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Undying Heart
Year: 2006
Andrew Lin and Flora Chan
Director: Gary Mak Wing-Lun
Cast: Flora Chan Wai-Shan, Andrew Lin Hoi, Natalie Ng Man-Yan, Carl Ng Ka-Lung, Lam Suet, Lau Cheu-Kei, Ken Wong Hap-Hei, Tony Ho Wah-Chiu, Law Lan, Eddie Peng Wai-On, Otto Wong Chi-On, Roderick Lam Chung-Kei
The Skinny: B-list actors populate this ill-conceived drama, which attempts many genres and succeeds at none of them. The filmmakers could have made this into a semi-successful film, but somehow I doubt it. Those who ache to see Flora Chan's bare back can rejoice.
by Kozo:

      Undying Heart barely had a theatrical release in Hong Kong, playing precious few theaters before being shunted to DVD courtesy of Kam & Ronson. All things considered, you may not wish to know anything more about the film. Andrew Lin stars as Wah, an average Hong Kong guy with an unenviable yuppie lifestyle. Wah's live-in girlfriend Karen (Natalie Ng) pesters him to get married, plus she also harangues him for smoking, not folding the laundry, and watching TV with the volume on too loud. They even have scheduled sex every Wednesday, though one wonders why such a lousy home life hasn't made him impotent yet. One also wonders why Karen hasn't dumped Wah for being morose and uninteresting.
     Wah perks up when his old flame Nam (Flora Chan) reenters his life. Nam disappeared from school under mysterious circumstances, and was previously mute and a little frumpy. Now she's sexy and has full command of her voice. Wah begins to spend all his spare time with Nam such that he can realize his long-gestating dream: to bake her a cake for her birthday. However, there's suspicious activity afoot. Nam sometimes coughs like she's mysteriously ill, Nam's uncle Fat (Lam Suet) is spying on Wah and Karen, and Nam even has her cousin Ken (Carl Ng) shadowing Karen at work. With Wah off attending to Nam, Karen starts to fall for Ken, and the movie looks like it's going to become some sort of sappy K-Drama rip-off special. But there's also the case of old college pal Matt (Ken Wong), who gets all jittery whenever he sees Nam. What's his deal, and more importantly, why has Nam returned after all these years?
     Undying Heart seems to be a mixture of genres, which would be fine if it could deliver on any of them properly. Unfortunately, it can't, leaving audiences with a limp relationship drama spiced up with occasional forays into mystery, revenge thriller, and supernatural romance. The key behind Nam's return could prove unsettling, but the drama is handled in an incredibly ill-conceived manner. Basically, Nam suffered a terrible ordeal during her college days, which should leave her burning for some sort of revenge. However, instead of seeking revenge, she treats everyone benevolently, like a walking billboard for Christian values. Not that there's anything wrong with that message, but considering what happened to her, the filmmakers get it all wrong. Tough situations should be treated with tough emotions, and Undying Heart infuriatingly sidesteps that. What should be the film's most pressing conflict practically becomes a footnote.
     With revenge a non-factor, it's the soap opera lives of the various couples which take up the most screentime - which is an unfortunate turn of events because nothing that happens with the couples is novel or interesting. Gary Mak's direction is colorless, making the screenplay's faults all the more noticeable. Characters behave in bewildering ways, and some revelations are treated without the impact they probably should be. This may not matter anyway, as it's hard to imagine that anyone other than hardcore fans of the actors would give Undying Heart the time of day. At the very least, the film delivers on the promise of Flora Chan's "sensual performance" (a direct quote from the DVD), which in Hong Kong Cinema terms means an exposed back and some heavy breathing during her love scene with Andrew Lin - not stuff to get all hot-blooded about, really. Still for hardcore Flora Chan fans, this may be big news, and the DVD makers even reward the faithful by compiling all the multiple takes into a DVD extra. If you consider yourself one of those faithful, then congratulations: Undying Heart is meant for you. It's just not meant for the rest of us. (Kozo 2006)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Kam & Ronson
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
B-roll footage

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