his last film was the egregious Color of Pain, Sam
Leung can only improve with his latest, The Stewardess.
A horror-comedy about a loopy stewardess/stalker, the film
doesn't amount to more than a fluffy chiller, but at the
very least it has more zing and zip than Color of Pain
Sam Lee stars as Keung, a screenwriter
who spends his time reading porno comics and hanging out
with buddy Lai Yiu-Cheung. One day he makes a move on stewardess
Apple (Lee San-San), and amazingly she goes home with him.
However, all is not well in Apple-land. It turns out that
her father is famed triad boss Nine Dragons (Michael Chan,
possibly referencing his role from Metade Fumaca).
What this means is Keung is officially chained to Apple
until she's tired of him. Nine Dragons' various thugs spy
on Keung so he can't play around on the side. And if he
does, he'll get the John Bobbitt treatment.
Feeling suffocated, Keung
eventually gives into the charms of neighbor Yurei (Seina
Kasugai), a Japanese stewardess who apparently knows only
fifteen or so vocabulary words. His reasoning is typical:
he's always wanted to sleep with a Japanese girl (to avenge
the Chinese, he reasons), and he's tired of Apple's dominatrix
act. However, that's just the beginning to the problems,
as Yurei is most definitely not all there. She attaches
herself to Keung and proceeds to wreak havoc with his life,
which was pretty lousy to begin with anyway.
The hows and whys of this
movie are completely unexplained. Why does Yurei choose
Keung? When she first appears, it looks as if we're getting
a ghost story (she dresses in red like most Chinese ghosts),
but the evidence shows that she's nothing more than your
standard deranged maniac. If she's human, then how can she
kick ass so efficiently? How is she able to chase after
cop cars like the T-1000 from Terminator 2? Whenever
somebody steps on her shoes, she goes totally crazy. Why
is that? And how is she able to take massive beatings from
triad regulars and keep coming back? Will writer-director
Leung ever answer these questions?
Well, the answer is no. Basically,
we're supposed to accept that Yurei is just one amazingly
tough chick who nevertheless is totally insane. Not that
reality is supposed to be a factor here. Some consistency
would probably pump up the fear factor on the movie, but
as such there's no suspense or real fear going. It's just
a lot of freaky plot devices that seem like scary ideas,
and the twists and turns seem like nothing more than bizarre
Sam Lee is consistently amusing
in this sort of low-budget dreck, and he comes through gamely.
The rest of the cast is uniformly passable, though extra
points must be given to Seina Kasugai for having the ability
to smile like a freak for apparently hours at a time. What
actually makes the film somewhat amusing is Sam Leung's
direction, which manages some measure of creepiness and
off-beat humor. His muted comedic tone is actually effective,
and out-of-nowhere parodies of In the Mood for Love
and A Better Tomorrow enliven things. There's even
some Japanese horror homages thrown in.
Still, Sam Leung hasn't done
much more than assemble a mishmash of random parts. The
whole of the film amounts to little, but some parts are
surprisingly funny and effective. However, it would be overly-charitable
to say that Sam Leung has redeemed himself for Color
of Pain. It would take a lot to do that, and The
Stewardess is far from a product that could redeem anybody.
We'll just call this "improvement". (Kozo 2002)