Finale in Blood
Hong Kong 1993
Directed by Fruit Chan.


A radio announcer (Lawrence Cheng) finds an umbrella that contains the spirit of a dead girl (Ruth Winona Tao). Not quite what I expected from the title. He gets the spirit on the air where she tells her love story, how she fell in love with a cop (David Wu) and got married, but he kept shagging a hot prostitute (Chikako Aoyama) on the side anyway. Eventually, they cause her death. When they hear the story on the radio they are none too pleased, and soon they are after the poor radio host to make sure he stops talking. While the movie is passably interesting, the long awaited finale is less in blood and more in slapstick, a ridiculous ending that sucks the last remaining goodwill from the audience. Like ROUGE, only much, much worse. A brief cameo by Tony Leung Ka-fei just serves to underscore how boring and uncharismatic the male leads are. The women prop up the film as best they can, Ruth Winona Tao is likable and a strong performer in individual scenes, though her character as a whole never quite adds up. Still, I'd like to see more of her so it's sad that she only made a couple more films before disappearing from the industry. Chikako Aoyama fulfills the obligatory Japanese import role and handles the nude scenes, and her portrayal of the "other woman," rather than being entirely cruel, is fairly nuanced and sympathetic. After this, his first film as a director, no one would let Fruit Chan touch the camera again, until his breakthough independent production MADE IN HONG KONG (1997), which transformed his reputation, and combined with the films that followed made him one of the most celebrated directors in Hong Kong. Well, everyone has a skeleton or two in their closet, right?

Rating: Not Recommended (Not Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on July 23, 2005.


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