A severed hand washes up on a beach in Macau. The local cops, led by Inspector Lee (Danny Lee), investigate, eventually leading to the Eight Immortals Restaurant, which is run by the polite and nerdy Wong Chi Hang (Anthony Wong). Mr. Wong cannot provide proof of ownership for the restaurant, which has a really high turnover rate in employees who always seem to leave abruptly. The police soon find that the restaurant once belonged to a family who was nowhere to be found. The cops know something isn't right but they don't have proof of anything. Eventually, they resort to extreme methods to force a confession from Mr. Wong.
What they find is far more disturbing than they could have ever imagined.
Also goes by the following names: Bun Man, The Eight Immortals Restaurant, Human Meat Pies: The Untold Story and Human BBQ Pork Buns. Two loose sequels followed, the first in 1998, and the second in 1999.
This film provides examples of:
- An Arm and a Leg: We are not talking about the prices in Wong's menu, here.
- Asshole Victim: Wong suffers A LOT in the second half of the film, but no one can say it wasn't well-deserved...
- Ax-Crazy: Wong.
- Be a Whore to Get Your Man: Lampshaded and averted. The lone female cop dresses in a slutty fashion in order to impress the men in the precinct. They are impressed but the chief tells her she "looks like a whore". She replies with "But this is the way your girlfriends dress." He quickly responds with "But they are whores, my dear".
- Berserk Button: Wong will chop someone into pieces if they (intend to) tell everyone that he cheated in a Mahjong game; one of the waiters, Cheng and his family learned the hard way.
- Big Bad: Wong Chi-Hang, a Serial Killer who turns his victims into pork buns and feeds them to his customers.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Someone wants to expose you for cheating at mahjong? Better kill his whole family then.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: In more ways than one.
- Faux Affably Evil: Wong acts polite and friendly in order to cover up his crimes and draw suspicion away from himself.
- Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Wong during his days in Macau when he's not in prison and hospital.
- Gorn: It's considered one of the goriest Asian movies.
- Groin Attack:
- A rare female example - a fist full of chopsticks. Ouch!
- A straighter male example during the prison beatdown scene, when Cheng Boon, the lead prisoner, attacks Wong by grabbing his crotch.
- Hate Sink: Wong Chi-hang is a fugitive working at a pork bun restaurant while in hiding. When his boss catches him cheating a mahjong, Wong massacres his entire family and takes the restaurant for himself, disposing of the bodies by making them into pork buns. When one of his employees considers telling him what happened, he rapes her to death with chopsticks. After being arrested, he tries to weasel his way out of trouble by crying police brutality to the press.
- Hero Antagonist: Inspector Lee and the other cops. Though they are Unscrupulous Heroes at best and Nominal Heroes at worst.
- High-Pressure Blood: The meat clever scene, especially.
- Humiliation Conga: Wong, after he's arrested. He's beaten by the cops to force a confession, only to be thrown in jail to be beaten again by prisoners lead by his victim's brother. It's very cathartic.
- I Ate WHAT?!: The scene when the cops realise just what kind of meat was in the buns Mr. Wong served them is darkly humorous.
- I'm a Humanitarian: Wong never actually eats his victims. He leaves it up to his customers and even some of the cops who were investigating him.
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: The cops' methods of getting Wong to talk.
- Jerkass: When he isn't pretending to be a respectable restaurant owner, Wong is obnoxious and rude to almost everyone he meets.
- Man on Fire: A poor guy gets splashed with gasoline and set on fire at the beginning.
- Mood Whiplash: The scenes with the cops at the station are jarringly wacky.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Wong gets hit with a lot of these after he's arrested.
- Nominal Hero: The cops. Most of them (Except for maybe Inspector Lee) seem to be disinterested in justice and are more concerned with finishing work early than anything else and pursue Wong merely because their boss tells them to. They're also incredibly violent and torture Wong in increasingly inhumane ways. Despite their laziness and unethical methods however, they are genuinely disgusted with Wong's brutality and sadism.
- Off with His Head!: It happens to all of his victims but one particularly gruesome example happens to a little girl.
- Potty Failure: During the family massacre, the eldest daughter tries getting away from the carnage and ends up hiding under a table while watching Wong slaughter her entire family. The poor girl wets herself onscreen moments before Wong kills her too.
- The Secret of Long Pork Pies: Wong gets rid of his victims by turning them into pork buns that he feeds to his customers. Really, this guy is a Hong Kong Sweeney Todd.
- The Sociopath: Wong Chi-Hang, who fled China to escape charges of burning a man alive, killed his boss and his entire family to get his restaurant, and kills anybody who upsets him to make them into meat buns.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: The trailer, box cover, and the opening scrawl all claim it was based on true events. The film is based on the Real Life Eight Immortals Restaurant murders. Huang Zhiheng (alternative romanization of Wong Chi Hang) really did murder a family of ten and run their restaurant afterward, and he really did kill a man in Hong Kong before coming to Macau, but there is no evidence that he cannibalized the victims afterward or put their bodies in pork buns, nor did he kill anyone after the massacre of the Zheng family.
- Villain Protagonist: Wong is the protagonist of this story and is an Ax-Crazy Sociopathic Serial Killer who murders and rapes for even the tiniest insult.
- Would Hurt a Child: Wong... very much so.