You are currently displaying English
奪命佳人 (1987)
Lady in Black

Reviewed by: mrblue
Date: 04/17/2008

According to some fans of Brigitte Lin, Lady in Black features some of her best work. While it is true that this film is a fine showcase for Ms. Lin, the rest of the matter floating about her (with a couple of exceptions) makes even the best performance seem almost an exercise in futility. Lady in Black isn't a bad movie per se, but it is a full heaping portion of melodrama. This is the type of movie where thunder cracks and the music booms when something bad is going to happen. It's like a soap opera on steroids.

The movie tells the story of May (Brigitte Lin), a woman stuck in a loveless marriage with a compulsive gambler, Kin (Tony Leung Ka-Fai), for the sake of their child, Ming (Gregory Lee). On a trip to Thailand to try and get some money from relatives to cover Kin's gambling debts, May falls off of a boat and is presumed to be dead. This leaves Kin free to start romancing the boss' daughter and work his way up the corporate ladder. However, May didn't die from the accident, and soon heads back to Hong Kong to try and put her life back together by any means necessary.

Lady in Black starts out well enough, with a nice slow burn to get things going. But during the second act, after May's accident, things take a dramatic downturn. All of the actors seemed to have forgotten how to act, and instead scream or cry most of their lines. The biggest culprit is Gregory Lee. I know it's not very nice to pick on a kid, but goddamn, is he horrible. Even by Hong Kong child actor standards, Lee's performance (if you can call it that) will have you ready to throw a brick into that nice shiny new HDTV.

However, things rebound nicely during the finale. Both Brigitte and Tony look like they were actually allowed to act, and turn out some very strong work. In particular, the final confrontation is gripping and tense. That's something which sadly the rest of Lady in Black can measure up to, but if you're a fan of Brigitte Lin, this is worth checking out. Just keep some earplugs or the mute button handy for whenever lil' Greg pokes his melon on the screen.

[review from]

Reviewer Score: 6

Reviewed by: Tonic
Date: 12/29/2007

I actually didn't find the kid to be that annoying, especially if you compare him to say that one from Aces Go Places or the the Magic Crystal kid.

Sek Kin was excellent as the grandfather and I thought the relationship with his grandson was convincing.

Everyone May knew shunning her at first had an excellent emotional payoff when her friend finally realised who she was too.

However about half way through things become a stupid. Why getting her face all pretty again was the thing to do FIRST boggles the mind.

Recommended with caution; don't expect the end to be particularly satisfying or meaningful.

Reviewed by: bastardswordsman
Date: 03/18/2002

What starts off as a intriguing story of family strife soon disappointingly descends into a megamelodrama of epic proportions. Which threw me slightly off-kilt initially. However, should you take heed of this warning and not be put off, then LADY IN BLACK should not be altogether unworthy of 90 minutes of your attention.

The plot is outlined elsewhere here (check links), so I feel it unnecessary to elaborate much more in that respect. Brigitte Lin's acting, the syrupy soundtrack and possibly the most annoying kid ever to grace HK screens (that is no mean feat), all culminate to bring the viewer a somewhat ridiculous piece of cinema.

So, a cautious recommendation - hopefully you will laugh as often as I....

Reviewed by: STSH
Date: 09/17/2001
Summary: First half is great

... but the wheels start to fall off around the middle.

The opening scene is a classic thriller mood set-piece worthy of Hitchcock. The story explores familiar Hitch territory for awhile. But somewhere around the 45 minute mark, things get wobbly. The acting turns into shouting melodrama, then the story leaves the track of credibility to go for sensationalism instead. The ending is spectacular, gory and very stupid.

For as long as the credibility lasts, Brigitte's performance as the used and abused wife is compelling, but she becomes less of a presence around half-way. Tony LeungKF, on the other hand, is terrific throughout, having great fun with one of his nastier roles. Veteran baddie Shih Kien has a very rare go at playing a good guy and, terrific old trooper that he is, matches Tony Leung.

Part of the problems with this film must go to that awful and often-seen fixture in HK film, the loud and excrutiating little kid. I sincerely hope whoever it was who played the little boy decided to go to the US and study law instead of inflicting his ghastly presence upon the HK public. Nuff said 'bout him.

Overall, a mixed bag. Disappointing by the end, and all the more so given the promise it showed at the start.

Reviewer Score: 5