Deadly Dream Woman
AKA: Lady Black Mask
Director: Wong Tai Lai
Producer: Wong Jing
Stars: Chueng Man, Chingmy Yau, Ken Lo, Jacky Chueng
A Triad bodyguard known as Nightingale Wong (Chueng Man) loses her memory after fighting off a thug named Jaguar (Lo) who double-crosses his boss. Nightingale ends up drifting on the sea, where she is picked up by a friendly madam and her daughter (Yau). The two think she is a rich heiress, dub her Chanel, and soon put her to work as a "hostess" (hooker) at a local club until they can find her family and convince them to cough up some money. One night at the club, Chanel meets up with Jaguar and her memory slowly begins to return. Teaming up with Yau's boyfriend Jacky Chueng, she goes after Jaguar.
Deadly Dream Woman kicks off with a raucous action sequence and then turns into a strange romantic comedy, then quickly turns serious again with a gruesome rape sequence. It should probably come as no surprise that this movie was written (and some say co-directed) by Wong Jing, who's long been known for jumbling together genres. While I usually enjoy Wong's work, I found myself bored during many points in this movie. There are some good bits during the comedy portion of the film, such as a parody of the "Taoist rap" from A Chinese Ghost Story and Wong Jing himself making a funny cameo as the sleazy head of a club. Ken Lo also gives a suitably smarmy performance as Jaguar, and you won't have to deal with Jacky Cheung's trademark overacting, since he plays a mute character.
But for the most part, the middle forty-five minutes of the film just feel like filler in between the action sequences at the beginning and the end of the film. They're actually quite good, though Ken Lo does look a bit silly trying to fight in a bright red bathrobe during the finale. If the rest of Deadly Dream Woman could have maintained the manic pacing of these sequences, we could have had a classic on our hands, instead of this okay movie. It's nothing worth rushing out to see, but if you have a thing for women superheroes, then you might want to give Deadly Dream Woman a try.
Note: Arena's US version Lady Black Mask has nothing to do with the Jet Li movie, but does have a fairly nice (at least by their standards) widescreen picture with tolerable subs.
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