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October 29th, 2001 Issue #80a

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.

Alien Wife
also known in English as Pretty Ghost
(1991; Golden Harvest / Paragon Films)

Cover art courtesy WA.

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

Mainland China title:
Cantonese: Yum yeung lo
Mandarin: Yin yang lu
English: Yin Yang Road

Hong Kong title:
Cantonese: Ngo lo po ng hai yan
Mandarin: Wo lao po wu xi ren
English: My Wife Is Not A Person

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.

DVD Specs:

WA (Huan Ya Movie Zone) #D-DVD 2340
Dolby Digital 5.1
Dubbed Mandarin Language Track Only
Permanent Subtitles In English and Traditional Chinese
8 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips
Letterboxed (1.83:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
94 Minutes (at 25 frames-per-second)
Contains mild horror and comedic violence

DVD menu courtesy WA.

Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice

Australia: PG (Low Level Coarse Language)
British Columbia: M (Occasional Violence)
Ontario: PG (Mature Theme)
Singapore: PG


There is intermittent wear and a minute or so of jitter but the image is sharp and attractive throughout. The sound features the usual echo chamber 5.1 but has no serious problems. The DVD comes in the plastic Super Jewel Case packaging used in America by the Slingshot label. There is no English title on the case, while the movie is identified onscreen under its alternate English handle, PRETTY GHOST. For those preferring to view the movie in Cantonese, Mega Star offers this on VCD as PRETTY GHOST. As the DVD was mastered from a print carrying the theatrical subtitles, the two discs may well share the same transfer.

ALIEN WIFE 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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