Shawn Yue, Ekin Cheng, Fiona Xie, Stephanie Che, Lee Wan, Bill Liu / Fiction / Mandarin
Hong Kong Police hunt ghosts on the city’s streets.
Former film critic Kelvin Tong returns to familiar territory here, following his box-office smash The Maid (2005) and the creepy comedy Men in White (2007), with this thrilling and compelling ghost story set around the Hong Kong police force – where the first rule of business is “there are no ghosts". Despite the official denial of their existence, there are deadly demons everywhere. After a brutal attack by a particularly dangerous ghost leaves Lee hospitalised for weeks, he finds himself transferred to the obscure Miscellaneous Affairs Department, where it now falls to him and his hard-drinking new boss Inspector Wong to rid the streets of this evil menace. Opening in spectacular fashion with a frantic chase scene, Rule #1 is immediately engaging. The narrative cuts quickly to classic horror, delivered with intelligence and skill and shot through with writer/director Tong’s astute sense of humour. Inured by too many years fighting ghostly criminals that officially do not exist, Wong is initially cold, unfriendly and unsympathetic towards his new sergeant, but as Lee’s training continues, a strong bond begins to form and soon the two men have forged a durable partnership that will save their lives many times over. As the story progresses and the two policemen become increasingly involved with their murderous foe, the tone takes on a darker hue and they find themselves used as human pawns in a dark and dangerous game of cat and mouse. Starring two of Hong Kong’s most popular and charismatic actors – Ekin Cheng (Claustrophobia, Re-Cycle) as Inspector Wong and Shawn Yue (Diary, Infernal Affairs) as his rookie sidekick Lee – this spooky thriller is slick, smart and stylish. It benefits from an enjoyable and lively rapport between the two lead characters – whose mutual distaste for their work is not the only thing they have in common – and some stunning photography that serves to heighten suspense. An appropriately creepy soundtrack combines with plenty of humour and emotion, keeping the menacing mood buoyant throughout.
#1/ Friday 19 June, 2009 / 19:18 GMTGhosts.
Three things I can't stand.
This wonderfully funny and shockingly terrifying film was worth enduring the witless ramblings of the Festival Pratterati in the back rows for.
In an unreal story.
#2/ Friday 19 June, 2009 / 23:27 GMTsurprised this is only shown once. i'd definitely recommend this if it's back on best of the fest if you like horror films. very scarey in places with some comdey moments in between.
#3/ Saturday 20 June, 2009 / 13:27 GMTLoved this film! I can't say I've seen much Asian cinema but really really really enjoyed this one a lot! Really funny in places, really scary in places, the soundtrack and score used to great effect on that front. I'll be watching some more Asian cinema from now on, not looking forward to the inevitable Hollywood remake of this...
#4 / Saturday 20 June, 2009 / 17:59 GMTThese comments are spot on; I am really glad I went along. Thankfully I was near the front and didn't have to put up with the journos at the back. .. Hollywood would be hard pushed to match the film's style and wit, and would not, I suspect, choose to challenge the audience to an ending that was so sad and shocking.
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