The 40 Year Old Virgin
Öga rött, Ett

Sai chiu (2006)
HongKong / Cantonese
Stephen Fung Lau Sing
Gillian Chung Siu Chin
Steven Cheung /td>
Debbie Goh Suzy (as Tinyu Ng)
Lap-yi Kau Lau Sing's daughter
Meng Lo /td>
Lier Qiu /td>
Ho-Yin Wong Pang Sei
Yut Fei Wong /td>
Jess Zhang Lau Sing's wife (as Qian Zhang)
Director: Kin-lun Lam
Producer: Siu Ming Tsui
Scary as Couldn't Be
Expecting error correction in a business revolving around creative control as the movies represents a very natural demand on the part of consumers, albeit one seldom answered with a resounding round of true adaptation.

Years post the HK film biz's first batch of pseudo-scary, rather lame attempts at wooing people with wishy-washy ghost tales, the same insipid shortcomings dominate. 49 Days places itself firmly in the company of such mediocrity, demonstrating the case for how better technology often fails in alleviating symptoms pertaining to simple story and common sense.

In a vein similar to that of classics Ghost and The 6th Sense, 49 Days relies chiefly on an interesting but obvious twist to bring it together halfway through, in addition to deploying the requisite quota of redundant, convoluted mysticism. Apparently it has something to do with reincarnation and the dead coming back to sort things out in a given timeframe, but the only such temporal restraint you'll be eager to figure out is when the awful thing'll end at long last.

Eclipsing everyone else in the production, handsome Raymond Wong (Love Undercover, The Lion Roars, PTU) delivers a wicked performance as dual-purpose crony Pang Shi, starting proceedings one way, exiting in a modest blaze of acting glory.

Pang Shi works with 1920's entrepreneur Lam Shing (Steven Fung), a successful millionaire in an undisclosed city making his very honest fortune selling traditional medicine a la Wong Fei Hung. Everything goes well until one fine day Lam Shing's accused and convicted of a crime he of course didn't commit. Languishing in the local crook depository, only cadet attorney Siu Chin accepts the ignominious fate of standing up for Lam Shing. She's executed by Twin Gillian Chung, definitely one of the prettiest faces in the world of entertainment today, but sadly not much more judging by this sad release. Chung's character suffers from an over-sized portion of comic relief, plus dabbles in lifting themes from My Cousin Vinnie.

Eventually the hapless duo arrange for Lam Shing's escape from incarceration, and they manage to make it back to his homestead, now eerily deserted like a disused Shaw Brothers lot. Here is where the so-called horror element kicks in, but if this scares you please seek professional help, you're in no shape to handle modern society. Amid horrible voice-overs the fatigued story trudges on, with at least some highlights shining through. Despite a conspicuously short legal-process bit, the prison itself has some excellent imagery, and the movie overall benefits from a technically polished veneer. And even though the mood picks up somewhat after the prison break, its all for naught as sentimental opportunities, including clearly useful ones like the family reunion, are done poorly.

The latter part mainly consists of Lam Shing meeting his now-grown daughter Ling Qi (newcomer Qiu Li Er), an addition passing for that annoying, noisome little girl from everything following in the shaky footsteps of over-hyped The Ring. There's then a lot of mumbo-jumbo about fate and victims destined to act on their yuan fen, or pre-scripted karma. Not the most revealing nor intriguing of prospects, let us tell you, even though one of the instruments of this mechanism is mostly impressive veteran Lawrence Mon, here both executioner and protector, plus the guy taking it upon himself to clue the cast in to what's going down in 49 Days.

Above other considerations, 49 Days takes its own sorry self too seriously, producers' feeble attempts at humor bouncing off the venerable armor of subparness like so much putty. Sure, certain moments exhibit good graphic effects (particularly when we see magical candles exposing the whereabouts of ghosts), and to their credit continuity throughout retains a solidly consistent state.

Probably the biggest boon for most comes in the gorgeous form known as Gillian, and believe you me its feels as cruel as it sounds saying this. However, classy beauty like that doesn't come along too often, and every chance to behold its magnificence has to be OK at the very least, even if it's a vapid flick like this one.

49 Days misses hardly any fortuitous moment to strip itself of remaining credibility, belonging in no tradition one could point to. Pathetic action, laughable scares, all consolidate into a package even Ace Ventura's take on UPS couldn't dent further.

It would be so easy to take the cynical route and come up with 49 flaws here, but let's avoid that. Instead, here's hoping Gillian graces another project as soon as possible, and this time perhaps one requiring of more than just her cosmetic presence. As for 49 Days, pretend you didn't see it. Boo.

Rating: * *

Seen it:Nej
Nr of disks/tapes:1
Storage device:Divx 1
Imdb rating: 4.8
Running time: 93 min
Everything else:
Last modified: 2007-07-18 22:31:3