Site Features
- Asian Film Awards
- Site Recommendations

- Reader Poll Results

- The Sponsor Page
- The FAQ Page
support this site by shopping at
Click to visit
Asian Blu-ray discs at
Hong Kong Nightclub
Year: 1998
Shingo Katori and Anita Yuen
Director: Takayoshi Watanabe
Cast: Shingo Katori, Anita Yuen Wing-Yee, Goro Kishitani, Richard Ng Yiu-Hon, Stephen Au Kam-Tong, Ng Chi-Hung, Moses Chan Ho, Michael Lam Wai-Leung
The Skinny: Anita Yuen moonlights in this Japanese flick co-starring Shingo Katori of the popular band SMAP. This is a strange movie. It's so strange that it must be Japanese. Which it is.
by Kozo:
     This made-in-HK Japanese flick is a well-meaning, thoughtful project that tries to cram comedy, drama, action, romance, and gay themes into two hours. It does - but that doesn’t mean it’s a good movie. 
     Shibata (SMAP member Shingo Katori) is a photographer assigned to cover the “dark side” of Hong Kong with his partner Takegami (Goro Kishitani). They find it in the form of a drug deal that ends in murder. Sadly, they’re discovered by the culprits, led by seasoned mobster Ng Chi-Hung. They grab Shibata’s passport, so the two disguise themselves as a vacationing Japanese couple - with Shibata as the woman.
Then things get really strange. They stumble into a nightclub where they’re mistaken for a cabaret act by the club goers. Thanks to the shenanigans of magician Richard Ng, the two manage to stay on in their adopted identities of Touch and Maggie. That’s fine with Shibata, because he falls for the club’s lead singer Cora (Anita Yuen), who in turn falls for Touch. There’s just one big hitch: Touch is gay, and in love with Shibata. As you could expect, these misdirected emotions lead to more hijinks than you can shake a stick at - and most of it is uninteresting at that.
     With such a high-concept premise and obvious production values, you’d think that Hong Kong Nightclub would be an obvious success. Not so. The film lacks coherence, the characters depth, and the film a discernible heart. It’s hard for us to see who and what we should care about. The closest the film comes to an emotional anchor is the romance between Shibata and Cora, and even that seems forced - mostly because of the language gap between the two stars. Yuen and Katori communicate through English, and not Japanese or Cantonese, meaning we get double the broken English. 
     On the plus side, Katori is a likable actor and Yuen is sincere and photogenic. Goro Kishitani is the most interesting of the three leads, but he plays the most inexplicable character. In fact, most of the characters are inexplicable. 
     The film has some charm here and there, but it’s mostly due to the fascination factor. Anita Yuen speaking English! Sexual assault! Cross dressing! Cool costumes! Totally unbelievable plot holes! Extraneous commentary on the 1997 Handover! There is some entertainment watching this film, but it’s scattered in unknown places. Slogging through the picture to get to it is only for the most die-hard Anita Yuen fan, or someone who simply has an Asian culture fixation. Overall this is an amusing curiosity, but not an out-and-out winner. (Kozo 1998)
Notes: • This is not a Hong Kong film. It's a Japanese film. Like Takako Tokiwa making Moonlight Express, Chinese stars sometimes head to Japan to make movies. However, one wishes they weren't this bad.
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen