in their treatment to get a confession. It is wild to watch this with American eyes because what they’re doing is illegal. I’d go as far to say that it violates the Geneva Convention with my understanding of it. We know they have the right guy and they don’t want to let him go. It is hard to watch, especially with the state of the police force in my country and the call for wide sweeping reform. It makes me thankful for where I live.

In conclusion, this movie is an interesting one. If you like gore, then I would say to give this a watch. We have a story that seems loosely based on something that happened. I think that Wong is good as our villainous lead. The police fit the tone the movie is going for. That is my issue though, I don’t care for comedy. That doesn’t ruin the movie though. That is something I did want to say. If you like movies like this, I’d recommend giving it a view. I just feel there is a niche audience so I can’t recommend it to everyone with the extreme nature it goes to.


My Rating: 7 out of 10