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|Issue #117||HOME||E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org||BACK ISSUES||July 22nd, 2002|
(1987; Alan and Eric Films)
Definitely Not Recommended
Gam yin chi
Mandarin: Jin yan zi
English: Golden Swallow
One of the first imitations of A CHINESE GHOST STORY to hit theatres, GOLDEN SWALLOW follows that Ching Siu-tung hit closely but has rewards of its own. While travelling across the countryside, scholar Lao Chih-chiu (singer Anthony Wong Yiu-ming) saves a golden sparrow from some children. Unbeknownst to Chih-chiu, the bird transforms into Hsiao-hsueh (Cherie Chung Cho-hung, looped by someone else), a beautiful spirit forced to acquire victims for a powerful, soul-draining demon (played by 60s star, Ivy Ling Po). Hsueh and Chih-chiu fall in love but the demon discovers their affair and tries to kill the scholar. Hsueh saves Chih-chiu's life and the demon agrees to let him live on the condition that he never reveals anything about the spirit world to anyone. Some time later, Chih-chiu encounters Lu Hsiao-ping (also Chung), a young woman who, unbeknownst to him, is actually Hsiao-hsueh. The pair gradually fall in love and marry, with a daughter following soon after. Their happiness is shattered one day when Chih-chiu accidentally breaks his vow of silence, prompting the demon to take Hsiao-hsueh and his child away. His only hope to save them from eternal damnation lies in the hands of the powerful swordsman Fong Ching-tien (Norman Tsui Siu-keung), who fought the creature years before.
As beautifully designed as its model (both the work of celebrated art director Hai Chung-man/Yee Chung-man), GOLDEN SWALLOW is consistently dazzling from a visual standpoint and its plotting corresponds more to the sort of old-school storytelling one associates with the classics of Chinese literature. The costumes, locations, wirework, and special effects are also first rate. The one area where it falls short is the central romance. While attractive, Cherie Chung and the bland Anthony Wong Yiu-ming just do not have the same chemistry that Leslie Cheung and Joey Wang possess in A CHINESE GHOST STORY, so the main dramatic conflict of the narrative does not generate the intended anxiety. In an unusual bit of casting, Eric Tsang Chi-wai (who also produced the picture) and Richard Ng Yiu-hon provide amusing comic relief as rival Taoist swordsmen who are forever arguing over who has the superior abilities. Memorable line: "There's only one type of man...the edible ones." Talented composer Law Wing-fai (DREAM LOVERS) is credited with the music but there are also cues lifted from the Hollywood films NO WAY OUT (Maurice Jarre) and NEAR DARK (Tangerine Dream). Nat Chan Pak-cheung (in a rare, non-comic role) and Chen Jing put in brief appearances.
|Mega Star #MS/DVD/392/HK (Hong
Dolby Digital 5.1
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks (both post-synched)
Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)
9 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Stills
Coded for ALL Regions
93 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)
Contains mild fantasy violence and mild horror
DVD menu courtesy Mega Star.
FILM BOARD RATINGS AND CONSUMER ADVICE
GOLDEN SWALLOW is available at Poker Industries.
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© John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.