ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jennifer Upton is an American (non-werewolf) writer/editor in London. She currently works as a ghostwriter of personal memoirs for Story Terrace London and writes for several blogs on topics as diverse as film history, punk rock, women’s issues, and international politics. For links to her work, please visit https://www.jennuptonwriter.com or send her a Tweet @Jennxldn
To understand the intense lead performance in The Untold Story, we must first learn about the performer. Anthony Wong Chau-Sang was born on September 2, 1961, to a Chinese mother and a British father. His father later abandoned the family, leaving Wong the man of the house.
Growing up in Hong Kong with mixed lineage was difficult. His classmates teased him and eventually quit high school. His career as an actor began purely by accident when a friend asked him to accompany him to an audition at the ATV television studio. Ironically, Wong got in and his friend didn’t. He then attended the prestigious Academy of Performing Arts. His film debut appearance was in 1985’s My Name Ain’t Suzie. 1992 would be the turning point in his career when he appeared in two highly recognizable roles opposite Chow Yun-Fat in Ringo Lam’s Full Contact and John Woo’s Hard Boiled. In 1993, he made a big splash (literally and figuratively) with his role as real-life Macau serial killer Wong Chi Hang in The Untold Story. The film justifiably propelled him to stardom in Asia. The performance is exceptional. For his efforts, Wong won the first of many acting awards and would lay the foundation for an exemplary career.
Don’t watch this expecting a re-hash of its contemporary cannibal thriller Silence of the Lambs. Being a Category III film, The Untold Story is a far more painful a film to watch. Wong Chi Hang is far less charismatic than Hannibal Lecter. The viewer often walks the line between hating Hang and actually feeling a bit sorry for him as he withstands beating upon beating at the hands of Macau police. Danny Lee plays the Chief Inspector who shows up with a new woman on his arm in every scene. Rather than being sympathetic like Clarice Starling, he’s almost as loathsome as Chi Hang himself. The realism comes to a crescendo when Anthony Wong vomits noodles for real on cue. Both the actor and director Herman Yau verified this on the audio commentary track of the special edition DVD. A splash indeed.
After days of questioning, Wong Chi Hang finally confesses. He not only killed a lot of people, but he disposed of their remains by grinding them up and using them to make “Human Barbecued Pork Buns” or Cha Siu Bao (a tasty little Dim Sum item made from fluffy dough with a savory BBQ pork filling.)
This film is not for the squeamish by a long shot. The flashback scenes at the end where we get to see what Chi Hang did to his victims are probably some of the most brutal of the ‘90s and include incredibly sadistic acts of sexual violence.
If you can stomach it, it’s definitely worth watching for the great acting and creepy realism. Although many films have now eclipsed it in terms of violence, gorehounds will probably enjoy this Category III classic. Chopsticks will never be the same. Ever.