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December 18th, 2000 Issue #35

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.

Queenie & King The Lovers
(2000; Universe Films Distribution Company / Times Production): 4/10

Image courtesy Universe.

Q kei luen yan

Q ji lian ren

Q and Kei: Lovers

Note: The title is a play on words on the Cantonese phrase "Q K" meaning "strange" or "weird." Therefore, the title can also mean "Strange Lovers."

Cheung Tat-ming. Image courtesy Universe.

Queenie (Crystal Tin Yui-nei) and King (Cheung Tat-ming) are a HK typical couple, with his long hours at work sometimes interfering with their happiness. Out riding his bike one evening, King is accidentally run off the road by a van and his injuries leave him impotent. Not surprisingly, he tells his wife that she is free to divorce him or see other men but Queenie vows not to let the situation hinder their marriage.

Crystal Tin Yui-nei and Anthony Wong Chau-sang. Image courtesy Universe.

Meanwhile, her friends, Eliza (Gigi Lai Chi) and Lam (Anthony Wong Chau-sang), are going through their own marital crisis and more closely resemble two strangers sharing the same living space. Queenie begins spending more time with handsome squash player Fung (Ken Wong Hap-hei), leading King to suspect that something is going on between them. In actuality, his wife has been sleeping with Lam and, when Eliza begins to suspect that her husband has a concubine, Queenie puts an end to their affair. King has already discovered their dalliance, however, and in a plot turn reminiscent of RUN AND KILL, he drunkenly bemoans his wife's infidelity in a local bar. His triad buddy, Shun (Michael Tse Tin-wah), overhears and decides to take revenge for King but he and his goons beat up Fung by accident. Lam decides to divorce Eliza but she proceeds to slit her wrists and is only saved in the nick of time. While Queenie goes off to spend time by herself in Japan, King comes up with a plan that he thinks will make her happier.

Gigi Lai Chi. Image courtesy Universe.

Capably acted (particularly by Tin and Cheung) and attractively photographed, QUEENIE & KING THE LOVERS is quite watchable but never very involving. The script, by writer/producer/director Tony Leung Hung-wah (yes, ANOTHER Tony Leung), takes serious adult issues and plugs them into overtly melodramatic situations that constantly remind the viewer these are just movie characters and, by definition, impossible to truly identify with. Of course, high drama is a traditional component of HK cinema but it requires a level of proficiency and savoir-faire to succeed and that is not evident in Leung's work here. In fact, by the time the plot creeps towards its all-too-pat conclusion, one is left pondering how such simplistic and obvious answers could take so long to arrive.

Ken Wong Hap-hei and Crystal Tin. Image courtesy Universe.

DVD Specs:

Universe #5408
Dolby Digital Mono (2.0)
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Optional Subtitles In English, Chinese (Traditional or Simplified), and Bahasa (Malaysia)
8 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips
Letterboxed (1.79:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
Category IIB (for nudity, sexual content, and brief violence)
90 Minutes

DVD menu courtesy Universe.

The image is sharp but colors are a bit on the pale side in spots and contrasts are variable. Generally, the presentation is good and the sound is fine (the movie is entirely post-syched). A trailer, trailers for DIAL D FOR DEMONS, HIGH K, and KILLER, and bilingual Star Files on Anthony Wong, Cheung Tat-ming, and Gigi Lai make up the supplementary material.

Gigi Lai Chi. Image courtesy Universe.

Copyright © John Charles 2000, 2001. All Rights Reserved.

Hong Kong Digital is presented in association with Hong Kong Entertainment News In Review