“A CHINESE GHOST STORY 倩女幽魂” Press Preview
The film business is a vicious circle, a bandwagon and a money game. Art is secondary, so you’ll always have to be on the alert.
To stay afloat is to ensure that your oven is consistently piping hot.
Chasing the commercial albeit aesthetic dream is no easy matter.
Competitions are keen. Everything is like one big elusive race. Once you have attained top position, it’s time to move on, to aim for the “next” best.
Audiences are ever discerning and are never tired of a good thing.
It’s one lesson to digress.
Take Hong Kong director WILSON YIP’s latest offering of “A CHINESE GHOST STORY 倩女幽魂” as a fine example.
It’s a well-worn Chinese folklore told and retold.
From the people who gave us Ip Man and Ip Man 2, this is a fond REMAKE of an old romantic supernatural classic which had been done countless times with different A-list casts and directors.
Expect several layers now: a brand new image, an exciting new story and generous loads of special effects whilst maintaining the pulse, mood and tone of the unforgettable old classic.
For the action junkie, this film will not fail as there are battle fare aplenty amongst men and spirits, with post production rendered from Korea providing an astounding visual feast.
The word “REMAKE” of late, is losing its fundamental meaning.
You take an established title and create characters as close as to the original and everyone would deem you are spawning another “remake”.
What do we have in this new version of the famous old Chinese folklore?
There is LOUIS KOO as Yan Chi Xia, a relentless demon hunter who’s out to kill every demon he can find. And he’s pretty good at his game.
Then we have YU SHAO QUN (as Ning Cai Chen) a young virginal air-head Government official who has a water mission to accomplish in a village right below the Black Mountain.
Both guys meet the beautiful tree demon Nie Xiao Qian played by LIU YI FEI in different story segments and fall in love with her.
So we are bestowed with a ghostly love triangle where bloody mayhem is bound to ignite.
Everything takes center stage in an ancient mountain village.
Spirits and tree monsters dwell on Black Mountain engaging in slaughter and bloodshed. Naturally, the villagers fear to tread anywhere near the mountain.
When Yan Chi Xia (LOUIS KOO) was young, he chose Black Mountain to practice to become a good Demon Hunter. He experienced many duels with demons in Black Mountain.
Until one day he encounters the alluring Nie Xiao Qian (LIU YI FEI), and their doomed-from-the-start relationship takes a beating.
Years later, when the river at the base of Black Mountain dries up, the villagers make the decision to search for a water source on the mountain.
Ning Cai Chen (YU SHAO QUN) a Government official arrives to help with the water project and another flighty romantic legend ensues.
Admirable acting from an all-star cast but of course, this being a follow-up to the original classic, there tend to be an overload of negative criticism comparing the actors from the old to the new film.
Award winning actress KARA HUI pits a fiery performance playing the 1000 year-old crabapple tree demon, one that threatens to upstage the leads. She’s a wonder to behold.
WILSON YIP helms an astonishingly entertaining film with a heart stomping script from CHEUNG TAN.
This is a haunting, part-humorous and shocking martial arts thriller that everyone is going to talk about in the Chinese cinema, one of the better “remakes”.
It's a one man-meets-vixen fantasy that has yet to see an ending.
Because there’ll be more surprises in store, aboard the bandwagon the next time.
Let's save the best for last.