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PCK (1982)

Reviewed by: Mikestar*
Date: 11/15/2002
Summary: highly underrated, but still missing something.

This Third Film from "new wave" director Patrick Tam, doesn't quite live up to promise or expectation.

The story is at times muddled and confusing, essentially focussing on two young couples who dream of sailing to Arabia and experiencing freedom. Their plan however is unravelled when 'Red Army' terrorist interfere, wreaking havoc and destruction by the time the credits are set to roll.

The scenes set in Hong Kong are well constructed, especially their focus on social class and separation. However, when the film moves to a desert island it loses all sense of realism. The ending in particular is unexpected and quite shocking considering the tempo up until that point.

Stylistically the film flashes some real potential, with a few distinct and impacting elements (lighting, shots). Specifically there is one memorable shot of a beach umbrella that lingers just long enough to create intrigue (much like style of many Japanese directors).

The acting is quite impressive here, particularly from the female leads, Cecilia Yip and Pat Ha. The film also features a young Leslie Cheung in one of his spolit-rich-yuppie roles. His presence however is dwarfed by his female counterparts. Ha, one of Hong Kong's highly underrated actresses is particularly striking here, as the flirtatious and enigmatic Kathy.

Patrick Tam is undoubtedly a director with great potential (its a pity he hasn't received widespread recognition for his work, particularly 'The Sword' and 'Love Masscare'). In this film however its the art direction and style which shines more clearly. The final result is a somewhat choppy and indeterminate film.

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 09/06/2001
Summary: Stylish but rather dull

Perhaps Patrick Tam was trying to combine elements of his first two films in Nomad, his third. His first was the The Sword (1980), which was gorgeously photographed and fascinating for a time but very slow. His second, Love Massacre, was a terrific slow buildup thriller, again gorgeously photographed.

But with Nomad, Tam seems to have fallen back to some of the mistakes made with The Sword. The story is all over the place and often lacks any kind of sense or continuity. The pacing is also similar to The Sword, in that it is not well paced.

To be fair, the copy I watched had no subs, so it was hard to follow the fine detail. Of course, Nomad has lots of beautiful images, though less so than either of the first two.

On the positive side, I enjoyed most of the scenes between Cec Yip and Leslie Cheung. Their love scenes are particularly watchable. It was a bit spooky watching the young Cec Yip here. Perhaps HK's most attractive A-grade actress, Yip bears an astonishing resemblance to Chingmy Yau, and the similar hairstyle she wears only increases that illusion. I had to keep reminding myself that Chingmy did get into movies until the several years later.

Surprisingly, I didn't find one of HK's other stunners, Pat Ha, very watchable here. Her scenes with Leslie and with Ken Tong mostly just don't fire.

Most of this film comes across like a high-class soap opera. The final scene is a shock - quite violent and of course with tragic consequences. It's tempting to say, yet again, "Only in HK".

Stephen Teo has praise for this film in his scholarly and highly-readable book Hong Kong Cinema, but I was less impressed.

Reviewer Score: 3

Reviewed by: ryanatpoker
Date: 04/04/2001
Summary: Synopsis

Ma, Kathy, Louis, and Tomato are four youngsters who are fascinated by loose living. They often treat themselves with trips to secluded islands and let themselves go. But, Kathy's past catches up to her little group. She used to live in Japan, where she refused the love of a gangster's son. The son in turn killed himself. His father, now a powerful leader and still angry about his son's death, vows revenge against Kathy. But Louis and Tomato are not ones to just stand by and watch. They head to Japan to even the score!