Sunday, November 6, 2011

“SLEEPWALKER” 夢遊 3D (2011) Hong Kong Movie Review. ANGELICA LEE sleepwalks into a FILM NOIR.


YOU may not be enamored by the PANG BROTHERS’ body of work.

Or you may be irked by this directing duo’s inconsistencies at keeping up with a steady tempo of blockbusters.

It has been a decade since the international success of their horror flick THE EYE.

That was a long trek dated way back from 2002.

To err is human, folks.

You can see that the PANG BROTHERS have been working non-stop, shooting in their homeland, relocating to Hollywood for a bit, and thence back – spreading themselves thin with project upon project.

It’s clear that, after THE EYE, nothing is as close as their initial success.

But one thing you can bet on.

They are not about to throw up their hands and sing their swan song any moment soon.

 On the contrary they are espying bigger things to come.

Show business is a vicious cycle and there’ll be many who are waiting to see them fall.

Yet the PANG BROTHERS is a formidable brand to reckon with, going from strength to strength, whether as a team, or singly as OXIDE or DANNY PANG.

They are statistically, the first to embrace the phenomenal 3D culture because they believe in the doctrine, “the early bird catches the worm”.

As a collaborative brotherly team they churned out their first 3D debut with THE CHILD’S EYE.

Now, as OXIDE PANG, the latest 3D offering comes in the current SLEEPWALKER package, starring his beloved wife ANGELICA LEE.

Yes, you have to give PANG BROTHERS kudos for trying to stay afloat in the ASIAN cinema of screams.

In SLEEPWALKER, they have their creative wings clipped when it comes to the core subject of ghosts and ghouls.

The CHINA MARKET is colossal and money speaks.

And China men swear that they are a timid lot (are they?), who will either faint or die of a heart seizure, if they ever smell a ghost.

Therefore, to appease their mainland China investors and to get a firm footing on the greater China soils, SLEEPWALKER is dressed as a taut albeit terse psychological thriller.

Out with the supernaturalism and gore. In with the spooky elements and hey-presto, you get this piece of psychological thriller.

ANGELICA LEE Lee takes the lead as Yi, a compulsive sleepwalker who may or may not have murdered her ex-husband in one of her nocturnal excursions.

Here’s the dimmed storyline:

 Yi (ANGELICA LEE ) wears a blank stare as she goes about her daily chores as the frustrated owner of a small garment shop.

Over the years, she is tortuosly infested by a repeated dream, in that nightmare, she stands desolate on a wasteland, wandering where the hell life is taking her.

One day, Yi encounters a personable young man, Eric  (LI ZONG HAN), when he patronizes Yi’s garment alteration shop.

 Yi shares with Eric about her anguish from those inexplicable dreams.

On the other end, female Sergeant Au (HUO SI YAN) desperately purses a kidnap-murder case, that of her own nephew.

The ransom has been paid, but the kid’s whereabouts still remains a mystery.

Assailed by grief, Sgt. Au’s sister Peggy (CHARLIE YOUNG) is seemingly going bonkers.

She blames her younger sister for not being able to nail down the culprit.

Back to Yi, her nightmares are getting to be more bizarre. Sometimes she finds her bedside is stained with mud in the morning.

The thought strikes her that she could have walked on that wasteland in the night, and murders someone whilst sleepwalking.

Stripping aside of the elements of horror, SLEEPWALKER is, essentially, a work of film noir.

It preys on the mindset, and centers on the dark-edged story of a forlorn woman who’s torn between her grasp of myth and reality. In her fractured conscience, she struggles to make available of whatever logic that comes her way.

It is in part, an edgy and sensual exploration of the human failing, of long-dormant passions that are best left unfettered.

As with most PANG BROTHERS stories, there are the plot holes but the artistic use of lush imagery depictive of poetry-in-motion lifts it above the gutters.

ANGELICA LEE is a splendid actress and a joy to behold.

She holds her fort in the stoic role of a woman teetering on the brink of breakdown.

Her every move, every nuance convinces us that her fears are for reel as she subconsciously “draws” us into her innermost chain of thoughts.




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