Movie Reviews

‘Dangerous Liaisons’: A tame affair

By Travis WongMovies - 11 October 2012 7:00 PM

‘Dangerous Liaisons’: A tame affair

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

The stars: Zhang Ziyi, Cecilia Cheung, Jong Dong Gun

The story: A womanizing playboy (Dong Gun) schemes with a wealthy heiress (Cheung) to sleep with a bereaved widow (Zhang), but he ends up falling in love with her.

The buzz: A bunch of big stars in this Korea/China/HK production. says: A Chinese remake of the classic French book about sexual deception by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos, this version lacks much conviction, despite some lavish sets and costumes. 

Playboy Xie tries to seduce the bereaved widow Fei Yun, in order to win a bet with socialite Miss Mo. The role of sexually confident Mo doesn't sit well with Cheung, and neither is Ziyi entirely convincing as the sexually innocent widow.

Oddly, it doesn't take long for Xie, an obvious player who looks like an Asian Clark Gable, to melt through the supposedly do gooder exterior of Fei Yun. Xie's own change of heart from manipulator to manipulated is also head scratching. 

The melodramatic plot twists, set against the backdrop of 1930s Shanghai, often feel forced. The liaisons also lack much sexual excitement, and don't expect much titillation from the leads.

Korean director Hur Jin-ho has done a fine job recreating pre-WWII Shanghai, but there's little else to captivate.

It's a pretty picture, but things never really sizzle in this mostly tepid reimagining of the books, and the chemistry between the actors lacks much-needed heat.

‘Dangerous Liaisons’ opens in theatres 11 October