Saturday, June 21, 2008

All-In-One Movie

A few years ago, a bunch of us reviewers excitedly attended the press preview of The Legend Of Zu. Previously we'd seen Tsui Hark's Time And Tide and was duly impressed with the interesting story and nice action. But after just a few minutes of Zu, our jaws dropped; we were simply flabbergasted by the complete incoherence of the story and the extremely messy, overdone action sequences. By the end of the movie we were really wondering what the heck it was that we'd just witnessed.

Like I'd said previously, Tsui Hark is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get. When it's all good, you get neat little surprises. When it's bad, you get stuff like The Legend Of Zu. And Missing.

Angelica Lee Sin-jie seems to have been lifted right out of The Eye for this movie. She just simply has to do more of the same for Missing, which also emulates some of the Pang brothers' camerawork. There's also a scene with a ghost in a lift - which, to Tsui Hark's credit, actually works quite well because of the incredible restraint shown, quite the opposite of The Eye's.

But like in Zu, Tsui Hark seems to be throwing in ideas just because he can, to the extent that the movie becomes a complete mess. Instead of a steady mash-up, it's more like the mess you get when you use the blender without putting on the cover first. There's romance, horror, crime, psychological drama, ghosts, ancient underwater cities, headless bodies, archaeological tablets, madmen who see dead people, possessed fish (no, I'm not kidding!), etc. If only there was a coherent story to hold them all together. Ringo Lam attempted the same with Victim, and successfully pulled off a movie that has psychological drama, a haunted house and even a heist.

The biggest problem with Missing is that a large part of it, which is made up of a horror story, is also largely redundant. It's hard to explain without giving away too much, but suffice it to say, the twist towards the end renders everything that went on before null and void. This could have been just a nice psychological romantic thriller, and I have absolutely no idea why Tsui Hark felt the need to have ghosts.

Absolutely baffling.

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