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The Vampire Who Admires Me
The Vampire Who Admires Me     The Vampire Who Admires Me

(left) Ankie Beilke and JJ Jia strike poses, and (right) Jia, Siu Fei, Roger Kwok and Beilke
restrain the undead Samuel Pang in The Vampire Who Admires Me.
Chinese: 有隻僵屍暗戀你  
Year: 2008
Director: Cub Chien Kong-Hon
Producer: Wong Jing
Writer: Wong Jing
Cast: JJ Jia, Natalie Meng Yao, Roger Kwok Chun-On, Siu Fei, Samuel Pang King-Chi, Jo Koo, Sam Lee Chan-Sam, Ha Yu, Ankie Beilke, Maggie Li, Tanya Ng, Winnie Leung Man-Yi, Wong Tin-Lam, Lee Fung, Cheung Ka-Lun, Angel Ho
The Skinny: Director Cub Chien and some of his cast members make The Vampire Who Admires Me into a surprisingly amusing crappy cinema special from the Wong Jing fun factory. Better than expectations, which likely aren't high. Beggars can't be choosers.
 
Review
by Kozo:
It's been nearly six months since My Wife is a Gambling Maestro, so of course it's time for another Wong Jing lousy cinema special! However, The Vampire Who Admires Me throws a wrench in the works by not being as bad as one might expect. The credit should go to director Cub Chien, whose horror omnibus scare 2 die was a well-directed exercise in visceral thrills. Echoing that, Vampire Who Admires Me is better directed than your average Wong Jing-produced cheapie, and Chien manages some effective laughs and energy. Still, despite the film's amusement factor, it possesses a routine story and gags that are as throwaway as anything from the Jingster's fun factory. The fun here has an asterisk attached to it. Hey, you can't win them all.

Hot model du jour JJ Jia stars as Macy, a low-paid model working for a fashion label called Zombie. Her best bud and fellow model Bibi (model Ankie Beilke) is also along on the job, as are Apple (top heavy model Maggie Li) and Susie (model Tanya Ng a.k.a. rumored girlfriend of Chang Chen). However, they're all second fiddle to Chelsea (not-a-model Natalie Meng), a buxom babe who's as snotty and conniving as they come. Chelsea wants to seduce the big boss King (Samuel Pang), and butters him up whenever she can. Macy may also be attracted to King, and the chances for some on-the-job romance get magnified when the crew heads to a secluded island for a location shoot. Gay photographer Roman (Sam Lee) can't find inspiration at the beach, so it's off to King's ancestral home on East Dragon Island where things should be more atmospheric, if not inspiring. By the way, Macy can also see ghosts, which could help with an upcoming problem.

That problem: vampires. Thanks to some backstory involving King's ancestors, the island is about to get undead-infested, and Macy's Sixth Sense abilities may help some - though not all - of the characters survive the upcoming bad times. A mysterious attack from a vampire leads to an undead outbreak, though it should be noted that the resulting undead are more like zombies than vampires. They stumble around, thirst for human flesh, and generally look like they're rotting to pieces. King's great-grandfather is definitely a vampire though, namely one of those hopping types seen in many classic HK horror-comedies. Chien effectively portrays his lead vampire during its few scenes; his version of the classic Chinese hopping vampire is stronger and more powerful than ones seen in movies past, and yet it still hops around in an amusing manner. Chien also employs slightly better production design and cinematography than the Wong Jing norm, and some of the cast attempts actual acting. This much is certain: Cub Chien is a better director than Wong Jing.

Sadly, Chien can't fix the usual Wong Jing problems, namely a slapped-together script, lazy situations and unfunny jokes. Also, Chien can't raise the talent level of some of his cast. Most of the actresses are actually models, so they'll have to be given a pass for their unremarkable acting. Unfortunately, Wong Jing discovery Natalie Meng is not one of the excused, and comes off poorly thanks to her lousy acting and annoying Mandarin speaking voice (in a departure from her earlier roles, Meng is not dubbed). Some of the other performers acquit themselves well, considering the material. The usually annoying Siu Fei is actually likable as an East Dragon Island cop who's also a childhood friend of Macy's. TVB star Roger Kwok turns in good comic support as another cop, while Sam Lee, Maggie Li and Wong Jing's dad Wong Tin-Lam all have their moments. Jo Koo also shows up, playing the police station's new boss, and she once again earns her status as Hong Kong's most under-appreciated actress. Her police uniform, which consists of a tight olive tank top, doesn't hurt either.

The Vampire Who Admires Me is hard to rate as good, but it still amuses and is certainly better than other recent Wong Jing efforts. Cub Chien shows some flashes of talent in his handling of this otherwise unremarkable film, and the whole ultimately lives up to the expectations that one has for a Wong Jing horror-comedy. That is, one expects it to be stupid, lazy, forgettable, and hopefully sometimes fun. The Vampire Who Admires Me is all those things and then some, so it qualifies as a movie that lives up to its billing. And besides, it features numerous pretty models wearing bikini tops. The leap in quality between this and My Wife is a Gambling Maestro isn't an evolutionary one, but all things considered, we're lucky to receive this much. (Kozo 2008)

 
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Garry's Trading Co.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image credit: Hong Kong Film Development Council

   
 
 
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