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Ah Kam
AKA: The Stuntwoman
Sammo Hung, Mang Hoi and Michelle Yeoh


Year: 1996
Director: Ann Hui On-Wah
Action: Ching Siu-Tung
Cast: Michelle Yeoh (Yeung Chi-King), Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, James Wong Ka-Lok, Mang Hoi, Michael Lam Wai-Leung, Satoshi Okada, Nick Cheung Ka-Fai, Lo Wing-Kang, Yi Tin-Hung, Kent Cheng Juk-Si, Richard Ng Yiu-Hon, Crystal Kwok Kam-Yan, Rain Lau Yuk-Tsui, Manfred Wong, Damian Lau Chung-Yun
The Skinny: Not really a good Ann Hui or Michelle Yeoh movie. While it retains Hui's generous realism and Yeoh's wondrous star presence, it never truly coheres into a full portrait of a woman that it purports to be.
by Kozo:
     Ann Hui directs this three-act saga that never reaches a narrative payoff. It's meant to be an all-around portrait of a woman (the eponymous Ah Kam) who's essayed here by Michelle Yeoh. However, the three parts vary too greatly in quality and never truly cohere.
     Loose plot summary: the film traces the growth of Ah Kam from loner stuntwoman, to girlfriend, to surrogate mother. The first part features Ah Kam's initiation in a Hong Kong stunt troupe run by Master Tung (Sammo Hung). Sadly, that first act segues into act two, which features Ah Kam as arm candy to a gorgeous bo-hunk played by James Wong Ka-Lok. Ah Kam gives her all to their relationship, but the outcome is far from happy or inspired. For the third part, Ah Kam adopts an adorable tyke who's in trouble with the triads.
     The first act of the film is by far the best, and features a fascinating glimpse into HK-style moviemaking and numerous fun asides at the industry. Unfortunately, part two seems formulaic and part three is nearly inexcusable. Bizarre hijinks substitute for an actual emotional payoff, and the film ends limply. Yeoh's acting gives depth and humanity to Ah Kam, but the film doesn't match it's tremendous star. It tries to demonstrate Ah Kam's growth as a woman, but the events leading there seem forced and tired. It's only Yeoh's performance - and her bravura stuntwork - that lend the film any credibility. (Kozo 1997)
Note: • Yeoh injured herself seriously during the filming of Ah Kam in a stunt which can be seen over the end credits. Further proof that Yeoh is one tough lady.
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English, Chinese, Japanese Subtitles
image courtesy of the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen