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The Two Individual Package Women

UPS Delivery! Elena Kong (left) and Cheung Man (right) are the Two Individual Package Women.
Year: 2003  
Director: Lau Kwok-Fai  
Producer: Ng King-Hung, Takkie Yeung Yat-Tak  
Cast: Cheung Man, Elena Kong Mei-Yi, Alfred Cheung Ki-Ting, Cheung Wai, Patrick Tang Kin-Won, Sek Sau, Karen Tong Bo-Yu, Jason Chu Wing-Tong
The Skinny: The greatest film title of the year! This cheapie drama actually proves better than most shot-on-video productions, but the story and execution never rise above throwaway TV fare. Featuring the return of Cheung Man!
by Kozo:
     This interestingly-titled digital video entry offers some decent selling points. Chief among them is the return of Cheung Man, who hasn't been seen onscreen since the mid-nineties. The Two Individual Package Women also features a more film-like video image, which reduces the harsh contrast normally associated with shot-on-video productions. And, the film offers us Alfred Cheung as—get this—a desirable romantic lead! Will wonders never cease? Yet despite these positives (?), The Two Individual Package Women never amounts to more than letterboxed TV melodrama.
     The film is separated into two parts, each relating a story on women and the never-ending struggle with the men in their lives. Story one features Cheung Man as Christy, a Hong Kong model who gets jerked over by all her men, the most recent being ladykiller Yung (Jason Chu of Young and Dangerous fame). While we suspend our disbelief over any man dumping Cheung Man, she proceeds to get involved with not one, but two new suitors. Suitor one is Johnny (Cheung Wai), a rich businessman who claims to both love AND respect Christy. Suitor two is waaay down the food chain: DHL deliveryman Ming (Patrick Tang), who acts so childishly cute that Christy can't help but be drawn in. Christy must choose between the men, but she waffles until a household accident occurs. Now injured and confined to the house, she suddenly finds an opportunity to see just how much devotion and/or respect these men have for her.
     Story two features ATV star Elena Kong as Helena, a housewife who spends her days rubbing moisturizer on her hands and worrying about her relationship with husband Jason (Sek Sau). He's an always-busy go-getter, and frequently ignores his neurotic wife. Among other issues, Helena is worried about her aging skin, and feels threatened by the abundance of younger women who just might steal her man. Ultimately, she just wants to feel loved, which Jason just doesn't do. Luckily she meets Keith (Alfred Cheung, who's described here as "handsome"), who's in Hong Kong to sell his house, after which he'll return to his wife and daughter in Canada. The two strike up an immediate attraction, which causes Helena to consider infidelity on her possibly straying husband. Yet, will that solve her personal issues?
     Like most shot-on-video productions, this cheapie is low-tech and without any obvious bells and whistles. Not surprisingly, it was produced by cheap bastards B&S Films, who also made the manufactured drama Sai Kung Story. In comparison to that lacking piece of magnetically-recorded cinema, The Two Individual Package Women is one accomplished motion picture. The conflicts and situations presented manage some decently played drama, and the actresses do what they can with the material. No easy answers are provided, and the emotions occasionally defy expectations. This is garbage by Ann Hui standards, but for shot-on-video stuff it's not bad.
      Still, saying that the movie is "not bad for a video production" is a rather large qualifier. Since this movie is on video, it resembles some sort of afternoon soap opera that you'd see on ATV or TVB, which significantly lowers one's expectations. It's not hard to sit back and simply watch the movie without thinking, as it does just enough to keep interest. What it doesn't do is achieve anything remotely cinematic. This film presents its situations in a competently maudlin manner, and provides enough melodrama to create some conflict, but the filmmakers don't use the power of cinema in any meaningful way.
Cinema can use images and sound to create an experience that affects its viewer, and the inert way The Two Individual Package Women goes about its business is uninspired and rather limp. The result: stuff to watch while your significant other is at work, and you're stuck at home ironing the laundry. One could attempt to dissect the film's title and obvious metaphorical implications (Women as packages? Hmmmm...), but nothing that happens here truly merits that effort. (Kozo 2003)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Modern Audio
Shot on Video
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Modern Audio International, Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen