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January 28th, 2002 Issue #93a

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.

Twilight Garden
(2000; Century Creator Co. / Sheen Melody)

Cover art courtesy Universe.

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

Cantonese: Yau guk yeuk wui
Mandarin: You gu yue hui
English: Date In A Tranquil Valley


After inadvertently encouraging a suicidal girl to jump off a building to her death, police officers Chi (Julian Cheung Chi-lam) and Wah (Michael Tse Tin-wah) are transferred to a remote village where no one has committed a crime in over 20 years. Renting a room from the decidely senile Aunt Nun (Helena Law Lan), Chi encounters the woman's beautiful granddaughter, Queenie (Annie Wu Chen-chun), who has just returned after having been away in England for some time. Her arrival is soon followed by that of Wah's harebrained uncle (Tats Lau Yee-tat), who is suffering from an advanced case of vampirism (of the Western variety, hence the dimestore novelty teeth Lau struggles to keep in his mouth). Chi is instantly smitten with Queenie but there is something strange about her relationship with Nun and who is that mysterious gweilo (Jude Poyer) that is always hanging around?

Annie Wu Chen-chun and Julian Cheung Chi-lam. Image courtesy Universe.

Another stiff from the consistently lethal Aman Cheung Man (BODY WEAPON), this aimless, altogether unfunny horror farce tests one's patience with its sub-Wong Jing scatological humor and deadly pacing. The relationship between Annie Wu and Julian Cheung is meant to be starcrossed in the classic sense but is simply mawkish and the director's attempts to jazz up this dismal material (like having one scene play out with the characters' thoughts presented in comic book-style bubbles) fall utterly flat. Even the habitually amusing Tats Lau is annoying here, as is Law's dotty old lady schtick. For once, the Taiwan-born Wu is not dubbed, speaking a combination of Cantonese and English. Lam Suet and Lo Fan have supporting roles.

DVD Specs:

Universe #5484
Dolby Digital 5.1
Sync Sound Cantonese and Dubbed Mandarin Language Tracks
Optional Subtitles In English, Chinese (Traditional or Simplified), and Malaysian
8 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips
Letterboxed (1.81:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
90 Minutes
Contains frequent coarse language and some sexual humor

DVD menu courtesy Universe.

Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice

Hong Kong: IIB
Singapore: PG [Passed With Cuts]


This is a fairly good presentation, though excessive use of digital video noise reduction causes background details to jitter and / or blur at times. The film was obviously originally mixed in mono and the 5.1 revamp provides a little more atmosphere and a couple of inspired separations. Extras consist of a trailer, trailers for A WICKED GHOST II: THE FEAR and DEATHNET.COM, and Star Files on Cheung, Wu, and Law. The running time on the keep case is incorrectly listed as 95 minutes.

TWILIGHT GARDEN is available at Poker Industries.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

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