Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
This is a difficult film to review, as when I say it is a film of two parts, it really is. The first part directed by Wong Jing is borderline crap, while Patrick Kong improves on this and delivers a worthy addition to 2011 Hong Kong cinema. Such is the fall of Wong Jing, but at least he makes Kong looks like a genius at work. The problem of the first film is that it tries hard to build suspense, but the result is far too unbelievable to have an impact on the audience. Apart from the cliché toilet scene, the film is rather stale, the scares are far and between and Jenifer Tse is not ready for acting. Adding all these negative elements and using tried and used principles of haunted classrooms and students; we can all but confirm that Mr. Jing is out of ideas and probably out of his mind.
Moving on the better segment comes, "Travel" from everyone's favourite cynical director on modern romance, Mr. Patrick Kong. Kong have ventured into the ghost/horror genre before in Forgive and Forget (2008), but that was not particular any indication of success. Understanding this is not his forte, Kong goes smarter by presenting a horror comedy rather than an outright suspenseful thriller. The effect is sound and familiar as he uses his muse (Stephy Tang in a scene stealing tiny role), his ball player in Chrissie Chau and the muscles of Him Law. In many ways, Kong works better in a 45 minute segment than a full movie, as he does not have time to waste some space with silly music video or even prolonged flashbacks. The result is a fun 2nd segment that pokes fun at HK entertainment circle, TVB, ATV and numerous other gags. One thing I do not understand is why do everyone depose of dead bodies in a water drain of their own home? One, they will probably end up dying from drinking from infected water or two, they will be discovered anyway.
All in all, Kong redeems Wong in this Ghostly encounter and probably wins heads on by a quick mile. It is disappointing to see Jing continues to fall, but then again it is a pleasant surprise to see Kong do well. Still, despite the uneven start, Hong Kong Ghost Stories scores with the audience in the second segment and as the cliché goes it ends better than it starts
Neo rates it 6.5/10
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