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Issue #113a HOME E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com BACK ISSUES June 24th, 2002

The Stewardess
(2002; Century Creator Co. / Same Way Production)

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

Cantonese: Fei seung hung je
Mandarin: Fei chang xiong jie
English: Extremely Scary Stewardess

Young screenwriter Ken Ma (Sam Lee Chan-sam) suffers from a recurring nightmare in which a woman in red chases him down a highway and tries to kill him with a plastic toy jet. No matter how many times he experiences this dream, Ken is never able to get a good look at his assailant's face. Usually a washout at picking up girls, Ken hits the mother lode one evening when he successfully beds lovely air hostess Apple (COP SHOP BABES' Lee San-san). His joy turns to dread, however, upon learning that her father is notorious Hing Yee triad boss Dragon (Michael Chan Wai-man, billed in the English credits here as Charlie Chan), who is insanely overprotective of his pride and joy. One evening, Ken encounters Yurei (Seina Kasugai), a beautiful Japanese stewardess who has moved into his building. Weary of being hemmed in by the increasingly domineering Apple, Ken has no trouble allowing himself to be seduced by Yurei. His other half quickly learns of this transgression and Ken finds himself in danger of losing his sai lo to her violent father. A more urgent threat however, is Yurei, who is clearly out of her mind and keeps appearing in Ken's dreams. While investigating the woman's background, he discovers that Yurei actually means "ghost" in Japanese and her subsequent actions certainly fit the bill.

It is common, of course, for HK films to blend many elements together but THE STEWARDESS is one strange cinematic stew. On the one hand, we have parodies of CHUNGKING EXPRESS and the theme from IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, coupled with some lame nightclub high jinx, featuring Wayne Lai Yiu-cheung as Ken's obnoxious buddy. On the other hand, director Sam Leung Tak-sam (who has used Japanese performers in earlier films like COLOR OF PAIN and MANIACAL NIGHT) goes for genuine horror atmosphere and occasionally succeeds (in particular, one extended sequence accompanied only by the faint sound of a wind chime), though he usually cannot resist breaking this mood by injecting some goofy, whirlwind camera movement, splitscreen, or other device. In keeping with this decidedly uneven road, the first half of the picture plods along, while the remainder is filled with spasmodic energy. Kasugai (often done up to resemble the ghostly Sadako from THE RING) has great screen presence, though her main task here is to grin maniacally and chase people, brandishing a plastic model plane with a suspiciously sharp nose cone. While the ending is familiar, it does provide a satisfactory explanation for everything that precedes it and the picture is better made than a lot of HK productions in this price range. Ultimately, Leung's off-kilter creativity ends up being more admirable than annoying and those looking for a few cheap thrills could certainly do worse than this. Lam Suet co-stars as Uncle Fatty, Dragon's chief lieutenant, who is charged with torturing Apple's errant boyfriends.

Cover art courtesy Universe.

Seina Kasugai. Image courtesy Universe.

Lee San-san and Sam Lee.Image courtesy Universe.

Seina Kasugai. Image courtesy Universe.

Universe #6064 (Hong Kong label)

Dolby Digital 2.0

Sync Sound Cantonese and Dubbed Mandarin Language Tracks

Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)

8 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips

Letterboxed (1.80:1)

Coded for ALL Regions

90 Minutes

Contains moderate violence and gore, and mild sexuality

DVD menu courtesy Universe.

Hong Kong: IIB

The image looks good more often than not, though mild artifacting is noticeable from time to time. Location sound recording is rather hollow and the stereo mix is basic but good enough for the material. The original version mixes Cantonese, Japanese, and English, while the Mandarin track drops the Japanese. Extras consist of a trailer (which features the on-screen hyperbole "Is it a horror movie? Is it a cult movie? Is it a comedy? Is everything (sic)"), trailers for PARTNERS and FIGHTING TO SURVIVE, and Star Files for Sam Lee and Sam Leung (the latter provided only in Chinese).

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