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October 29th, 2001 Issue #80

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.

(1986; Cinema City Company / Long Shong Pictures)

Cover art courtesy WA.

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

Mainland China title:
Cantonese: Tin dei yau ching
Mandarin: Tian di you qing
English: Heaven and Earth Have Romance

Hong Kong title:
Cantonese: Tin ling ling dei ling ling
Mandarin: Tian ling ling di ling ling
English: Heaven Spirits Earth Spirits

In 1980, a crack team of Taoists (garbed like ninjas!) successfully vanquish a mob of ghosts -- except for female demon Pinkish Red, who manages to escape. Six years later, Cici Shin (Charine Chan Kar-ling) and her cousin, Lily Li (Ann Bridgewater), open a boutique and need a mirror for their fitting room. The mall security guard finds one for them in the basement but, naturally, Pinkish Red resides inside it and, when Cici cleans the mirror’s surface, the ghost is able to enter back into the real world. In between flirting with hair stylist Sheng (Mark Cheng Ho-nam) and his goofy sidekick, Rambo (Rambo Tung Wai-kwong), the girls experience a variety of weird occurences, until the ghost snatches Cici and takes her down to Hell. A former classmate of Lily, "paranormal teacher" Kang Yo-wei (played by the film's director, Peter Mak Tai-kit) has invented a machine designed to tap into the brainwaves of the dead. Unfortunately, it also has the unexpected side effect of reviving an entire cemetery full of corpses. Yo-wei's uncle (a cameo by producer Raymond Wong Pak-ming) reveals the reasons behind Pinkish Red's tragic history and the reasons for her current actions but it is up to Lily and company to enter the netherworld and rescue their friend.

From right to left: Ann Bridgewater, Rambo Tung, Peter Mak and Mark Cheng. Image courtesy WA.

This little known horror / comedy is a typical Raymond Wong production in most respects but has a bit more going for it than his HAPPY GHOST series. The film was co-produced with Long Shong Pictures of Taiwan and that apparently resulted in an extra infusion of cash, greatly enhancing the visuals, make-up, atmosphere, and special effects. The humor isn't really any more inspired than usual but ABRACADABRA ends up being amiable and brisk enough to be a pleasant diversion that is more successful, on its comparatively unambitious level, than Mak's tiresomely overproduced version of THE WICKED CITY (1992). Fennie Yuen Kit-ying has an unbilled, running cameo as a zombie bride trying to get Mak (and ended up being accidentally punched in the face by the actor / director in one of the outtakes running under the end credits).

DVD Specs:

WA (Huan Ya Movie Zone) #D-DVD 2939
Dolby Digital 5.1
Dubbed Mandarin Language Track Only
Optional Subtitles In English and Simplified Chinese
8 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips
Letterboxed (1.95:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
85 Minutes
Contains mild violence and horror

DVD menu courtesy WA.

Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice

Not available (but the movie would likely garner a IIA by current HK standards)


The slightly overmatted image is a little soft but always presentable and the source only has minor wear. The 5.1 re-mix adds the usual echo but does no further disservice to the original sound design. The menu pictured on the back of the box promises a trailer, Star Files, and other supplements but the barebones one actually found on the disc looks completely different and offers no extras. The front cover, meanwhile, lists Michelle Yeoh, Cynthia Rothrock, and Corey Yuen, indicating that someone in WA's art department got this movie mixed up with YES, MADAM. In addition, whomever typed out the optional English subtitles must have been working from a cropped video copy of the theatrical version because the words at the end of sentences are sometimes missing their last few letters when there is absolutely no reason for them to be that way.

ABRACADABRA is available at Poker Industries.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000, 2001. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

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