Sunday, September 08, 2013

Made in Heaven with Ada Choi and Diana Pang Dan

Made in Heaven

Director: Alex Cheung

Year: 1997

This film fuses elements of the supernatural and gangsters into a moderately enjoyable mélange that bounces back and forth between the comedic and the dramatic like a yellow ping pong ball in play. This was the sort of film back in the late 90’s that popped into a theater for a week or so and then went to VCD the next day and was soon forgotten thereafter. Low on movie star voltage, it didn’t really have much of a chance to begin with but it has a charm about it that is very low key and rather difficult to understand. Much of it I suppose has to do with the appealing calming presence of Ada Choi.

Ada Choi has always been a big TV star, but around this time she made a play to be a film star with leading roles in good films such as The Golden Girls, Chinese Odyssey and Once Upon a Time in Triad Society II. But she ran into the buzz saw of a faltering film industry that had suddenly lost its magic and even though some of the films that Ada continued to be in such as Casino, Your Place or Mine and The Suspect were high profile films, they were high profile films in a low profile disintegrating film industry. Here in Made in Heaven she plays a meek soul on a run of bad luck.

The film begins in heaven where recent inductees’ - i.e. dead people - are being judged and sentenced to their next reincarnated life. A thief is before the panel and he is told that in his next life he will come back as a woman that will have no luck in love. Or as the film eloquently states “will be in deep shit” if she loves anyone. This person turns out to be Lily Wong (Ada Choi) who through a strange mix-up in heaven acquires the ability to have premonitions about people who are going to soon die. First up is her father and then her mom takes a powder and Lily is brought up in an orphanage.  In a waitress job, Lily runs into triad boss Brother Fung Wen (Michael Tong) who has lost his taste for food but not for women as his moll is the delectable Sister Sheila played by Diana Pang Dan who yet again shows us a few kung fu moves as she did in Brother Forever. Who would have known? Though young and handsome Brother Fung isn’t all that nice and at one point forces a betrayer to have sex with a prostitute with AIDS and as his men haul the fellow off yells “and make sure he uses no condom”. I think that was passing here for humor but hard to say.

Later he saves Lily from being raped for her virginity after being set up by a guy she thought was in love with her and Lily returns the favor by warning Brother Fung to beware of the “dragon” which saves his life. The film though is all over the place with Lily getting a job as an insurance agent and selling policies only to people that she senses are soon going to die and having a pharmacist Dr. Law (Law Kar-ying) fall in love with her and then go crazy. But Brother Fung is also falling in love and mending his ways and Sister Sheila does not take kindly to this intrusion into the matters of the heart and money.

My Rating: 5.5

Viewed on VCD

Diana Pang Dan Kung Fu’ing

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