Issue #222a          HOME          E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com        BACK ISSUES                July 26th, 2004

Hong Kong Digital is sponsored by Poker Industries. Please see the Hong Kong Digital home page for a special offer from Poker Industries to Hong Kong Digital readers.

The Park
(2003; Base Production/Hype Films/Menfond Electronic Art/Mega Star Production Ltd)

Cantonese: Jau lok yuen
Mandarin: Zhou le yuan
English: Cursed Amusement Park

RATING: 3/10

REVIEW:

This HK horror thriller will be of passing interest to 3-D fans as it has several sequences in the format. Unfortunately, the anaglyphic 3-D is ineffectual and so is the film, which trots out tired false scares and imagery lifted from previous genre hits. Fourteen years after a little girl fell to her death from the ferris wheel at Fantasy Park, student Alan (Edwin Siu Ching-nam) decides to look around the park's crumbling remains. When the teen fails to return, his sister, Yen (Bobo Chan Man-woon), determines to find him despite the fact that her Taoist mother (Kara Hui Ying-hung, delivering the only laudable performance) believes him to now be dead. Yen and a group of friends head to Fantasy Park but fail to heed a warning given to them by the mongoloid custodian. Soon, their numbers are dwindled by the restless spirits that haunt the grounds, which were once (you guessed it) a cemetery.

  Bobo Chan Man-woon

Directed by the prolific and highly uneven Andrew Lau Wai-leung (INFERNAL AFFAIRS), THE PARK subjects the usual obnoxious teenagers to the usual telegraphed scares (some patterned quite noticeably after the Japanese RING and JU-ON films). Much time and effort was obviously spent on the lighting and production design but, as there is no real tension and no one to care about, even the relentless screaming and computer generated sturm und drang in the second half have a numbing effect. About the only memorable touch here is the use of cameras (both still and digital video models) as a "third eye" allowing the user to see, and even foil, spirits and supernatural phenomenon not otherwise perceptible to humans. Reviews of the theatrical version (which was also in the anaglyphic format) complained that the 3-D (used exclusively during scenes set in the funhouse) didn't work and that is certainly the case here. A single pair of red and blue glasses is included with the disc and a "glasses on/glasses off" icon in the upper left hand corner cues the viewer. Even after frequent monitor adjustment, I could get no more than the slightest depth, and the "comin' at ya" FX (bats, a hopping vampire, skeletal arms, etc) are a complete bust. In fact, with the reds and sharpness jacked way up, the flat portions look virtually identical when viewed with the glasses!

Bobo Chan (left), Tiffany Lee Lung-yee Kara Hui Ying-hung Edwin Siu Ching-nam


PRESENTATION:

The 1.85:1 anamorphic presentation offers bold colors and good detail, and the mostly post-synced Cantonese track (Chinese and Thai performers make up the cast) is loud and energetic enough for the material; a Mandarin dub in 2.0 stereo is also included. An 11 minute "Making Of..." segment offers cast interviews (permanent Traditional subs only) and, while there is no theatrical trailer, we do get ones for a pair of other recent horror films (THE DEATH CURSE and SHIVER). A small photo gallery and bios/filmographies for the director and three of the leads (all of whom are identified as models turned actors) round out the supplements. The keep case comes packaged in a cardboard outer sleeve and both mistakenly identify the DVD as being coded for Region 3 only.

This DVD is available at:

Images in this review courtesy of Intercontinental Video Ltd. To read captions, hover mouse over image.


Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2004. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

DVD Specifications

  • Hong Kong Release
  • NTSC Region 0
  • Universe Laser & Video Co. Ltd #6542
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 & 2.0
  • Mostly post-synced Cantonese and Dubbed Mandarin Language
  • 8 Chapters
  • 16:9 Enhanced (1.85:1)
  • 90 Minutes

Ratings & Consumer Information

  • Quebec: 13+
  • Singapore: PG (cut)
  • * There is no HK rating indicated on the packaging or the disc but IIB seems likely
  • Contains moderate violence and horror

FILM REVIEW RATINGS KEY:

  • 10 A Masterpiece
  • 9 Excellent
  • 8 Highly Recommended
  • 7 Very Good
  • 6 Recommended
  • 5 Marginal Recommendation
  • 4 Not Recommended
  • 3 Poor
  • 2 Definitely Not Recommended
  • 1 Dreadful