Newest Reviews
Dragged Across Concrete
Do the Right Thing
Pond Life
Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, The
Third Wife, The
Follow Me
Fugitive Girls
Missing Link
Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, The
Pet Sematary
Oh... Rosalinda!!
Night Is Short, Walk On Girl
Knight of Shadows: Between Yin and Yang, The
Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich
Killer Crocodile
Nutcracker Prince, The
Secret World of Og, The
Fifth Cord, The
Man Could Get Killed, A
Cyborg 009: Kaiju War
Heavy Trip
Nightmare Weekend
Blue Ice
Great Scout & Cathouse Thursday, The
Incident, The
Hell's Angels
Heaven and Earth
Lovin' Molly
Newest Articles
Trains and Training: The British Transport Films Collection Volume 13 on DVD
Holiday from Hell: In Bruges on Blu-ray
The Comedy Stylings of Kurt Russell: Used Cars and Captain Ron
Robot Rocked: The Avengers Cybernauts Trilogy on Blu-ray
Hammer's Bloodthirsty Bad Girls 1970: Lust for a Vampire and Countess Dracula
Hammer to Fall: Kiss Me Deadly on Blu-ray
Home of the Grave: The House That Dripped Blood and Asylum on Blu-ray
Wondrous Women: Supergirl vs Captain Marvel
Things Have Changed: Films You'd Be Insane to Make Now
The Hole in the Ground: Director Lee Cronin Interview
She's Missing: Director Alexandra McGuinness Interview
Woo's the Boss: Last Hurrah for Chivalry & Hand of Death on Blu-ray
Get Ahead in Showbiz: Expresso Bongo and It's All Happening
Outer Space and Outta Sight: Gonks Go Beat on Blu-ray
Tucked: The Derren Nesbitt Interview
  Fatal Vacation Tourist TrapBuy this film here.
Year: 1990
Director: Eric Tsang
Stars: Eric Tsang, Irene Wan, Tang Pik-Wan, Victor Wong, Tommy Wong Kwong-Leung, Joan Tong, Cecilia Yiu, Yu Sin-Man, Nam Yin, Emily Kwan, Li Zhi-Xi, Lee Kim-Chung, Perrie Lai Hoi-San, Siu Huen, Chan Haau-Ling, Spanky Manikan
Genre: Drama, Action, Thriller
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Pretty tour guide Candy (Irene Wan) heads a group of Hong Kong tourists that include Kuang (Nam Yin, also this film's screenwriter), an unfaithful husband travelling with his mistresses Hsiu Li (Joan Tong) and Ai Pao (Siu Huen), an elderly couple (Tang Pik-Wan and Victor Wong) with a little grandson, fun-loving teenage girls Pat (Cecilia Yiu) and Judy (Yu Sin-Man), edgy cop Hua (Li Zhi-Xi) and his cool-headed mentor, and a group of boisterous triads including Big Eyes (Tommy Wong Kwong-Leung) for a coach trip across the Philipines. Joining the group in Manilla, fellow tour operator Bud (Eric Tsang), who is secretly in love with Candy, leads them through the usual tourist traps, souvenir shops and bars when suddenly, armed terrorists hijack the bus. Held hostage in the jungle, the terrified tourists are plunged into an unrelenting nightmare.

Portly Hong Kong comedian Eric Tsang routinely switches from lovable comedy roles to more dramatic parts in acclaimed thrillers like The Final Victory (1985) and Infernal Affairs (2002). As a director he has proven a consistently successful comic auteur most notably with the trend-setting Aces Go Places (1981) which spawned five sequels. Fatal Vacation saw Tsang swerve into thriller territory in surprisingly grim and brutal fashion. Directed with great skill, though not subtlety, the film upholds Hong Kong cinema's unfortunate tendency towards xenophobic depictions of other Asian nations. Though a pre-title card stresses events here take place in the years before the revolution that ousted corrupt President Ferdinand Marcos, the film presents the Philippines as a hot-bed of violent unrest with gun battles on the streets and the village dwelling freedom fighters little more than glowering, psychotic animals. With the exception of one female villager who befriends Bud, the terrorists – who include child soldiers among their ranks – rape, steal and kill with no qualms whatsoever. Meanwhile the government prove no more sympathetic and only make an already tense situation worse, driving terrorist leader Sam (the unfortunately-named Spanky Manikan) to start killing tourists, two by two.

However, both Tsang and screenwriter Nam Yin - who penned such celebrated Hong Kong New Wave thrillers as Prison on Fire (1988) and Full Contact (1992) for Ringo Lam as well as Tsang's later crime thriller The Tigers (1991) – spread their bile evenly. Fatal Vacation also satirizes the crass attitude of Hong Kong's media (who ram a camera in the face of Kuang's pregnant wife while she writhes in agony) and the tourists themselves. They range from petty, judgemental, hypocritical middle class types to triad bully boys. Which makes it harder to sympathize with them once the tone darkens, though Tsang underlines the significance of Li proving one of the bravest characters when the others dismissed her as a whore. Tsang can't resist including some surreal black comedy but despite a few instances of unintentional comedy (as when the terrorists force Bud to perform a karaoke version of the film's haunting theme song) the drama packs a pretty powerful punch. The scene where a sobbing Bud is forced to pull the trigger on members of his own tour group in a variation on the Russian Roulette scene in The Deer Hunter (1978) proves effectively upsetting.

Aspects of the film recall Seventies grindhouse classics like Trip with Teacher (1975) and Last House on the Left (1972). As with those movies a band of savages heap abuse, murder, rape and torture until the city folks fight back. Their inevitable escape attempt unfolds in typically idiosyncratic Hong Kong fashion as the triads improvise a Weekend at Bernie's-style walking corpse, grandma hot-wires the bus and Bud, Li and Hua grab hold of some heavy firepower and go all Rambo on their captors' asses. What follows is a gruelling trek through the jungle with breakneck action, kamikaze deaths and explosions galore. Well shot by cinematographer Jingle Ma, who turned director with slick entertainments like Tokyo Raiders (1998) and Mulan (2009), the film also addresses the then-topical issue of Hong Kong's handover to mainland China in 1997, implying that given other countries have worse problems, home will always be home.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 1820 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
Enoch Sneed
  Derrick Smith
Darren Jones


Last Updated: