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Virtual Recall (DVD) (US Version) DVD Region All

Stephen Fung (Actor) | Cherrie Ying (Actor) | Tang Yi Fei (Actor) | Simon Lui (Actor)
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YesAsia Editorial Description

Stephen Fung, Cherrie Ying, and Tang Yifei are trapped in the nightmarish world of Virtual Recall! Based on the best-selling novel "Symbiosis" by Lam Wing Sum (writer of Magic Kitchen's original novel), the film from director Cheung Hoi Ching (Devil's Vindata) is a psychological thriller with an eclectic mix of mystery, romance, and the scientific concept of the parallel universes. Besides Stephen and Cherrie, the incredible universe of Virtual Recall is also populated by fellow Hong Kong actors such as Sammul Chan, Samuel Pang, Mandy Chiang, Tin Kai Man, and Simon Lui.

Fortunately, it doesn't take an Einstein to make sense of the plots. Psychiatrist Dr. Xiao Tingqin (Tang Yifei) has taken in a mental patient named Shen Liushuang (Cherrie Ying), a beautiful woman who claims to have special powers. In her treatment of Liushuang, Tingqin begins to encounter a series of inexplicable happenings. Meanwhile, Tingqin's marriage with senior cop Zhen Shanlin (Stephen Fung) is on the rocks when she finds out about his affair, which somehow is connected with the mysterious killer hot in her pursuit. As Tingqin finds herself fallen under the control of Liushuang, the only way to break free from her endless nightmares is to escape through the "wormhole" into an alternate reality!

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Technical Information

Product Title: Virtual Recall (DVD) (US Version) 異空危情 (DVD) (美國版) 异空危情 (DVD) (美国版) 異空危情 (DVD) (US版) Virtual Recall (DVD) (US Version)
Artist Name(s): Stephen Fung (Actor) | Cherrie Ying (Actor) | Tang Yi Fei (Actor) | Simon Lui (Actor) | Astrid Chan (Actor) | Sammul Chan (Actor) | Samuel Pang (Actor) | Li Hui (Actor) | Mandy Chiang (Actor) 馮德倫 (Actor) | 應 采兒 (Actor) | 唐一菲 (Actor) | 雷宇揚 (Actor) | 陳芷菁 (Actor) | 陳鍵鋒 (Actor) | 彭敬慈 (Actor) | 李卉 (Actor) | Mandy 蔣雅文 (Actor) 冯德伦 (Actor) | 应 采儿 (Actor) | 唐一菲 (Actor) | 雷宇扬 (Actor) | 陈芷菁 (Actor) | 陈键锋 (Actor) | 彭敬慈 (Actor) | 李卉 (Actor) | 蒋雅文 (Mandy) (Actor) 馮徳倫(スティーブン・フォン) (Actor) | 應采兒 (チェリー・イン) (Actor) | Tang Yi Fei (Actor) | 雷宇楊(ルイ・ユーヨン) (Actor) | 陳芷菁(チャン・ツェチン) (Actor) | サミュル・チャン (Actor) | 彭敬慈 (サミュエル・パン) (Actor) | Li Hui (Actor) | 蒋雅文(マンディ・チァン) (Actor) Stephen Fung (Actor) | Cherrie Ying (Actor) | Tang Yi Fei (Actor) | Simon Lui (Actor) | Astrid Chan (Actor) | Sammul Chan (Actor) | Samuel Pang (Actor) | Li Hui (Actor) | Mandy Chiang (Actor)
Director: ZHANG HAI JING 張海靖 ZHANG HAI JING 張海靖(チャン・ハイジンン) ZHANG HAI JING
Release Date: 2011-08-22
Language: Cantonese, Mandarin
Subtitles: English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
Country of Origin: Hong Kong
Picture Format: NTSC What is it?
Aspect Ratio: 1.78 : 1
Widescreen Anamorphic: Yes
Disc Format(s): DVD-5, DVD
Region Code: All Region What is it?
Rating: IIA
Duration: 95 (mins)
Publisher: Tai Seng Video (US)
Package Weight: 120 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1024761403

Product Information

Director: zhang Hai Jing

At the luxurious Yee Low Mental Sanatorium, psychiatrist Xiao Tingqin (Tang Yifei) is assigned the case of "special" patient Sum Liu-sheung (Cherrie Ying), who claims to live both in the real world and 12 parallel universes, and appears to have special powers. As soon as they meet, Sum starts playing mind-games with Xiao, whose one-year-old marriage to independently wealthy policeman Zhen Shanlin (Stephen Fung) is already under serious strain, due to her workaholic and her aversion to being touched by him. Sum introduces Xiao to the scientific concept of "worm-holes", through which one can travel in time and to parallet universes, and stirs memories in Xiao of her past relationship both with Zhen and her first love, Ji Lu. Zhen's friendship with gourmet-food shop-owner Gu Xilin has also put further strain on her marriage, and one day, meeting them in the street, she starts to wonder whether Sum has enabled her to experience parallel versions of her life.
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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Virtual Recall (DVD) (US Version)"

September 19, 2011

Virtual Recall is a mind-bending, genre-blending thriller that combines romance, psychological drama and ambitious science fiction elements in an attempt to explore the theme of parallel universes. Adapted from the popular novel "Symbiosis" by Lam Wing Sum (who also wrote Magic Kitchen), the film draws upon the wormhole theories of Stephen Hawking, trying to add a little scientific reasoning behind its grand ideas. Directed by Cheung Hoi Ching (Devil's Vindata), the film was headlined by Stephen Fung (House of Fury), Cherrie Ying (My Left Eye Sees Ghosts), and Tang Yifei (Future X-Cops), with support from Hong Kong regulars TVB star Sammul Chan, Samuel Pang (recently in the PTU spin off Tactical Unit series), Mandy Chiang (Yes, I Can See Dead People), and Troublesome Night veteran Simon Lui.

The labyrinth plot follows Tang Yifei as top psychiatrist Dr. Xiao Tingqin, charged with trying to cure the mysterious and beautiful Shen Liushuang (Cherrie Ying), who just happens to believe she has special powers and the ability to see parallel universes. As she spends more time with the alluring woman, Tingqin finds herself being drawn into her claims and theories, opening her eyes to the consequences of the decisions she has made in her life. Strange things start to happen and her sense of reality is troubled as she is pursued by a knife wielding killer, and her relationship with her cop husband Zhen Shanlin (Stephen Fung) is put under strain as she realises he has been having an affair.

It doesn't take long for it to become abundantly obvious that Virtual Recall is an odd affair, if for no other reason that Tingqin is clearly the worst psychiatrist ever, agreeing to play Russian roulette with her patient, then taking her out for Thai boxing and generally doing whatever she is told, apparently just because of Liushuang's mysterious eyes. The whole thing does frequently feel like several films thrown together, with the science fiction elements in particular being rather leftfield, despite the inclusion of a ponderous voiceover to try and soothe the nerves of confused viewers. Weirdly, this all works quite well and the film does hold the interest despite its utter lack of sense, and though baffling and proudly silly, it's entertaining throughout and never really has a dull moment. There's certainly a great deal going on, with the mystery, psycho-drama and thriller elements all butting heads as Tingqin is chased by the dreadlock wig wearing maniac whilst possibly flipping in and out of other realities, punctuated by scenes of exposition that are tangential at best. Added to this are a few vague action sequences and some mild flashes of lingerie and semi nudity, not to mention one of the best and funniest death scenes for some time (Sammul Chan, take a bow), all ensuring that the film really does make for a great deal of wacky fun.

Most of the credit or blame for the film't enjoyable eccentricity lies squarely with director Cheung Hoi Ching, who shoots the whole thing like some kind of 1980s music video or commercial, with some hilariously awful special effects that appear to have been done with a computer paint package, along with some ill-conceived flashy editing techniques. Most amusingly, he works in an impressive number of bizarre sudden cuts to reaction shots and zooming camera angles, usually involving Tang Yifei and being repeated three or more times, accompanied by random whooshing noises. The film also packs in lots of sappy montages and flashbacks, often with amusingly unconvincing efforts to make the cast look younger and made all the funnier by a bouncy pop soundtrack which bubbles away constantly in the background with little concern for mood or drama.

The cast also play a large part in making the film so much fun, uniformly over acting throughout and making the very most of the script's many ridiculously melodramatic moments. Pretty much everyone seems to be zoned out, spending a fair amount of the running time staring off into the distance rather than each other - special mention goes to Stephen Fung for an awesome flashback scene during which he runs into a street sign without actually coming close to hitting it. This of course gives rise to the question as to whether or not Cheung Hoi Ching conceived the film as a comedy rather than as a far-reaching science fiction psychological drama, as it's a little hard to believe that this much incompetence could be anything other than purposeful.

Ultimately, the answer to this doesn't really matter, as while Virtual Recall is undeniably a mess, it's also a very entertaining one, challenging the berserk Mysterious Island for the title of the most chaotic and entertaining piece of cinematic ineptitude for some time. Indeed, so much of the film is so jaw-droppingly odd that it functions very well indeed as a boisterous comedy, and viewers or fans of the weird and far-out who approach it as such are pretty much guaranteed a good, if mystifying time.

by James Mudge - BeyondHollywood.com

Editor's Pick of "Virtual Recall (DVD) (US Version)"

Picked By Rockman
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September 22, 2011

The cult film of 2011
Many people think that an entertaining film is a good film. If that is the only standard we judge a film's quality by, then Virtual Recall should be considered the masterpiece of the century. Director Larry Cheung's sci-fi/romantic drama/action thriller is undoubtedly a film that consistently has new ways to entertain its audience, throwing out one unexpected moment after another until it reaches a memorable climax. The problem is that Virtual Recall is also a mess of a film with inexplicably bad directing, laughably over-the-top performance, and a script that passes the thin line between fantasy and absurdity by several miles.


Don't dismiss Cheung's film so easily, though. Making an inept film is simple, because it simply refers to a director falling back on lazy cliches, uninspired camera angles, or a neglect of continuity. There's no doubt that Cheung's choices as director are the stuff that bad movies are made of, but they are also so strange that it ends up distracting you from the story's contrived premise and logic-free script. From one of the most hilarious automobile accidents since Fit Lover to computer-generated bubbles that will remind you of your avatar in Wii Play, Cheung's work here is so terrible that it can only be intentional. If that is the case, then Cheung has a lot of potential to become Hong Kong's next great cult director.


The story, if it still matters, does run on an interesting (though not necessarily original) idea: There are multiple universes in this world, and we're all leading different lives in each of them. The problem is that the woman who puts that theory in use is Tianqin (Tang Yi Fei), possibly the worst psychiatrist in the history of bad psychiatrists. Not only does she allow her mentally unstable patient (Cherrie Ying) keep a gun in her room for games of Russian Roulette, she also takes that very patient out of the sanitarium for meditation and conversations about her crumbling marriage to Shanlin (Stephen Fung). The meditation eventually works, and Tianqin is suddenly able to travel to other universes, where her relationship with Shanlin meets drastically different outcomes.


Very little of the plot and the science here make sense, because Virtual Recall seems to be conceived by a student who only took the basic introductory course for every subject the film covers (including scriptwriting). The student then trys to conceal that fact by having the characters literally pull out a book every time a scientific concept is being explained. The script even tries to cover its own plot holes by coming up with an explanation so ludicrous that it must have been ripped from M. Night Shyamalan's notebook. Nevertheless, at least Cheung attempts to make better use of scientific concepts than most Hong Kong films these days, and he should at least get a gold star for making that trip to the library.


I firmly believe one must first try the worst of everything in order to be able to appreciate the good. Virtual Recall is truly a bad film in spectacular ways, and finding out what those bad things are can make a good exercise in learning what makes a good film. Even for those who can't benefit from that, Virtual Recall is still a film that never ceases to surprise, amuse, and shock. For that, it is an inspired piece of filmmaking that should be remembered as the cult film of 2011. Many will choose to ignore it, but those with the courage to take the journey will no doubt find themselves strangely entranced by the wonderful oddity that is Virtual Recall.

This original content has been created by or licensed to YesAsia.com, and cannot be copied or republished in any medium without the express written permission of YesAsia.com.

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