User Reviews (14)

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  • "Koma" is a wonderful thriller that is as intense as they come.The two leading ladies are not only stunningly beautiful,but extremely talented as well.Karena Lam of "Inner Senses" fame stars as Ling,a young woman who may be the kidney thief.Angelica Lee plays Ching,a frail woman who suffers from renal failure.She becomes a witness of kidney stealing and Ling may be involved into it.It quickly turns out that Ling had an affair with Wai,Ching's boyfriend.Ling gets cleared of the kidney thefts by the police and she starts to harass Ling."Koma" is filled with enough surprising twists to satisfy fans of suspenseful mysteries.The direction by Law Chi-Leung is flawless,the cinematography is astounding and the script is fresh and original.The film is stylish and offers plenty of mood and nail-biting tension,so I wasn't disappointed.Give it a look.10 out of 10.
  • This Hong Kong production takes the old urban legend of a person waking up in a bathtub of ice with their kidney removed and spins it into a pretty solid and very well photographed thriller. Angelica (The Eye) Lee stars as a frail woman who gets caught up in the situation when she witnesses Karena Lam in the vicinity of a kidney theft that occurs at a hotel where she was attending a wedding. Several interesting (but predictable) plot twists are thrown in quite frequently. The musical score by Chan Kwong-Wing is very strong and most of the time punctuates the jumps well. The sound design helped to give "Koma" several scenes of creepiness. The photography was very strong with a lot of wonderfully lit scenes. The script is a step above what you usually see for a slasher type film with acting being a very strong component of the film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    • Koma starts with a bang - an unknown girl awakens in a tub full of ice. Written on the wall above her head, she reads the words "Call the police or you'll die". As she steps from the tub, there is an obvious pain in her side. When she examines the area with her hand, she discovers that she is bleeding from a 9 inch gash. What's not so obvious is that one of her kidneys has been stolen.

    • Unfortunately, the movie has trouble maintaining the momentum of the fantastic start. Koma quickly becomes an all too familiar thriller. Plot points and twists become so obvious they slap you in the face. It's too easy to see where the story is headed.

    • Don't misunderstand, I enjoyed the movie quite a bit. Like several of the other recent Asian films I've seen, Koma is very well made. The cinematography, set design, art direction, and most every other technical aspect is near flawless. And, while much of the story is predictable, I still found a lot of entertainment and I never found myself getting bored. Instead, I was looking forward to what was coming next. But Koma's biggest asset is the cast. The two female leads are exceptional. Both looked and played their parts to perfection. So, I wasn't at all surprised to read that Karena Lam received a Hong Kong Film Award nomination for her work in Koma. I'm just surprised she didn't win.

    • Finally, Koma taught me a lesson that I've passed on to my wife - If you're going to get into an Axe vs. Scalpel fight, wear sensible shoes.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Such great cast for this movie, the plot was well pace and well thought out. Though sometimes not amusing (the rich-poor thing i have heard enough), the movie was overall not bad. Karena Lam and Angelica Lee are one of the few brightest stars in the Hong Kong entertainment. This movie revolves around a maniac who kidnaps people (mostly woman) and steals their kidney. Well Angelica was one of the few people who saw the suspect and surely think it was Karena Lam. To complicate the story, Angelica is having sexual problem and is dating Andy Hui. Who happen to have a one night stand and old classmate of his Karena Lam. The police quickly thought Angelica was jealous that his boy slept with this woman and release Karena.

    The acting in here was really good and believable. Beside of their good looks they know how to look crazy and serious when needed. This movie is suspenseful at time but not overly scary; for the most part the storyline was very well done. I ending twist I would have never thought which was brilliant, though they never tell us what happen to Andy Hui. I also like how they handle the 3 way love triangle, from the start to the end there feeling for each other has never change which I thought was very realistic. I think Karena did a better acting job than Angelica, so if this is HK movie time they better nominate her.

    Not a pure horror film like you see in Hollywood, contain an interesting plot (rarely seen in horror film now-a-day) and a great ending. Totally recommend this film.
  • MaximumMadness28 July 2005
    Traditionally, Asian films have been sticking more to the classic horror styles and elements. What I'm saying is that in general, they are deeper, more frightening, and overall much better than American horror films. But I found something odd about "Koma." It seemed to be a combination of a slasher film, a psychological horror film, and a family drama. True, this has worked before, in much better films such as "The Silence of the Lambs", but there is something different about "Koma." It almost seems as if the filmmakers wanted to make an "American slasher flick" rather than an "Asian horror film", and to be blunt, they found something in-between.

    It is hard not to notice some American influence in the film. There are several shots ripped straight out of "Fight Club" and "The Evil Dead", and the musical score is taken directly from M. Night Shyamalan's "Signs" (Though it is a computerized version of the music, not the original studio recording), with only minimal original music.

    But still, it manages to tell a rather absorbing (If not genre-confused) story about friendship, betrayal, and redemption, all revolving around the idea of kidney-theft. (Yum!) Unfortunately, the movie is only 88 minutes long, and all of the interesting ideas are condensed into lesser versions of what they could be. Perhaps if the movie was longer, and took more time to explore it's characters and stories, it would have been better. Hey, it might have even become a modern classic... But because of uneven direction (Zooming cameras and quick cutting in the beginning become long, steady shots as the movie progresses) and a compressed story, what we get is marginal.

    Sure it is memorable, but that is only because of it's odd vagueness in what it wants to be, transforming it into a mish-mash "referential" horror film. Overall, even though it is only "pretty good", and there are much better films out there, but be sure to at least give this one a shot, you might like it.
  • lost-in-limbo22 December 2007
    The urban myth in this modern Honk Kong thriller simply makes my skin crawl, and the film effectively pulls you along for an unnervingly captivating ride. However this dark concept is only a stepping tool for the premise to move along, then to focus upon it. Susan Chan's well-oiled story keeps the tempo tight, is held together by a strongly stimulating script and constantly stays busy with its cat-and-mouse layout. These do make up for the predictability of the film's material, and a silly surprise towards the end. Like the other user-comments have mentioned, the many twists that the framework throws up are pretty much foreseeable and some quite questionable, but director Chi-Leung Law still manages to competently construct slabs of unbearable psychological tension and grisly violence that teases the viewer. His direction might be economically executed, but he crafts out a stylishly bold and at times visual feast of perfect timing within his suffocating set-pieces. Going a long way to cementing a creepy atmosphere of despair, and uncertainty is that of a beautifully layered music score, which always packed a sudden sting and the sublime staging of Chi Ying Chan's crisp, moody cinematography. What really is the key of the success are the magnificently flawless lead performances of Angelica Lee and especially Karena Lam. Both bring humane, provocative turns that are truly convincing, and moving in every detail and the hazy relationship between the two characters is truly a complicated web. A very well made and professionally acted film, where from the get-go its faults seem immensely minor to disrupt a very entertaining, worthwhile story.
  • Never knowing which twist is coming next, Koma keeps viewers on their toes the entire film. As both leading ladies are living a life lacking that which they truly desire, only to discover it in the other, the develop a friendship in each other that has a cliff dive at every turn. The film keeps excellent pace, while keeping you guessing throughout, with an ending that makes you keep thinking of the characters after it's over. Who really won? Did anyone? Did everyone?
  • Surprisingly pedestrian rendition of an premise handled far better in Stephen Frears "Dirty Pretty Things". Don't be misled either into thinking its a 'horror' film has it seems to have far more in common with the sexual revenge and contamination fears of 1980s classic Fatal Attraction. Indeed a boiled bunny might have made for a passing distraction more pleasant than the 88 minutes of increasingly grudging attention I was forced to expend on this hack work.

    One can see why a combination of plastic oriental exoticism and hitchcock/ shining pastiches would appeal to fans of contemporary throw away horror, such as 'Saw' for example, but plastic characters, a dull visual palette and plotting mean there's little to warrant recommending it over any episode of CSI. Which is a poor recommendation indeed.
  • crossbow010621 September 2008
    A tense psychological thriller with horror overtones, this film stars Lee Sinje as Ching, a successful woman with kidney problems and Karena Lam as Ling, a healthy lady who resents Ching because she is successful. Ching is dating Wai and, it turns out since they can't be intimate due to Ching's problem, Wai is cheating on her with Ling. If that was all there was to it, it would be enough, but the film is also about someone who cuts kidneys out of people so they can be sold on the black market. Ching thinks Ling is behind it. However, before Ching leans about Wai and Ling, she tries to befriend Ling, since both of them are kind of lonely. The pairing of Ms. Lee and Ms. Lam is superb. Any scene they are in together elevates the film. I think the fact that they became friends during the production (they both said so on the Making Of featurette on the DVD) makes their acting together much more natural and interesting. Ms. Lee has become a very good actress over time and she gets to stretch a bit, gasping in terror and surmising the goings on (or, think she has) admirably. Likewise, Ms. Lam is very good. The other carriers are minor, this is Sinje and Karena's film. I recommend it to anyone who likes tense thrillers. Since its about the cutting out of kidneys, it can get bloody, but its not really a horror film, so that makes it better. I'd like to see these two ladies reunite for another film. They work very well together. Watch this.
  • I found this movie to be very entertaining with lots of wonderful surprises. There were lots of unexpected and entertaining moments in this film. This film deals very well with themes of friendship, mystery and love. The ending was very touching and unexpected. Though the action may not be as good as some of the Jacky Chan movies, this movie has a great storyline. The cinematography of the film was well made. The acting was extremely fantastic, especially the acting of Karena Lam. This movie has wonderful mystery elements as well. This movie even contains some horror elements in it though it was supposed to be a physcological thriller, there were some jumpy scenes. However, there are still some minor flaws in this film. I thought the middle portion of this film where the relationship of the two girls were being bulid up was quite draggy. It would be good if they have shorten that up a bit. This movie contains a lot of action, and well paced overall. This movie is a rather original one because it deals with kidneys. This movie is highly recommended. What I actually like most about this movie is the ending. The ending was very well done due to the built up of the film. The ending was though, predictable, a very touching ending indeed. The ending for this movie is very satisfying for me unlike the one in diary. The ending shows a great relationship between the main characters. A lot of credit was given to the ending for me. Hence, I will give this movie a high score of 9/10.
  • I was not sure what to expect going into this one. I adore Angelica Lee, so it was worth it, even if it were to be garbage. The premise is pretty simple and setups up the movie - Kidney thief on the loose, whose next? Or so you think. The movie goes much deeper than that. One could almost cut all that out (forgive the pun) and substitute other problems and the movie would still stand. Other than a few curses a friend taught me in college, I don't speak or understand Chinese, however the writing (if the subtitles are accurate) and the emotion in the delivery make you really feel for Ling and Ching. I think I felt more empathy for them than half the English movies I've seen lately.

    There is nothing supernatural in this movie and it is very believable, which actually makes it a little scarier. There are a couple scenes where they try to make you jump, but you can see those coming from a mile away. Some of the plot twists were pretty transparent, however, some were unseen. It is not a convoluted or hard to follow story at all. But the acting and direction more than make up for any implied simpleness of the plot.

    Really, it is that decent of a film.
  • Warning: Spoilers

    Two years ago, Karena Lam Kar-Yan and Angelica Lee Sin-je established themselves as credible thriller actresses in Inner Senses (Yee Do Hung Gaan) and The Eye (Jian Gui) respectively. The former is a psychological thriller, and the latter a ghost story. Their talents are not limited to thrillers, as they have convincingly demonstrated in their many other works, particularly in the case of Lam. It is interesting though to see them brought together, in another thriller.

    Koma is not a ghost story, and not even a psychological yarn to the extent that Inner Senses is. It is a variation of the familiar rich girl/poor girl tale set in the traditional mystery thriller genre. Lam is the poor girl, bitter, manipulating, reckless. Lee is the rich girl, whose good fortune is marred by health problems. The story revolves around these two girls, the relationship that develops between them, and the eternal triangle they are entangled in.

    While the plot is far from being flawless and generally predictable, it's reasonably coherent. The script is decent, well paced between story telling and tension building. A strange thought I had however is on a message that I'm sure is absolutely unintentional: don't report a crime to a police but instead be a beneficiary, and you'll probably live happily ever after.

    The highlight of the movie has to be the two young ladies, who take this movie a notch above what it would have otherwise been. In a radio interview, they talked about how they, knowing each other only by fame but not in person before, had to quickly develop a rapport during the filming of this tension-filled movie. These two are unquestionably the best Cantonese speaking (they're actually even better in Mandarin) actresses among their peers. To watch their acting individually is a treat. To watch them act together, one truly appreciates the synergy.

    One last thought. In recent years, Hollywood seems to like buying Asian scripts for adaptation. The Ring is the best example, an adaptation from box office smashing Japanese horror Ringu. I believe they have also bought Korea's My Sassy Girl and Hong Kong's Infernal Affair. Would they consider this one? If they do, casting will be interesting. I would venture to suggest Christina Ricci and Alison Lohman, for Lee's and Lam's roles respectively.
  • KOMA (dir. Chi-Leung Law -- 2005) starts off with a classic urban legend of a person waking up in a ice filled bath tub with an organ surgically removed. As the movie progresses, however, the audience is lead into a carefully crafted suspense thriller, reminiscent of Hitchcock and De Palma.

    The protagonist is a wealthy woman, Chi Ching (Angelica Lee - The Eye), who is suffering from renal failure, and is waiting for a kidney donation. Unfortunately, Ching has a rare blood type making a match difficult. She eventually befriends a woman, Suen Ling (Kar Yan "Karena" Lam - Heroic Duo), who is jealous of Ching's wealth and love life, and has several dark secrets, none of which I will give away at this time. All this is happening while a serial killer is going around stealing kidneys from woman.

    KOMA has one twist after another without falling into the cliché of coincidence. Every twist in the movie occurs because of the choices each character makes rather than due to outside forces, culminating in a great twist ending.

    Although shot in a style that is very reminiscent of DePalma, the themes are very "Asian", especially the friendship that builds between Ching and Ling. I don't really understand the "We'll-be- friends/sisters-forever" type themes rampant in Asian films centered around Asian woman. Seems childish to me. Perhaps something is lost in the translation. Perhaps it's because I'm just a guy. Maybe both? The screenwriter is a woman by the way: Susan Chan. She also wrote the script for Jackie Chan's Who Am I?

    The other downside of the film is that I don't know why it's called KOMA.

    It is, however, refreshing to see a suspense film come out of Asia that doesn't revolve around killer Harajuku girls, or ghosts coming out of a television set. It's fairly impressive for an Asian suspense film.

    The films is rated "R" for brief nudity, violence and gore (blood).

    Great suspense, story and cinematography, but very poor on dialog.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I saw this film on cable in a hotel room while I was in Taiwan. It had subtitles in both Traditional Chinese and English. The ads for this film made it look like it was going to be a horror film in the Japanese style that is so popular nowadays. It turned out to be a stylish and slick thriller instead. The production values were quite high, and the plot was interesting enough to keep one's attention. Basically, the plot has been expanded from the common urban myth about waking up in a bathtub full of ice cubes, with one's kidney removed. (Well, I hope it's an urban myth!) I would certainly recommend this film. Well acted and entertaining.