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非常凶姐 (2002)
The Stewardess

Reviewed by: ewaffle
Date: 02/17/2008

Ken Ma is a bit of a lout, easing through life, trying to pick up women with a line that he is a screenwriter—this might be a reference to the old Hollywood saw that “a starlet was so dumb that she slept with a screenwriter” but possibly not. He isn’t very successful—one young woman he is chatting up throws a glass of wine in his face when he tells her that his favorite Truffaut film is “Lady Chatterley”. Ma likes to hang out with his friend George who books bets on soccer games and claims to have a pipeline into the highest levels of the sport in Brazil and England. While neither is very good at anything they are not unlikable and come across at eternal kid brothers, never amounting to much but fun to hang around with once in a while.

So it is surprising when Ma sits down next to Apple (the gorgeous Lee San-San) and discovers that he is going home with a beautiful, sexually voracious young woman who has a job as and air hostess and a wealthy family. He quickly finds out that she is the girlfriend from hell—or so he thinks...

While they are enjoying a post coital cigarette Apple calls her father to tell him she will be bringing someone home tomorrow—that someone, of course, is Ma. He is apprehensive when he finds out that daddy is Dragon, a well known and universally feared Triad leader. Impressing him means a bit more than wearing a clean necktie to dinner—it is more like being arrested. Ma is fingerprinted, a mug shot is taken and Dragon tells him that he will be watched 24 hours a day by his goons. If he cheats on Apple—which seems to mean speaking with or even noticing another woman—his penis will be chopped off.

Just when Ma thinks that things couldn’t get much worse he meets the new tenant in the next apartment, a striking looking if uncommunicative Japanese air hostess named Yurei. She has a very limited vocabulary and every word of it is in Japanese but she easily gets across her fascination with Ma. Ma has a particularly repellent (or possibly just really strange) desire to have sex with a Japanese woman in order to avenge China’s mistreatment by Japan. He is extremely disappointed when, on a trip to Japan, he spends a stack of Yen on a prostitute only to discover that she is a student from Taiwan working her way through college. This is the background for his very unhealthy attraction for Yurei.

It is unhealthy because the Dragon’s goons pick up both of them and take them to the gang headquarters where Ma is tied up and beaten to force him to confess to having an affair with the Japanese stewardess, while she is detained so that the Dragon himself can warn her away from his daughter’s paramour. He makes the mistake of stepping on her toe when roughing her up, something that makes her fly into a complete and very impressive rage. As it happens she has already killed Apple who had been careless with the placement of her feet while trying to intimidate Yurei. After cleaning up the mess she made while slaughtering Apple, Yurei had a part left over—Apple’s arm, still clutching a large knife.

This is in the luggage that Dragon’s men brought along when they grabbed the two of them and Yurei uses it—the arm with the knife still clutched in the hand—to kill the Dragon and two of this lieutenants. Being obsessively neat (she is obsessively everything) she gets things cleaned up and the bodies packed away before the police arrive.

While never on a really high level, “The Stewardess” deteriorates for the last half hour of the movie—essentially everything has happened that needs to other than the final confrontation between Ma and Yurei--who Ma discovers not only doesn’t work for the airline she claims to but also has a name which sounds exactly like “ghost” in Japanese that no young woman from Japan would have. It is dragged out too long toward the end as if there were so much crammed into the first hour that the filmmakers had to pad the ending. Dragon’s now leaderless gang chased Ma and lost him, then let him sneak back into his apartment—these guys are really bad gangsters. There is a protracted chase scene in which Yurei, dressed in her typical bright red with red heels, runs after a police wagon carrying Ma. When the police officers who have arrested him look back, of course, they don’t see anyone.

The end of the movie is a bit of a let down but Sam Leong had left himself with no real options other than what he did which was neither surprising nor shocking.

All in all a decent movie with excellent performances by just about everyone in front of the camera, some very funny bits, an extraordinary score that accompanied but didn’t underline or intrude upon the action and a almost two minute sequence between Ma and Yurei with no sound at all.


Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: MrBooth
Date: 09/20/2005
Summary: 9/10 - Clever black comedy-horror

THE STEWARDESS seems to have got lost in the wave of horror films that followed THE RING, probably because the DVD artwork unfairly makes it look like just another "long black haired girl is scary" film, when in fact it's a rather sophisticated black comedy that pokes fun at numerous genres, including those post-RINGU horror films but not limited to them.

Sam Lee is a bit of a womaniser, but finds himself in a spot of bother when he beds an air hostess (the stunning Lee San-San) who turns out to be the daughter of a Triad boss... and the girlfriend from hell! His troubles go from bad to worse when a Japanese air hostess moves in across the corridor from the couple. Much, much worse!

The film is a smartly written genre-blender, cheerfully poking fun at horror films, gangster films, gigolo films and whatever else gets in its way. The comedy is dark, which is why it can successfully co-exist with the scares, and it's very stylishly shot and scored. Sam Lee makes the most of his inherently funny face again, and the rest of the cast all put their various talents to good use too. The film undoubtedly belongs to Japanese actress Seina Kasugai though, who is clearly having a whale of a time with her character, who drifts through the HK world speaking mostly Japanese as if she belongs to another universe entirely. And maybe she does!

Director Sam Leong has made a string of decent but not exactly remarkable films now, apparently specialising in HK-Japanese coproductions (there are prominent Japanese actors in all his films anyway). I don't know if he's well known or liked in Japan, but his films haven't exactly set the box office alight in Hong Kong. I guess they do well enough on home video to get him more directing gigs though. Of the other films I've seen of his, nothing indicated that he was capable of producing something quite as smart or original as THE STEWARDESS (which he wrote, produced and directed). I think it's fair to assume that Takashi Miike's AUDITION was an influence on the film, but it's certainly not a rip-off on any level, and is much funnier. It's much more the sort of film you'd expect Miike to produce than the dismal ONE MISSED CALL was, though. It's painted with a distinct HK flavour though, that recalls the films of Edmond Pang to a degree.

Comparing it with the work of other directors is a little unfair though, as Sam Leong has created a distinctly original piece of work and deserves all credit for it. It's a shame that it seems to have largely slipped between the cracks, as it deserves to be seen by a far wider audience than the endless RINGU knock-offs that get released on DVD and signed up for Hollywood remakes all the time.

Highly recommended!

Reviewer Score: 9

Reviewed by: Sydneyguy
Date: 10/24/2004
Summary: Hmmm..........

My biggest issue was actually the dvd itself, i missed parts of the movie so it's hard for me to rate it.

The comedy though works well, i had a big laugh when the stewardess gets beaten up. Sam Lee cruises though his role, but there is nothing much else to say about this movie. It wasnt scary as i expected and i did watch it till the end so.........

only because i kept missing parts of the movie due to my poor dvd but i am assuming i didnt miss out on much

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 09/27/2003
Summary: Funny, Well-Made Satire

A black comedy slasher ghost movie - only could Hong Kong make this movie, and I mean that in the most positive way.

Everything about this movie clicks - the acting, the writing, the directing, the cinematography. And it was all invested in poking fun at the slasher/ghost movie genre. Kasugai Seina is sensational as the psychotic Japanese stewardess with whom Sam Lee gets entangled. Sam Lee is the perfect foil and even though we've all seen his stock character before, I've never seen it used so well as here. In fact, I think writer/director/producer Leung Tak Sam may have used our knowledge of the Sam Lee character to help set up our expectations and give credibility to the decisions the character makes.

The sex and violence are handled perfectly, showing just enough to let you know what's going on and leaving the rest to your imagination. This is the way Hollywood used to handle sex and violence, and I miss the subtlety of the old days. I liken it to cursing. If you don't allow yourself to take the easy way out, dropping the f-bomb for example, you're forced to get creative in expressing yourself and the results, if successful, are far more effective. Same here. Leung Tak Sam gave himself the task of showing the sex and violence without actually showing it and the result is far more satisfying. I think they used to call it "art."

I highly recommend this well-paced, well-made film.

Reviewed by: mediawhore
Date: 02/24/2003
Summary: not soooo bad...

my first draw to this movie was of course sam lee. the plot was fairly weak but thoroughly entertaining. some of the visual sequences were great though they really didn't keep in line with everything else that was going on. the vcd packaging led me to believe this was a "real" horror movie. (though i'm not sure sam lee would be cast in a "real" horror movie) what i got was more evil dead than anything else. it played out well. the movie was great for what it was. and sam lee was entertaining as always. but what the hell was up with that japanese girl and her feet?

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 12/26/2002

Sometimes, the best thing you can say about a movie is that it didn't annoy you. Such is the case with this cheap little Sam Lee horror film - while the movie itself turned out to be utterly forgettable, I was able to at least watch it without being annoyed.

The plot revolves around Sam playing a movie screenwriter who picks up a new girlfriend, a stewardess called Apple. Unfortunately for him, her father is a notorious triad leader who will not tolerate any cheating or other such misbehaviour from his daughter's boyfriends. So the good life is over for Sam - he is now kept on a short leash by his rather controlling and possessive girlfriend.

Sam also has a fixation on Japanese girls, and when Apple is out of town, he ends up cheating on her with the new Japanese neighbor, another stewardess who starts exhibiting rather strange behaviour. Driven by his girlfriend's jealousy, her triad father's suspicions and threats, and the all around weirdness emanating from the Japanese neighbor, the plot meanders along listlessly, and even the murders that now start occuring don't add much suspense or anything else even remotely interesting. The storyline can never quite decide on whether the Japanese stewardess is a ghost or just a mad girl, and the film itself is more interested in showing off some neat editing tricks or camera techniques than in building and sustaining a cohesive story. In fact, the movie is quite mannered at times, with wild jumps in style and tone, fluctuating between ironic use of genre conventions, faux artistic pretensions and straightforward attempts at creepiness. The latter in particular falls flat - never once does the film manage to create the haunting, frightening atmosphere it is trying to achieve. And a horror film that is not at all frightening has very little going for it...

Anyway, there are some semi-interesting moments here and there, the movie is pretty good-looking considering the minimal budget, Sam Lee is likable as always, and the film is over fairly quickly. So while I can't really recommend this film, at least I didn't hate it.

Reviewed by: mp5navy
Date: 05/29/2002

hmmm what can i say from this movie is totally suck..