F (2001)

Reviewed by: Brian Thibodeau
Date: 10/26/2009
Summary: Above average teen fare

Beachside boat worker Stephen Fung enlists two friends (Derek Tsang, Samuel Chan) to help him reconnect with an unrequited high school crush (Bobo Chan), only to learn she committed suicide following an embarrassing incident involving Fung. Worse, upon visiting the shrine set up in a creepy house by their former classmate (Isabel Chan), Fung drops the ceremonial urn containing Chan's ashes, at which point her angry ghost, threatening to haunt them forever and destroy their families for screwing up her chance at reincarnation, sets the hapless trio to a series of make-good tasks, including retrieving her money from a supposedly malevolent spirit at the graveyard across the street, buying her a diamond ring with worthless "dead man's money", and picking up cosmetics and tampons down at the shops. His pals are soon made wise to the con, but Fung's guilt and lovesickness may be driving him over the brink. Or is it? As it often is in Hong Kong horrors of this variety, the scare quotient is very low, but smarter-than-average scripting, evenly rationed scraps of obligatory Hong Kong-style horror humor and almost too many twists, all courtesy of writer Felix Chong (here reuniting with both the director and male lead from SUNSHINE COPS) propel this teen-friendly romantic ghost thriller from entertainment conglomerate and pop idol factory StarEast BoB (a partnership of two different enterprises partly controlled by producer/presenter Wong Jing) to the head of an increasingly busy pack. Chan and Fung make an undeniably cute pair, though the latter wears enough Body Glove surfwear in the film to double as a spokesmodel.

Reviewer Score: 7

Reviewed by: danton
Date: 02/19/2002

2001 release starring Stephen Fung and new face Bobo Chan as star-crossed lovers. This is a pleasant little film that doesn't pretend to be more than it is, i.e. a low-budget quickie that successfully updates the HK ghost movie genre by merging it with the teen romance genre. It's not as good a film as for example Ann Hui's Visible Secret, but it nevertheless provides 90 minutes of decent entertainment.

The plot is centered around beach bum Stephen, who along with his buddies is enjoying the summer working at the beach, and then on a whim decides to get back in touch with his former high school flame Siu-Yuet (Bobo Chan), only to find out that she is dead and that he may have inadvertently contributed to her untimely demise. Soon Siu-Yuet's ghost appears demanding retribution, and Stephen and his friend's are forced to carry out a number of tasks to placate the girl's vengeful spirit. Or so they think -- the plot at this point throws a number of twists at the viewer that complicate things and provide a sense of tension and urgency lacking up until then. Some of these twists, while predictable, do work well, while others are somewhat lacking in focus. In particular, for a while the audience is presented with a somewhat contradictory depiction of the main character, not sure whether to root for him or to despise him. Those issues are ultimately resolved, but it does detract from the viewing experience a little.

Stephen Fung does a good job with the script he's given, the supernatural elements are presented in a light-hearted fashion that provides no scares but is still entertaining, and although the ending does venture into melodrama, the film is still a pleasant little diversion. Sort of like ACGS meets Dawson's Creek.

If you're a fan of Stephen Fung, the movie is a must. Marginal recommendation for everyone else.