4 September 2014 | OllieSuave-007
Chinese Ghost Story Wannabe.
This movie was released in Hong Kong less than a year after the iconic and fabulous A Chinese Ghost Story. A similar film, this story deals with Taoist monk disciple Shih Erh (Biao Yuen), who takes in a scholar named Tsui Hung-Chuen (Lawrence Ng) and protects him from the demons and spirits that lurk in the woods. However, Tsui encounters and falls in love with a benevolent female ghost named Mo Chiu (Joey Wang), who is confined to the hands of the wicked King Ghost (Elizabeth Lee). Therefore, Tsui hides the ghost in a painting he drew of her.
While it is nice seeing the martial arts action and Joey Wang portraying another beautiful spirit, this is not one of the more exciting ghost/fantasy films I've seen come out of Hong Kong. The plot is very slow and focuses too much on the subplots between Shih Erh being at odds with his master (Ma Wu) and Tsui trying to make ends meet. The ghost scenes play second fiddle in the movie, popping up in and there, and are not emphasized enough, especially the plot device about the ghost hiding in the painting. There is no chemistry between the Tsui and Mo Chiu characters, not much suspense, and a non-captivating villain.
I thought this movie tried too hard to be similar to A Chinese Ghost Story; that film was a masterpiece with attention-grabbing scenes, heartfelt drama and romance, spectacular martial art fights and special effects, and memorable characters. This movie could have had potential as a well assembled case was there, the setting was good, the plot device of the ghost in the painting sounded intriguing and the visuals were breathtaking. However, everything from the acting to the script-writing were just executed half-heartedly and, as a result, what we got was a below average ghost movie.