Newest Reviews
It Happened Here
Giant from the Unknown
Top of the Bill
Set It Off
No Way Out
Pitch Perfect 3
Insidious: The Last Key
Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, The
Dirty Carnival, A
King of Hearts
And the Same to You
Racer and the Jailbird
Superman and the Mole-Men
Phantom Thread
Sweet Country
Irma La Douce
Brigsby Bear
Wish Upon
Finding Vivian Maier
Shape of Water, The
Lady Bird
Endless, The
Universal Soldier: The Return
Lean on Pete
Carnival in Flanders
Newest Articles
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
  Missing Between the devil and the deep blue seaBuy this film here.
Year: 2008
Director: Tsui Hark
Stars: Angelica Lee, Isabella Leong, Chang Chen, Guo Xiao-Dong, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Chang Chen-Yue, Pang Mei-Seung, Poon Cheuk-Ming, Lau Goon-Hung, Cheng Sai-Ho, Cheung Chan-Sang, Kan Wan-To, Li Chi-Jun, Chow Chi-Keung, Wong Tak-Sang, Julie Yip
Genre: Horror, Drama, Romance
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Psychologist Jing Gao (Angelica Lee) believes deep sea diving can be used to treat those suffering mental health problems. Her friend Xiao Kei (Isabella Leong) introduces Jing to her brother Dave Chen (Guo Xiao-Dong) and the pair fall deeply in love. Dave plans to propose marriage after taking Jing on a dive to explore an ancient ruin submerged for ten-thousand years, but two weeks later his headless corpse is laid out in a funeral parlour and she has no memory of what happened. While Xiao Kei returns to the ocean hoping to retrieve the missing camcorder that could hold the answer, Jing is reacquainted with her former patient Simon (Chang Chen), who may be schizophrenic or else genuinely able to see ghosts and claims Dave delivered a warning about a dangerous intruder from the other side. He somehow transfers his gift to the traumatized Jing who is subsequently assailed by terrifying spirits of the recently deceased. Meanwhile, Xiao Kei returns home with her brother’s severed head but begins behaving strangely, having brought something else back from the deep.

Just as Joey Wong was once typecast as a lovelorn lady ghost, Angelica Lee has become synonymous with heroines who see dead people. Which on the one hand is a shame because she is a gifted actress, but on the other lends these increasingly derivative films a touch of class. In fact, Missing was originally announced as The Eye 3 and for the bulk of its screen time it seems as if visionary Hong Kong filmmaker Tsui Hark is plodding down the same road, albeit with a nautical theme. Ditching his usual hyperkinetic style for a more languid pace, Hark’s considerable visual gifts yield some hypnotic aquatic imagery. Like James Cameron and Luc Besson before him, he seems drawn to the ocean as an alien landscape at once both entrancing and foreboding.

Hark pulls off a handful of creepy scenes making masterful use of nerve-jangling sound effects and shock imagery, but brazenly restages the famous elevator scare from The Eye (2002). The initial plot thread with the heroine coerced into helping a restless spirit make peace with the earthly realm carries that taint of over-familiarity and a procession of hideous floating, rotting and sometimes exploding ghosts do feel like second hand variations on that iconic earlier film. Then just when are about to lament a once great innovator turning derivative, Hark springs a reality-bending, mid-film twist that flips the preceding hour and twenty minutes on its head, in terms of both plot and characters’ roles within the story. Lee is ably supported by the versatile Isabella Leong, who essentially essays three variations on the same character.

Mixing traditional supernatural beliefs with a psychological character study, Hark spins a tangled, often confusing web that while laudable doesn’t quite sustain his ambitions. No-nonsense horror fans may be aghast that the accent is on romance over true terror, but Hark skilfully teases with a conventional ghost story before delivering something wholly benign. The climactic revelation why Jing can’t see the tape that reveals the real reason behind Guo’s death is rather moving as is the heart-rending conclusion, even though the film drags a little too long.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 1718 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film


Tsui Hark  (1950 - )

Hong Kong director, producer, writer and actor and one of the most important figures in modern Hong Kong cinema. Hark majored in film in the US, before returning to his homeland to work in television. Made his directing debut in 1979 with the horror thriller The Butterfly Murders, while 1983's Zu: Warriors from the Magic Mountain was a spectacular ghost fantasy quite unlike anything in HK cinema at the time. Other key films of this period include Shanghai Blues and the brilliant Peking Opera Blues.

Hark established the Film Workshop production house in 1984, and was responsible for producing such groundbreaking films as John Woo's action classics The Killer and A Better Tomorrow, Ching Siu-Tung's A Chinese Ghost Story and New Dragon Gate Inn, and Yuen Woo-Ping's Iron Monkey. In 1991 Hark revitalised the period martial arts genre and launched the career of Jet Li by directing the hugely successful Once Upon a Time in China, which was followed by several sequels.

Like many Hong Kong directors, Hark gave Hollywood a go in the late nineties and directed Jean-Claude Van Damme in Double Team and Knock Off. He returned home soon after to continue directing and producing movies like Time and Tide, the epic effects-fest Legend of Zu and romantic adventure Seven Swords.

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White


Last Updated: