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January 8th, 2001 Issue #41

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.

Clean My Name, Mr. Coroner!
(2000; Mei Ah Film Production Co. / Brilliant Idea Group): 5/10

Cover art courtesy Mei Ah.

Gau geung ying ging

Jiu jiang xing jing

Rescue Unyielding Cop

Ti Lung (left) and Francis Ng (right). Image courtesy Mei Ah.

Undercover cop Fred Cheung (Nick Cheung Kar-fai) has been investigating triads for five years but cannot get a break from Captain Lau (Ti Lung), who complains that Fred's tips are too insignificant to be of any real use to the department. When he finally does come up with some solid information about a major counterfeiting ring, Lau refuses to authorize the $HK20 million dollars needed for the attempted bust. Much to his surprise, Fred soon gets the go-ahead from upstairs after all and the operation proceeds as planned...except for the fact his partner Herman absconds with the real cash during the resulting gun battle. On top of that, a headless / handless corpse turns up in Fred's trunk when he is stopped for a routine police check. Accused of murdering Herman and placed on the wanted list when he refuses to turn himself in, Fred desperately travels around the city trying to figure out who framed him. His one hope for redemption is nerdy pathologist Keith Ko (Francis Ng Chun-yu), who examined the body and believes Fred's claim that the victim is not Herman. In order to convince Lau, however, they will have to turn up some more evidence and a masked killer is out to put a stop to that.

Francis Ng. Image courtesy Mei Ah.

A passable entry in the ever-popular "mismatched buddy picture" sub-genre, CLEAN MY NAME, MR. CORONER! isn't especially logical and the banter alternates between genuinely sharp and painfully strained. It is also not entirely the wacky comedy the English title suggests, incorporating some moderate violence and numerous dramatic situations. Writer / director James Yuen Sai-sang (MY LOVING TROUBLE 7) elicits another marvellously offbeat performance from Francis Ng as the prissy, by-the-book coroner and he stages an on-foot chase through downtown traffic in a refreshingly offbeat manner. Those put off by Nick Cheung's obnoxious comic persona will find him just as hard to take here though, in his defence, this approach is what is called for to contrast the timidity displayed by Ng.

Francis Ng, Stephanie Che, and Nick Cheung (left to right). Image courtesy Mei Ah.

Stephanie Che Yuen-yuen (as a bartender who helps Fred and Keith out), Crystal Tin Yui-nei (QUEENIE & KING THE LOVERS), Jerry Lam Hiu-feng, and Wayne Lai Yiu-cheung (as a windbag cab driver) also appear.

Wayne Lai (left) and Nick Cheung (right). Image courtesy Mei Ah.

DVD Specs:

Mei Ah #DVD-361
Dolby Digital (5.1 and 2.1)
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)
9 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Stills
Letterboxed (1.75:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
Category IIB (for mid-range violence and some coarse language)
100 Minutes

DVD menu courtesy Mei Ah.

Mei Ah has provided an adequate presentation of the film with some of their usual flaws in evidence. Edge enhancement causes some backgrounds to look unstable and mild displacement pops up in a few spots. The source material has a couple of light scratches but no serious flaws. The 5.1 tracks have some passable separations but are weak on the lower end and suffer from mild reverb; the 2.1 mono options are more robust but have a limited upper end. Extras include the theatrical trailer, the trailer for IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE (which was not included on the disc for that title), and the usual Data Bank section. There are no time functions.

Stephanie Che Yuen-yuen. Image courtesy Mei Ah.

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

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