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.
Her marriage faltering, Michele To (Anita Mui Yim-fong) travels to the South of France for a vacation. While on a bus tour, she meets Miki Harada (Japanese TV star Junna Risa), a somewhat flighty model, and the two gradually become friends. Miki is in love with a married man, who seems in no hurry to leave his wife, and the two women comfort one another during the days and nights ahead. After the tour ends, they travel to Morocco, where Miki reveals that she is pregnant. Further discussion leads Michele to the realization that the man Miki fancies is actually her husband, Tong (Simon Yam Tat-wah). While wandering alone one day, Miki is kidnapped, repeatedly injected with heroin, and eventually forced into prostitution. Unable to find her friend and now out of money, Michele alerts Tong, who flies to Morocco. After a period of searching, he convinces Michele that they have done all they can do and should return home. She, however, goes off alone, seeking help from a less-than-trustworthy Chinese tour guide (Shaun Tam Chun-yin).
Anita Mui Yim-fong. Image courtesy Universe.
Directed by Jacob Cheung Chi-leung (CAGEMAN, LOVER'S TEAR), MIDNIGHT FLY moves at a deliberate pace but remains consistently engrossing. The plot is not really all that different from a 1940s melodrama but the strength of the film lies in the atmosphere Cheung and cinematographer Wong Ping-hung (TO LIV(E), JOURNEY TO BEIJING) create and some commendable work by the two female leads. Although they do not always emphasize the right words or pause in the right spots, Mui and Risa generally do well with the extensive English dialogue and Mui is quite good at imparting the all-encompassing sense of despair her character sometimes feels. The English title refers to a perfume that Miki likes to wear.