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December 3rd, 2001 Issue #85

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.

Midnight Fly
(2001; Filmko Pictures)

Cover art courtesy Universe.

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

Cantonese: Fong sum ga kei
Mandarin: Huang xin jia ji
English: Alarming Vacation


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.

DVD Specs:

Universe #5768
Dolby Digital 5.1
Sync Sound Cantonese and (Partially) Dubbed Mandarin Language Tracks
Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)
8 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips
Letterboxed (1.90:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
111 Minutes
Contains mature themes, mild violence, and brief drug use

DVD menu courtesy Universe.

Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice

Hong Kong: IIA
Singapore: PG


A movie filled with such resplendent location work requires a good transfer to comes across as effectively on the small screen and Universe has done a fine job for the most part. The image is often on the dark side but that seems in keeping with the tone Cheung strives for in some scenes. Sequences set in bright sunshine boast beautiful hues, and colors are often gorgeously saturated. Save for some noticeable artifacting during a scene that unfolds in a midday haze, the digital compression is competent. The Dolby mix is very crisp and atmospheric, with composer Shigeru Umebayashi's varied score sounding quite dynamic (the Mandarin track presents the Chinese dialogue in that language, as well as all of the exchanges between Mui and Risa). The English subtitles are good and cover all of the dialogue (sometimes correcting the performers' grammar). Two trailers for this film are included, along with spots for HEROES IN LOVE and FIGHTING FOR LOVE, plus the usual Star Files on Mui and Yam.


MIDNIGHT FLY 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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