Koma
Hong Kong 2004
Directed by Lo Chi-Leung.


The old urban legend about waking up in a tub of ice with a note to call the police, only to find your kidney has been removed, is revived again for this suspense thriller. Ching (Angelica Lee) stumbles across a victim, and IDs Ling (Karena Lam) as the perpetrator. Turns out, though, that Ling was just on the scene because she's been shagging Ching's boyfriend Wai (Andy Hui). Pretty soon the kidney thief is stalking Ching, but she's got an ace up her sleeve -- she actually needs one herself, hers are in failure. In that respect she makes an interesting protagonist; it's rare to have a heroine who keeps barfing on people and can't control when she has to pee.

Both Angelica Lee and Karena Lam turn in excellent performances. (Andy Hui on the other hand seems a little lost and has trouble getting a grip on his character). But though the girls give it their best, they are ultimately let down by the cookie-cutter nature of the script. I kept wanting it to stop with all the same tired plot twists we've come to expect from movies of this nature, but it doesn't, and so we're punished with the usual dream sequences (or are they?) hallucinogenic visions (or are they?) and friends who are stalking you but who are really your friends (or are...oh, who cares?).

The girls are reason enough to watch, and will keep you engaged until the end. Director Lo Chi-Leung certainly has his hands on the material, and for the most part is successful at building tension. But like his last film, Inner Senses (2002), KOMA ultimately disappoints because it seemed like it was going to be a much smarter film than it turned out to be.

Rating: Marginally Recommended (Marginally Recommended)

Posted by Peter Nepstad on January 11, 2005.


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