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October 23rd, 2000 Issue #21

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

Un Baiser Vole
(2000; Film Business International): 5/10

Art de couverture courtoisie Delta Mac.
Tau man

Tou wen

Stolen Kiss

Stephen Fung Tak-lun. Courtoisie d'image de Deltamac.

Upon being accepted into university, Stephen Lee (GEN-X COPS' Stephen Fung Tak-lun) decides to leave home and share a flat with his old high school buddy and fellow student, Ben Young. Stephen's conservative girlfriend, Sukie Ng (Crystal Cheung Yi-tung), will barely even let him kiss her, so Stephen is doomed to suffer the frustration of getting nothing, while his flatmate scores repeatedly. Sure enough, on the very first night, the sound of Ben and his girlfriend "fevering" into the wee hours leaves a frustrated Stephen unable to sleep. When he finally does doze off, his dreams are dominated by thoughts of 28 year-old Sophia Chung (Christy Chung Lai-tai), a beauty he saw on campus earlier in the day. Before he can track her down, however, Stephen must endure the seniors' annual humilation ritual and is forced to do 100 push-ups on top of Amy Leung (Natalie Ng Man-yan), who turns out not to be nearly as shy as she initially seemed.

Christy Chung Lai-tai. Courtoisie d'image de Deltamac.

Still on the hunt for Sophia, he is surprised to discover that she is actually his new French Lit lecturer and her no-nonsense approach to teaching makes the woman even more desirable to him. If that were not enough distraction, Amy is constantly throwing herself at him and Stephen is unable to resist her love of having sex in forbidden places. With three women in his life, Stephen has a lot to think about, especially when things begin to turn out in ways he was not expecting.

Natalie Ng Man-yan et Stephen Fung Tak-lun. Courtoisie d'image de Deltamac.

UN BAISER VOLE ("A Kiss Stolen"), from first-time director Grammy Chu Yui-ban, is very much a HK cousin to similarly breezy Continental tales of amore (in a nod to European cinema, there is even a brief intermission at the one hour mark, though the DVD essentially leaves the break out). Like those movies, the relationships here have little basis in reality but there are a few perceptive moments and both the efforts of the cast and the attractive locales help to keep it moderately charming. The most memorable turn is from Natalie Ng (whose vivid performance holds much the same appeal that Charlie Yeung Choi-nei brought to these kinds of playful parts) but Christy Chung does better than expected, becoming more natural and convincing as the film progresses.

Crystal Cheung Yi-tung. Courtoisie d'image de Deltamac.


DVD Specs:

Deltamac #DVD 88010
Dolby Digital Mono (2.0)
Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks
Optional Subtitles in English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)
8 Chapters Illustrated in the Menu With Clips
Letterboxed (1.75:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
Category IIB
96 minutes

Menu de DVD courtoisie Delta Mac.
Whites bloom a little in the opening minutes but the transfer is otherwise sharp and attractive, with minimal wear on the source material. The sound has a fair dimensionality to it but tends to be brittle on the high end, making playback at modest volume the best option. In contrast to companies like Mei Ah, who court overseas markets by having the English information more prominently displayed than the Chinese on their DVDs, Deltamac's packaging has no English at all and neither does the disc's menu. The latter is easy enough to figure out but providing no translation on the outside seems a bit counterproductive for sales. In a touch that will draw sighs of consternation from those who dropped language studies in junior high school, all of the movie's intertitles are presented only in Chinese and French, with no English equivalent in the optional subtitles. Speaking of the subtitles, they suffer from the same problem plaguing Deltamac's DVD for PROSTITUTE KILLERS: whenever a number is mentioned, it comes across as garbled nonsense. There are no extras.

Christy Chung Lai-tai. Courtoisie d'image de Deltamac.

Follow Up: After the initial release of this issue, some readers wrote in asking for information on Natalie Ng and Crystal Cheung, who co-starred in UN BAISER VOLE as two of Stephen Fung's love interests. Ng was a runner-up in the Miss HK 1998 Pageant and is under contract to TVB, while Cheung was a contestant in the Miss HK 1999 Pageant. She apparently didn't make the finals but was picked, along with five other Pageant contestants, to be models for Eric Tsang's SUPER TRIO SHOW in the summer of 1999. She parlayed that experience into a co-hosting job on the HK Cable sex talk call-in show CALL 2430 WHENEVER YOU WANT with Cherry Chan Chiu-Chiu and Bessy Chan Ming-Kwun. From that, she has launched a career in films. Thanks to Sanney Leung for providing this information.

Copyright © John Charles 2000. All Rights Reserved.

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