Out of the Dark

1995 Directed by Jeff Lau. Starring Stephen Chaiu, Mok Man-Wai, Wong Yit-Fei.

REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Oct. 20, 1995

Talented fantasy director Jeff Lau and comedy superstar Stephen Chaiu Sing-chi, whose recent collaborative efforts include the ambitious Chinese Oydessy films, pool their talents once again to bring us this bizarre question mark of a movie. It is without a doubt, the weirdest movie of the year. Out of the Dark chronicles some tenants' exploits to rid their building of pesky spirits. Luckily for them, they have the help of an expert ghost fighter, played by Chaiu, who also happens, unfortunately, to be a crazed lunatic who believes himself to be “Leon,” the character played by Jean Reno in The Professional. As if that weren't enough, after seeing Leon in action, a young, lovelorn girl falls for him, going so far as to dress up like Natalie Portman's character from the same Luc Besson film just to get his attention. The pair, along with Leon's beloved plant, soon team up with a handful of cowardly security guards to rid the building of ghosts once and for all. A box-office failure in Hong Kong and reviled by stateside fans, Out of the Dark is apparently Lau's attempt to return to his horror/comedy roots (he was responsible for the great Haunted Cop Shop series), as well as a chance to cut loose after helming the plot-heavy Chinese Odyessy films. For my money, it functions well enough as an entertaining waste of time; it's just too ridiculous not to be at least a little bit fun. Lau takes shameless pot-shots at everything from Poltergeist to Pulp Fiction, and Chaiu gives what must be his most deranged performance to date. The rest of the cast eagerly follows suit, all making asses of themselves with a similarly maniacal enthusiasm. Since this kind of lunacy is obviously an acquired taste, I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend Out of the Dark to casual moviegoers, or even to fans of Chaiu's other work; but if an evening of buck-toothed ghostbusters, exploding breasts, falling refrigerators, expanding penises, severed heads, and other assorted madness sounds like a good time (its midnight time slot is truly appropriate), then this ludicrous bit of nonsense just might be your cup of tea.

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