The supernatural has long been a popular theme in Hong Kong movies, and a breakthrough to Western audiences was achieved with the popular cult hit A Chinese Ghost Story. The wonderfully daft plot has a tax collector falling in love with a ghost, resulting in kung fu Evil Dead romance!
As with many Hong Kong movies the action and dialogue-led scenes were split between two directors. This welcome DVD release defines who did what on the film. What's missing though is the other side of the story.
Ching Siu-Tung has long been famed as an action director, and his Shaolin Soccer and Hero movies are eagerly awaited in the US. He's credited with directing A Chinese Ghost Story, but what's often been less clear is the input of Tsui Hark. A new interview with Hark reveals how he introduced the love story element into the movie, with Siu-tung taking charge of the action, which he does best. While Hark describes the development of the project well, it would have been good to see an interview with Siu-Tung to balance things out.
Unusual For Hong Kong
You can, however, get another opinion on the project from Bey Logan, who is on form here in revealing a mass of detail about the production. The number of special effects was unusual by Hong Kong standards, and with Bey's critical input you can appreciate just how important this film eventually was to the industry.
This DVD was reviewed on a JVC XV-N5 DVD player.