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April 29th, 2002 Issue #106a

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

Interactive Murders
(2002; Golden Harvest / Linksun International / Gala Film Distribution)

Cover art courtesy Golden Harvest.

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Wu dong saat yan si gin
Mandarin: Hu dong sha ren shi jian
English: Interactive Murder Case


Singer Anna Ching Suet has been kidnapped and a video clip of the captive girl has been uploaded on to the internet for all to see. After five days with no leads, the police are under enormous pressure to crack the case. The perpetrator, who has made no demands thus far, orders via e-mail that Ai Mo (Andy Hui Chi-on) be added to the investigation team. Mo left the force four years earlier, following a gambling scandal, and now works as a bodyguard. However, the evolving mystery quickly lures him back, to the chagrin of team leader Roy (Ken Wong Hap-hei), who feels that his authority is being challenged. Shortly after Mo makes contact with the suspect (who calls himself "Jash"), comedian King Lam-foon is snatched from a bar. Self-proclaimed psychic Shana Yick (Nicola Cheung Sam-yuet) predicted both kidnappings in advance, making her a prime suspect in Mo's eyes. He revises his opinion when Shana's forecasting proves to be dead on but Mo and Roy are still unable to rescue the next victim, Japanese actor Yukie. Jash (Ronald Cheng Chung-kei) warns that time is running out, and forces Mo and policewoman Renee (Irene Santiago Casiano) to participate in his "grand finale," which will be seen by everyone the world over.

Andy Hui and Irene Santiago Casiano. Image courtesy Golden Harvest.
Click here for a still featuring Nicola Cheung (courtesy Golden Harvest)

Director Billy Tang Hin-sing displays his usual visual panache and keeps things moving along at breakneck speed, all the better to help one forget the script's lapses in logic (like some absurdly elaborate e-mail games Jash compels his opponents to participate in). The events of the final third seem disappointingly unimaginative until the film goes off in an unexpected direction that puts the preceding events in a very different light. Screenwriter Felix Chong Man-keung (TOKYO RAIDERS, SHARP GUNS) is not quite able to pull off this sleight of hand but it is certainly a worthy concept and leaves the film with repeat value that it would not have otherwise possessed.

DVD Specs:

Golden Harvest [no catalogue number] (Hong Kong label)
Sync Sound Cantonese (Dolby Digital 5.1 & 1.0) and Dubbed Mandarin (Dolby Digital 5.1 & 1.0)
Language Tracks
Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)
13 Chapters (No menu or insert guide)
Letterboxed (1.77:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
90 Minutes
Contains mild violence

DVD menu courtesy Golden Harvest.

Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice

Hong Kong: IIB
Singapore: PG


After 20 years of licensing their movies to various labels, Golden Harvest has finally started up its own home video division. Unfortunately, it would seem that they still have a ways to go in working out all of the bugs. The image is quite grainy and noisy; patterned objects like ties look unstable and there is aliasing to a degree that one usually sees on VCD. The menu identifies the audio as 2.1 and 5.1 but the former (which represents the original mix) is actually just 1.0. The 5.1 options are "wide mono" but reasonably atmospheric and usually do not stretch the original track beyond its limitations. Extras consist of a trailer and a small cast / character listing. In an odd design decision, no chapter guide is provided.

INTERACTIVE MURDERS is available at Poker Industries.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

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