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November 12th, 2001 Issue #82a

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.

Flyin Dance
(2001; Student Film Productions)

Cover art courtesy Mei Ah.

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

Cantonese: Dai yat chi dik chun mut jip juk
Mandarin: Di yi ci de qing mi jie chu
English: The First Intimate Touch


This Taiwanese production concerns buddies Tai (CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON's Chang Chen) and "Sleazy" Tsai (Jordan Chan Siu-chun), the former handsome and confident, the latter shy and withdrawn. Tsai has been corresponding with Flyindance, an ICQ penpal, and the two eventually decide to meet. Flyindance turns out to be Yang-yang (Ma Qian-shan), a beautiful and introspective young lady, who perfectly offsets Tsai's insecurities and lack of social grace. Tsai is infatuated but Yang-yang has a tragic secret that she will have to reveal to him eventually.

Ma Qian-shan (left) and Jordan Chan (right). Image courtesy Mei Ah.

Ma Qian-shan is quite charming (imagine a more subdued, slightly melancholy Theresa Lee Yee-hung back in her WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD days) and her disarming presence makes this highly predictable love story moderately engrossing. Unfortunately, the English translation is so maddeningly terrible, thoroughly undermining the screenwriter's intent in almost every exchange, one is tempted to not even bother reading the subtitles after a while. Almost equally baffling is the logic behind hiring performers like Jordan Chan and Hsu Chi (who receives star billing for a minor supporting role as a girl Tai longs for, a subplot that never rings true), who possess such unique, instantly recognizable deliveries, and then not having them dub their own voices on either version. The cinematography is adept, providing a number of truly lovely images, and director Chin Guo-chao is able to convey the proper mood in most scenes. However, until a better translated version surfaces (allowing the film more in the way of subtlety and substance), FLYIN DANCE comes across as a routine weepie that barely rates a passing mark.

DVD Specs:

Mei Ah #DVD-436
Dolby Digital 2.1
Cantonese and Mandarin Tracks (both post-synched)
Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)
9 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Stills
Letterboxed (1.84:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
89 Minutes
Contains mature themes

DVD menu courtesy Mei Ah.

Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice

Hong Kong: IIB (though IIA would have been more appropriate)


The print is mostly clean and the image is generally nice. Minor compression flaws pop up from time to time. Both audio tracks are post-synched but the Mandarin version is in stereo which makes it the more satisfying choice. A trailer for the Ralph Fiennes / Liv Tyler film ONEGIN is the only extra. Ma Qian-shan is apparently unknown in HK, as Mei Ah's art department has not even bothered to put her name in the write-up and only included one small picture of the actress. There is no time coding.

FLYIN DANCE 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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