Karma-Crossed Lovers Reborn
Crazy Fox | Chicago, IL USA | 05/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a great movie that I never get tired of watching. Supposedly it is a sequel that take place a hundred years after the events of the first two movies, but in reality it is more like the cinematic equivalent of a remix of the first movie (same basic storyline with elaborations, same actress playing the heroine, similar character types, and so on). And like the first one, it manages the great alchemical mix of genres and moods: romantic and creepy, action-packed and humorous, haunting and light-hearted. But it succeeds in upping these a notch. The romantic relationship between the hero and the ghostly heroine is complicated and given tension by his being a monk (monastic vows and all) and by her being less overtly benign. The special effects are way, way, way better (which is partly due to the passage of time, of course), and these contribute to the choreography of the action...the part where the senior monk detects the presence of evil and abruptly shoots up from his meditation seat into the air and starts gliding about doing reconnaissance is totally cool no matter how many times I see it. And to top it all off, even the subtitles are better.
Also intensified are the religious motifs and themes, obviously, and while Buddhism and Taoism come out as more distinct in this version, the manner in which they are both portrayed in the popular imagination is again fascinating and intriguing in its own right. Anyone who studies East Asian Buddhism could find a lot of food for thought here...and have a great time doing so, to boot.
So don't deprive yourself of this wonderful, entertaining adventure. Watch and enjoy!"
Masterful! Tsui Hark and director Tony Ching Sui Tung is ama
A. Trinh | California USA | 08/25/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 3rd installment of the Chinese Ghost Story franchise is the best of them all. I remember watching this as an adolescent and loving it. Watching the first 2 Chinese Ghost stories can heighten the nostalgia factor when you view this 3rd movie. The score and songs are amazing. The late Wong Jing once again penned the words and Jacky Cheung took on the role of main vocals once again like he did in the 2nd movie (Yun Gan Doe). The title song is a magnificent piece of music that sets up the movie for its stunning visuals and storytelling.
Tony Leung Chiew Wai (Sup Fong) gives one of his best performances as a bratty, naive but good-hearted young monk. His other earlier TVB roles such as Heavenly Sword Dragon Saber and Duke of Mount Deer has prepared him well for this role. Following his master on a pilgramage to deliver a golden buddha, they unfortunately get caught up in a slew of mishaps and events. Joey Wong reprises her role as a different female ghost (Siew chuek or Lotus) this time around and gives and emphatic and determined performance - one of her best ones. Her acting has improved quite a bit from the first installment. She delivers subtle undertones of the anguish in which her former human self has endured but is coy about it. Wong and Leung melded their performances well together. Perhaps their roles provide them with much more dramatic substance this time around than the first 2 movies which the characters displayed less potential in delivering interesting situations (i.e. monk and woman, monk and ghost relations).
Jacky Cheung is quite good with his comedic wit and talent. The 3 actors show great chemistry together with playful banter and some slapstick comedy. Nina Li (Mrs. Jet Li for all you trivia fans) plays a great second string to Joey Wong's character as Butterfly. Her jealousy and determination to claim Sup Fong for herself is convincing and not overdone.
The Hong Kong wirework is topnotch even for its time. Smooth flying sequences with Tony Ching's masterful martial arts direction really heightened the movie to another level. This is not the first time Ching and Leung worked together. They've worked on a few TVB series before filming this film.
The story-telling is superb. With Hark and Szeto behind the helm of the story, they worked out many kinks that plagued the 2nd movie. There were some parts that seemed rushed but it was forgivable considering the rest of the story had wonderful character development and back story.
This film is a must-see even if you're not a big fan of chinese and hong kong cinema. After watching this again after a 10 year hiatus, I still get chills on my back from the final sequence. Cinematography and art direction will make you forget you're even watching a movie as you get submerged into this mythical world of demons, ghosts and magic. I recommend watching the first 2 films to get a much more heightened satisfaction from the 3rd. The payoff is much greater. Trust me."