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    April 23, 2011

    MOVIE REVIEW: A CHINESE GHOST STORY

    A CHINESE GHOST STORY (18)

    Genre: Action/Drama/Fantasy/Romance
    Release Date: 21 April 2011
    Running Time: 100 minutes
    Distributor: Golden Screen Cinemas
    Director: Wilson Yip
    Screenplay: Charcoal Tan
    Starring: Louis Koo, Liu Yifei, Yu Shaoqun

    Plot: Following the 1987 horror rom-com classic starring Leslie Cheung and another two movies after that, Wilson Yip directs a new version with Louis Koo and Liu Yi Fei. Yip says he aims to put his own spin on the familiar story and it isn't a sequel, but rather a brand-new story, employing new elements such as CGI effects. Yin Chek Ha (Louis Koo) was determined to become a good Demon Hunter but one day, he made a big mistake when he broke the rules of his Demon Hunter brotherhood. After that, he hides himself in the Black Mountain village. He knows his heart is still with Black Mountain and he tries hard to kill all the demons he encounters to numb himself and forget a woman (Liu Yi Fei). After many years, history repeats itself and he realises he has left his heart with her.

    Review: More than 2 decades ago, Tsui Hark created a wondrous tale about how human and a ghost can actually fall in love, thanks to the great performance by the late Leslie Cheung and Joey Wong. A story based on a popular short classics of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, A Chinese Ghost Story becomes a great metaphysic story that push for challenge in the border of human relationship, as well as the beauty craftmanship in the film. The movie goes on to eventually became a classic cult and revamp how the Hong Kong film industry in regards of treating their horror flick. Today, Ip Man director, Wilson Yip takes the story for a remake and changes a lot of the details of the story. With such a vast differences occurring, how this new remake fair?

    In this modern uptake, the film is based on Louis Koo's role, a taoist and demon hunter Yin Chik-ha. Years back in an attempt to hunt down the Tree Demon at the Black Mountain, he met a beautiful ghost, Nip Siu-sin (Liu Yi Fei) and eventually both of them fell in love. While their love grown fondly, there is a cruel fact that they couldn't ignore. Knowing that it will be impossible for a human to have a relationship with a ghost, the couple decided to give up their love in the most painful manner. Chik-ha made Siu-sin forgets about him, and later headed towards into separate ways.

    One day, a young scholar by the name of Ning Choi-san (Yu Shaoqun) comes to the village to try to resolve the villager's water problem. He reached a temple where the Tree Demon (Kara Hui) sits and Siu-sin attempts to draw his energy for her master. Siu-sin unwillingly to kill Choi-san but disobeys her master, only to realize that she might have fall in love with Choi-san. Yin Chik-ha in the meantime tries to tell Choi-san that Siu-sin is a spirit but their argument only create a massive confusion of their triangular love. What are the fates of such relationship? Will Chik-ha able to free Siu-sin from her master?

    It comes to a little disappointment because the movie is unable to match up the beauty of the original. The story has been altered too much of its extent but I thought the decision to involve more about Chik-ha into the original story has created an effective triangle love dilemma. Still, the movie is unable to generate the much needed emotion and does not stir enough touching moments to relive the nostalgic tale of the 1987. The romance sounds like a superior version of Twilight but ended with a mid-note due to the poor execution from director Wilson Yip. There are plenty of melodrama and mishead story that adds into the already-less intriguing plot. In the end, it comes below my expectation after all.

    Bow down on this new A Chinese Ghost Story with a low expectation, it might still be fun. The lack of emotional and touching elements may not be anyway hurtful since it is already inferior to the 1987 original. Watch to kill your time.

    THE RATING:
    Story: 2.5
    Casts: 3.0
    Cinematography: 3.5
    Effects: 3.5
    GREEN-TEA-O-METER: 11.8
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