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.
Straight-laced architect Tony (Tony Leung Kar-fai) is infatuated with beautiful co-worker Ellen (Ellen Chan Ar-lun) but cannot get to first base and suffers constant abuse at the hands of her boorish boyfriend, Michael (Michael Chow Man-kin). While inspecting a construction site, Tony is attacked by a ghost and apparently falls to his death. He awakens in a bizarre netherworld and is about to be assaulted again by the same spectre but is saved in the nick of time by the lovely spirit, Chia (Rosamund Kwan Chi-lam). However, in the process, he accidentally breathes into her mouth. Now possessing some of Tony's Yang energy, Chia shares all of his physical and emotional responses. Although Chia proceeds to create havoc at Tony's workplace, he still hopes that she can use her powers to make Ellen fall for him. This, of course, does not go entirely as expected and, to make matters worse, Tony's slimy co-worker, Peter (Peter Lai Bei-tak), is plotting to steal Chia away. However, this backfires when his breath ends up going into the ghost's father (Woo Fung) instead, leaving them connected as well.
From left to right: The back of Rosamund Kwan's head, Tony Leung Kar-fai and Ellen Chan. Image courtesy WA.
Formulaic and far from subtle, ALIEN WIFE still manages to elicit laughs here and there, though some viewers may grow weary of Leung's wild overacting and co-star Cutie Mui Siu-wai's screeching (which seems about an octave higher in this Mandarin dubbed version). Director Teddy Chan Tak-sum (THE ACCIDENTAL SPY) steals one of the best visual gags from BEETLEJUICE but there are some inspired ideas (Chia's father decides to facilitate her unearthly yearnings for Tony by trying to steer the mortal into a fatal car accident, thus leaving him a spirit as well) and the cast is game. Alfred Cheung Kin-ting and Lawrence Cheng Tan-shui have cameos and the end credits include glimpses of scenes that did not make the final cut.