Ning Tsai-Shen, a humble tax collector, arrives in a small town to carry out his work. Unsurprisingly, no-one is willing to give him shelter for the night, so he ends up spending the night ...
See full summary »
In this installment of a phenomenal saga of the super natural, four young people are caught in a tug-o-war of evil between an Imperial Wizard and a corrupt General. Outrageous special ... See full summary »
Basically a retread of the first movie, in which the evil Tree Spirit is back with yet another ghost played by Joey Wong. The Swordsman Yen and Leslie Cheung characters are replaced by a ... See full summary »
Tax collector Ning, a clumsy and easily frightened man, doesn't have any money and decides to stay overnight in an abandoned temple. Little does he know that the temple is haunted. He meets... See full summary »
When a scroll containing valuable martial arts secrets is stolen from the Emperor, an army detachment is sent to recover it. Blademaster, a young martial arts expert, accidentally ends up ... See full summary »
A royal official accompanies a Portuguese warship to the Black Cliffs to see the site of the defeat of the evil Invincible Asia, who attained supernatural abilities by following the sacred ... See full summary »
This big hit at the Sundance Film Festival had audiences cheering. Set during the Ming Dynasty, this acclaimed production tells the story of a power hungry eunuch who employs an evil sect ... See full summary »
Fleur is the blue angel in one of Hong Kong's "flower houses" - bordellos and night clubs of the 1930's. A detached and beautiful performer, she falls in love with Twelfth Master Chan, heir... See full summary »
A parody of Louis Cha's novel The Eagle Shooting Heroes (thats the literal translation). Story begins with the Queen of Golden Wheel Kingdom had an affair with her cousin West Poison, and ... See full summary »
With an entirely new set of actors, this movie continues the story from Swordsman (1990). Blademaster and his martial arts school decide to retire to a distant mountain. Before leaving, he ... See full summary »
The sensitive swordsman Cho Yi-Hang is tired of his life. He is the unwilling successor to the Wu-Tang clan throne and the unsure commander of the clan's forces in a war against foreign ... See full summary »
Francis Chun-Yu Ng
Ning Tsai-Shen, a humble tax collector, arrives in a small town to carry out his work. Unsurprisingly, no-one is willing to give him shelter for the night, so he ends up spending the night in the haunted Lan Ro temple. There, he meets Taoist Swordsman Yen Che-Hsia, who warns him to stay out of trouble, and the beautiful Nieh Hsiao-Tsing, with whom he falls in love. Unfortunately, Hsiao-Tsing is a ghost, bound for all eternity by a hideous tree spirit with an incredibly long tongue that wraps itself round its victims and sucks out their life essence (or 'yang element')... Written by
Michael Brooke <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I first saw this film when it was transmitted around 1988 by the BBC when I was working on UK's 2000AD. My pal Steve Parkhouse recorded it on VHS and sent it to me. Up till this point, I'd really only seen the Shaw Bros kung fu movies, with their harsh lighting (so audience could see the moves clearly), so it was a revelation to me to see something that looked like it had been lit by Ridley Scott coming out of Hong Kong. This was also my first exposure to the movies of Tsui Hark (pronounced, apparently, "Choy Huk").
Yet for all the smoky, back-lit exteriors and ambitious special effects (Stop-motion? In a Hong Kong Movie?) at the heart of Chinese GHOST STORY lies a simple and moving love story, made all the more real by the outstanding acting talent of Leslie Cheung (what a tragic, tragic waste of a life!) and the beauty and elegance of Joey Wong. Granted Joey is gorgeous, but it's her balletic hand gestures that give her character an unattainable eroticism that's hard to analyse. And though Joey is now almost 20 years older (gawd, which of us isn't?) this will always be the enduring image of that actress.
Some reviewers here have said that the film is simplistic and lacks any surprises, but they're missing the fact that this movie was based on a famous Chinese story written by Pu Songling around 1700! That's a bit like complaining that Romeo and Juliet has a predictable ending and just copies WEST SIDE STORY.
For me, Chinese GHOST STORY is the quintessential romantic tale. It has high tragedy, because we know that Chio Sin and Sin Seen can never be together. It's about becoming mature, for none of us can mature until we've experienced great loss. It's about sacrifice, for sacrifice is an essential component of True Love. And the comedy stylings of Wu Ma don't hurt a bit, either.
Enjoy Chinese GHOST STORY by trying not to view it through a filter of Western culture and you'll get on with it just fine.
29 of 31 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?