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Rigor Mortis (DVD) (US Version) DVD Region 1

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Rigor Mortis (DVD) (US Version)
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All Editions Rating: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

YesAsia Editorial Description

A tribute to the classic 80s vampire movie Mr. Vampire, singer-turned-director Juno Mak's cult directorial debut Rigor Mortis, starring the original cast of Chin Siu Ho, Anthony Chan, Richard Ng, Billy Lau and Chung Fa as well as veteran actors Paw Hee Ching and Kara Hui, is one of the finest surprises in Chinese cinema in 2013. Produced by Japanese horror master Shimizu Takashi, the Category III thriller revives long-lost Hong Kong vampire folklore and renews the horror genre by combining hopping Chinese vampires and Japanese-style haunted ghosts into an inventive horror film based on the famous vampire hunters Chin Siu Ho and Anthony Chan played in the 80s. Nominated for three 2013 Golden Horse awards including Best New Director and Best Makeup & Costume Design, Rigor Mortis is praised for its stylish shooting, creative visual effects and intriguingly unearthly atmosphere rarely seen in Chinese cinema.

Rising to fame with his role as a vampire hunter in the movie Mr. Vampire in the 80s, action star Siu Ho (Chin Siu Ho) is now a down-and-out middle-aged man who lives alone in the haunted unit numbered 2442 in a public estate. With a broken family and a career that has gone downhill, Siu Ho tries to end his life in his own apartment but ends up having his body possessed by a pair of twin ghosts. Saved by exorcist Ah Yau (Anthony Chan), Siu Ho decides to help his ex-tenant Yeung Fung (Kara Hui) and her son after finding out about their family tragedy. Aunt Mui (Paw Hee Ching), a kindhearted old lady in the neighborhood, has a secret coffin hidden in her flat which foreshadows the beginning of a mysterious bloodshed.

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Technical Information

Product Title: Rigor Mortis (DVD) (US Version) 殭屍 (DVD) (美國版) 僵尸 (DVD) (美国版) Rigor Mortis (DVD) (US Version) Rigor Mortis (DVD) (US Version)
Artist Name(s): Chin Siu Ho | Richard Ng | Nina Paw | Lo Hoi Pang | Kara Hui | Billy Lau | Chung Fa | Anthony Chan 錢小豪 | 吳耀漢 | 鮑起靜 | 盧海鵬 | 惠 英紅 | 樓南光 | 鍾發 | 陳友 钱小豪 | 吴耀汉 | 鲍起静 | 卢海鹏 | 惠 英红 | 楼南光 | 锺发 | 陈友 錢小豪(チン・シウホウ) | 呉耀漢(リチャード・ン) | 鮑起靜 (パウ・ヘイチン) | 廬海鵬(ロー・ホイパン) | 恵英紅(クララ・ワイ) | 樓南光(ビリー・ラウ) | 鍾發(チョン・ファ) | 陳友(アンソニー・チャン) Chin Siu Ho | Richard Ng | Nina Paw | Lo Hoi Pang | Kara Hui | Billy Lau | Chung Fa | Anthony Chan
Director: Juno Mak 麥浚龍 麦浚龙 麥浚龍(ジュノ・マック) Juno Mak
Producer: Shimizu Takashi 清水崇 清水崇 清水崇 Shimizu Takashi
Release Date: 2014-07-08
UPC Code: 812491015278
Language: English, Cantonese
Subtitles: English
Place of Origin: United States, Hong Kong
Disc Format(s): DVD
Region Code: 1 - USA, Canada, U.S. Territories What is it?
Package Weight: 95 (g)
Shipment Unit: 1 What is it?
YesAsia Catalog No.: 1035503960

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YumCha! Asian Entertainment Reviews and Features

Professional Review of "Rigor Mortis (DVD) (US Version)"

January 29, 2014

This professional review refers to Rigor Mortis (2013) (Blu-ray) (Hong Kong Version)
Juno Mak, the once-maligned singer and now steady accumulator of artistic cred, makes his directorial debut with Rigor Mortis, a well-made and visually-arresting horror thriller that pays tribute to a unique Hong Kong film genre: the geung si (or Chinese vampire) movie. Mak's tools are legion: Besides an assist from producer Takashi Shimizu (director of the Juon or Grudge films), Mak pays respect to genre classic Mr. Vampire by bringing back that film's stars Chin Siu-Ho and Anthony Chan, along with Billy Lau in a minor role. Rigor Mortis even nods to Mr. Vampire's departed cast members Lam Ching-Ying and Ricky Hui by having them appear via photographs. Add a stylish desaturated look, spiffy visual effects, existential crises and copious meta-references and you have a deliberately postmodern genre update that's impressive if not entirely accomplished.

Washed up horror film star Siu-Ho (Chin Siu-Ho, essentially playing himself) moves into a desolate, haunted housing estate where a murder-suicide occurred that psychologically scarred surviving housewife Feng (Kara Hui). Meanwhile, the estate houses two Taoist masters who handle real supernatural issues: Brother Yau (Anthony Chan) wards off evil spirits in between serving customers at his canteen, while Gau (Chung Fat a.k.a. the Crazy Moustache Guy from Yes, Madam!) engages in darker mysticism. When seamstress Auntie Mui (Bau Hei-Jing) suffers a tragedy, Gau comes to her aid, using his special skills to bring back a loved one. Settling in, Siu-Ho struggles with his depressed existence and acclimates himself to the estate and its residents, while Gau's creation slowly comes to life. Or a semblance of life, anyway.

A vampire roaming a housing estate is obviously not a good thing, so Siu-Ho and Brother Yau eventually team for a Taoist takedown involving slow-motion martial arts, blood-powered mysticism and even more desaturated visuals. Rather than make the cultural details – some authentic, some not – accessible to all audiences, Mak allows specifics to remain enigmatic, reducing expository chaff and giving the visuals stronger voice. This emphasis helps smooth over some narrative issues while highlighting the power of the film's revamped Chinese vampire. Like the famous eighties films, this vampire hops, but in ominous slow motion, and when he needs it he's fast enough to match Siu-Ho in battle. The blood and violence amped considerably, Mak's film ably reinvents the genre for a global audience, replacing that loose, somewhat silly Hong Kong Cinema feeling with a stylish and reverent horror-thriller tone.

The copious style and striking visuals help mask some problems, the biggest one being Siu-Ho's muddled storyline, which is ostensibly the throughline of the film. Siu-Ho's story is one of personal redemption, but it gets tripped up by uneven development and some last-second, unnecessarily pretentious twists. Neither Mak's story nor Chin Siu-Ho's portrayal can give the character earned weight or meaning. The other actors shore things up nicely. Anthony Chan shows great presence in a serious variation on his previous Mr. Vampire character, while Chung Fat and Richard Ng (as a key resident in the building) provide satisfyingly dark counterpoint to their comic histrionics from the eighties. The standout is Bau Hei-Jing, however, who essays her compromised character strongly and gets the film's most devastating and emotional scene. Juno Mak pulled the strings though, so a hearty thumbs up to him too.

Rigor Mortis could also have benefitted from more humor. The film's inspirations were loaded with physical and situation comedy, which Mak deliberately avoids for his modern reworking. Not that comedy is necessary for a Chinese vampire film, but the mix of genres and emotions was always one of Hong Kong Cinema's greatest joys, and Rigor Mortis could use more surprises or emotions to change-up its bleak, foreboding tone. Lacking that, Mak compensates with profanity – especially in the Category III version that played at international fests – and there's some amusement in seeing an old timer like Richard Ng swear a blue streak. Overall, Rigor Mortis is a triumph of style over substance, with technical polish and visual panache taking precedence over earned emotion and good old-fashioned fun. With the sliding scale in place, that's a more than respectable achievement. Juno Mak: You've come a long way.

by Kozo - LoveHKFilm.com

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.

Customer Review of "Rigor Mortis (DVD) (US Version)"

Average Customer Rating for All Editions of this Product: Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10 (1)

Kevin Kennedy
See all my reviews


September 7, 2014

This customer review refers to Rigor Mortis (2013) (DVD) (Hong Kong Version)
1 people found this review helpful

Hell House of 72 Tenants? Customer Review Rated Bad 8 - 8 out of 10
"Rigor Mortis" seeks to revive the hopping vampire genre by adding a postmodern twist. Gone is the goofy comedy that characterized old school flicks like "Mr. Vampire", here replaced with existential dread, grim horror, and startling special effects. With 20-something Juno Mak at the helm, one might have expected "Rigor Mortis" to seek a youthful audience by loading the cast with currently trendy stars. Instead, the filmmakers fill the screen with grizzled veterans, many of whom starred in "Mr. Vampire". Director Mak takes full advantage of the cast's wealth of experience by drawing from them searing performances.

Chin Siu Ho, veteran action star of the '80s, stars as Chin Siu Ho, veteran action star of the '80s (!), whose career, marriage, and relationship with his son all have fizzled. At the end of his rope (pun intended), Siu Ho rents an apartment in Hong Kong's most dilapidated tenement. (The film's washed-out grey palette heightens the shabbiness.) He doesn't intend a long stay; he plans to hang himself. Other tenants intervene to save his life, but not before we learn that Siu Ho's apartment is haunted by twin ghosts and that the tenement is home to two masters of the supernatural, Gau (Chung Fa), a tubercular Taoist who dabbles in the dark arts, and Yau (Anthony Chan), who earns his keep with a streetside restaurant since he no longer finds much demand for his vampire hunting profession.

Also residing in the building are Mui (Paw Hee Ching) and Tung (Richard Ng), a loving elderly couple. Tung tumbles to his death on the building's stairway, but Mui can't abide losing her husband. She seeks the help of the Taoist master, and the movie's central plot is set in motion as Tung is transformed. When the twin ghosts choose to take up residence within Tung's undead body, all heck breaks loose. Yau, Gau, and Siu Ho attempt to resurrect their empty lives by putting an end to the hopping beast.

Anthony Chan leavens the dread with a pinch of irascible humor. Kara Hui is superb as the tenement's resident crazy woman, while Paw Hee Ching makes viewers feel the depth of her grief at the sudden loss of her husband, allowing us to make sense of her determination to restore him to life no matter the consequences. I found the film's ending perplexing; what Yau is attempting to do to stop the vampire is unexplained and, to me, indiscernible. This cavil aside, horror fans should embrace Juno Mak's debut directorial effort.
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