Death Net
Universe Films Distribution Co., Ltd.
Cast: Simon Yam, Lam Ka Tung, Lilian Chin, Eric Suen, Helena Law Lan,
Producer: Wynn Lau
Director: Andy Ng
Genre: Thriller
Length: 89 minutes
Category IIB
"Only death can solve problems."
       The world wide web has been fodder for several recent Hong Kong movie plots, though I’m not sure that any of them has been successful in cohesively incorporating the subject into a film. This internet thriller from director Andy Ng (Black Cat in Jail, Operation Billionaires) deals with the popularity of ICQ, chat rooms, and the always timely topic of suicide.
During a routine investigation, officer Ted Chan (Simon Yam) follows some suspects into a building and stumbles onto a suicide in progress on a rooftop, in which a woman (Angela Tong) bathes herself in gasoline and self-ignites.
A succession of even more unexplained suicides occur. Since none of the victims liked to clear their cache, they need only to check their PC to see where they surfed… Hmm… shopping site, Eskimo porn, Leon Lai fan club.. hey, what’s this?!  Death webpage!
Death Net DVD information
Leung Kar Yan, Gabriel Harrison, Angela Tong, Lo Shu Ki
Matrix Productions Company Limited
Sam Po Film Co.
Executive Producer: Rainy Chan
The woman’s distraught husband (Eric Suen in his debut HK film) doesn’t believe she would kill herself as she was expecting their child and had no reason to. But she did like to surf the internet...
Lam Ka Tung
Music: Chan Kwok Leung
Martial Art Director: Chan Wai To
Gabriel Harrison
"Hi... Do you Yahoo?"
Helena Law Lan
They check her computer to see what she clicked to.. Death webpage!
With the “Webpage of the Death” being the one unifying clue in all the suicides, Ted and fellow officer Gi Gi (Lilian Chin) explore the online world and try to figure out who that pesky Webmaster is and why he’s telling people to off themselves. Posing as troubled Hong Kongers, they try to lure him out in the open, yet scenes of the two sitting in front of computer screens, typing into laptops and lurking in chatrooms are not likely to be great cinematic moments. English-speaking audience members will also have to fill in the gaps from untranslated chat room exchanges and cell phone messages.
By the time the identity of the so-called “God of Death”, and his motive, are revealed, it comes as no surprise, and one couldn’t care regardless. To be fair, the filmmakers appear not to have even tried to make this into a real mystery, but then without the suspense it’s a self-defeating affair.
Lilian Chin
The grey, lifeless feel of Death Net can be stifling, with only minor instances of humor coming from Leung Kar Yan as a senior officer and perhaps the appearance of Gabriel Harrison as a creepy web stalker, who claims he only surfs the net “to woo girls.”
Eric Suen
There’s also a pretty meaningless attempt to infer a simmering romance between Ted and Gi Gi (who, for some reason, secretly admires the haggard looking, dispassionate policeman). Lam Ka Tung co-stars as Officer Yip, Ted’s cold, pro-suicide (hint!) superior whose wife took her own life, and Helena Law Lan appears as Gi Gi’s fussy, senile mother.
There’s little for the cast to work with here, even Simon Yam’s role as a nigh-incompetent cop, who hardly even changes outfits throughout the whole movie, is weak. The clearest testament to the film’s poor script is the fact that apparently no one wanted to take credit for writing it.
The opening portion of this flick showed some promise, and it might have made for an interesting story in capable hands, but with flat characters, a depressing subtext about the hopelessness of life, and a stale, ultra-predictable plot, Death Net is nothing to e-mail home about.
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