The Liquidator is a story about a criminal psychologist (Deng Chao) and a forensic fingerprint expert (Cecilia Liu) who work together to take down a serial killer known as ‘The Light Of The City” (Ethan Juan). Our lead character, Fang Mu discovers the closer he gets to finding the killer, the closer the killer is to him personally.
The first thing I noticed is the set pieces and not only how colorful they were but the detail put into the scenery. Kudos to director Xu Jizhou, because every scene is detailed and unique in its structure, even down to the weather. Jizhou does a good job building up the suspense and telling a solid story behind the motives of the killer. It is both a redemption story and a revenge story making the direction very engaging. Where the story feels overstuffed, however, is the social media aspect of the plot where the killer uses random people on the internet to fulfill his daily deeds, including blowing up a five-block radius, using interactive hits as a trigger, something I’m sure 100,000 people would be accessories to murder to. Xu Jizhou does a good job building the legend of ‘The Light Of The City’ but slowly becomes his own worse enemy as the story progresses. As well as he directs, his writing hurts the film in two ways. First, the story becomes way too convoluted for the sake of making the ending unpredictable. The 3rd act turns into a melodramatic soap opera and the ending is so ridiculous, you refuse to believe that any would okay a plan this complicated. Secondly, The Liquidator stretches on about 20 minutes longer than it should have. You can literally pinpoint where the film should have ended and they just decide to keep going dragging down the overall rating of the movie.
The Liquidator is a mixed bag of goods, a film that may be deemed too sensitive for the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is actually best enjoyed at home if it ever makes it to Netflix.
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