Ghost Lantern (1993)

Reviewed by: JohnR
Date: 09/13/2003
Summary: It works, but doesn't work hard.

A sometimes funny, sometimes romantic, never scary ghost movie from Andrew Lau. Chingmy Yau and Tony Leung Ka-Fai play lovers who are slain by a jealous rival of Tony, a triad gang leader with supernatural powers played by Roy cheung. Roy isn't satisfied with separating the lovers in this life, he wants to keep them apart forever. So he buries Tony is a spot that will bring him bad luck for his next ten lives and he fashions a lamp out of Chingmy's skin within which he traps her ghost for eternity. You don't want to mess around with Roy!

Now jump forward in time to Tony's next life (in which he remembers nothing from the past). Chingmy's ghost is able to escape from the lantern long enough to fill him in on what's going on. Chingmy mostly just looks beautiful, but why should
anyone ask for more! Tommy Wong is a cop who owes a debt to Tony from Tony's last life. He is pressed into helping him dig up Tony's bones for reburial and is involved in a funny scene in which he and Tony are attacked by a ghost. Roy cheung
plays his standard character, but as usual he does it well. (They might have sprung for the cash to hire a better makeup artist, though. Roy looks like he fell into a bag of flour.)

Nothing here to knock your socks off, but a pleasant way to spend an evening. 7.5 out of 10.

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 01/03/2002

Nice looking mix of the triad movie and ghost movie genres, with Tony Leung Kar Wai and Chingmy Yau playing lovers who cross a triad boss (Roy Cheung) and are killed in a most brutal manner. In his case, he is condemned to several lifetimes of bad luck, whilst her spirit is caught in a lantern, keeping her from reincarnating at all.
Cut to 30 years later: true to the curse, Tony is now a small-time triad member with exceptional bad luck. But when he encounters Chingmy's ghost, the past comes back to him in flashbacks, and together they start working on making things right.

This is a surprisingly likable film, with the leads displaying nice chemistry and a good overall balance between romantic, dramatic and comedic moments. The action setpieces are competently staged (especially the ones involving the supernatural), and the movie keeps pulling you in. Chingmy is not the world's bets actress, but she is good at these kind of roles that require a fairly limited range, and Tony is quite likable as the bumbling hero who rises to the occasion. Fluff, but utterly entertaining. Recommended.

Reviewed by: MilesC
Date: 08/18/2000
Summary: Typical mid-'90s Wong Jing...

What's this? Am I finding myself actually longing for the the good old Wong Jing of days past? While Wong's current practice is to market films deceptively in order to make them look more appealing, (ie selling cameo-makers as the stars and putting guns on the posters of movies with no action)it used to be that he made money by trying to appeal to the broadest audience possible. This rarely, if ever, resulted in truly good films, but you could rest assured that almost any Wong Jing movie would have something entertaining about it. Ghost Lantern is no exception; if the hastily-sketched romance isn't doing it for you, maybe some of the low humor will pick you up. If you don't think poo-poo pee-pee jokes are funny, there's plenty of bodies being put through furniture at the end. All in all a forgettable movie, but an agreeable way to spend an hour and a half.

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

The movie is a lot better than the name sounds. This is one ofthe best love, tragic, half-action, ghost movies that to be seen since Joey Wong and Leslie Cheung's (Sin Lui Yau Wun-Chinese Ghost Story I). Terrific Performance by Tony Leung (matching those of CYF), he has this weird kind of humour in his character in the movie also by the name (fai). I give this movie a very high rating because it is worth-its-while. (Don't be fooled by the stupid looking poster - it's not at all gruesome.)

[Reviewed by Anonymous]

Reviewed by: hkcinema
Date: 12/08/1999

The story reminds me slightly of "The Crow". A lawyer and his lover, an aspiring singer, get killed when they defy a gangster boss. The bones of the lawyer are buried in a place that will bring him 9 lives of bad luck. The singer is off even worse: Her skin is made into a lantern, trapping her spirit inside, which will keep her from reincarnating. Flashforward to present time, the lawyer has been reincarnated into a small time crook with horrible luck. At first he doesn't remember the past, but with the help of Granny Seven (?) he might just stand a chance of avenging the murders and reuniting with his former lover. Some good acting, some wild jokes (the falling baby and calling the Dutch soccer team in as reinforcement were quite original). I like the first three quarters of the film, but the ending was a major let-down. Worth seeing nevertheless, I just hope there's a part 2 to remedy that ending...

[Reviewed by Dan Liatowitsch]

Reviewed by: spinali
Date: 12/08/1999
Summary: NULL

Fish-gut merchant Fai (Leung Ka Fai) has had nothing but bad luck his whole life because, in his previous life in the '40s, powerful triad boss Mister Hung (over-made-up Roy Cheung) had killed and buried him in a grave that would give him ten incarnations of misfortune. Wait, it gets worse. Sister Yung (Chingmy Yau, who wears green makeup in publicity posters), was Fai's lover in that lifetime and now, as a ghost, links up with Fai to clear the hex, return a lantern make of her skin from the previous lifetime to her grave, and destroy Hung's super-kung fu power -- while being chased by a Peking Opera ghost with multicolored hair and fangs. (I apologize for that sentence.) Chingmy Yau is one of the most engaging comic actresses going, but dramas seem to strike at her weak spots. A uniquely HK try at Ghost..


[Reviewed by Steve Spinali]

Reviewer Score: 3