films seen
16
average score
2.84*
nationality
Hong Kong - 61 years old
status
Alive and kicking
more info

Unconventional Hong Kong director who made his fair share of genre films, just never quite like the rest. Chan's oeuvre is somewhat inconsistent, but it's a valuable collection of films that holds a good number of positive surprises.

Rare treats

Hollywood Hong Kong poster

Hollywood Hong Kong

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Heung Gong Yau Gok Hor Lei Wood
Specifics: Hong Kong [2001] - 108 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
4.5

The film is visually impressive, boasts a distinctive and attractive soundtrack, features an interesting and cool story and is supported by a cast of strong actors.

Solid pieces

The Midnight After poster

The Midnight After

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Na Yeh Ling San, Ngo Joa Seung Liu Wong Gok Hoi Wong Dai Bou Dik Hung Van
Specifics: Hong Kong [2014] - 124 mins
Genre: Sci-fi, Mystery
More info on :IMDb
3.5

Normally I like to use the original title in my reviews (or at least the transliteration of the original title), but in the case of Fruit Chan's Hollywood Hong Kong) latest feature Na Yeh Ling San, Ngo Joa Seung Liu Wong Gok Hoi Wong Dai Bou Dik Hung Van it would become just a little too ridiculous, so instead I'll just be sticking with The Midnight After.

I've seen my share of Fruit Chan films through the years and even though I certainly didn't like all of them, his films are always worth a gamble. Even when one of them fails to engage there's always something to like or admire. The Midnight After is a kind of culmination of everything he has done before, yet at the same time it feels like a completely new direction for Chan.

Based on an online novel, The Midnight After is part sci-fi, part mystery. Not a very popular or common combination for a Hong Kong film. The film starts like many of its American counterparts, with a random group of people meeting on a bus, only to be transported to some mysterious, alternate version of Hong Kong a little while later. In their universe, all people have disappeared, apart from a cloaked figure wearing a gas mask who follows them around. It's a typical setup for a horror flick (think Reeker), but that's when things start to get a bit weird.

Chan's characters aren't your usual horror fodder though. They are more aware, quickly citing possible scenarios that could've been used as the film's twist ending (like "we had an accident and we're in a limbo between life and death"). He doesn't stick to one particular genre either, adding post-apocalyptic elements, some lighter comedy bits and some genuine weirdness (the Major Tom scene). And if you think it'll all make sense in the end, you're in for a neat little surprise (or disappointment if you really need closure).

The Midnight After is a film that breaks with many genre traditions, instead focusing on its group of characters and building a boundless film around them. Actors like Simon Yam, Kara Hui and Lam Suet put in a decent effort, while You-Nam Wong fares well as the film's lead. The film isn't 100% serious (even though some scenes are quite nasty to watch) so you'll have to deal with the typical Hong Kong overacting from time to time, but that's only to be expected.

Fruit Chan's latest is a peculiar film. It doesn't stick to one single genre, it doesn't really compare to other films (even though it draws inspiration from many different genres), it doesn't even strife for a homogeneous atmosphere. Instead it's a flamboyant trip that reflects the many aspects of current-day Hong Kong and makes sure to trip up the viewer wherever possible. There are some moments of genius here, at other times the film fails to truly engage. But whatever you'll be thinking when you walk out of it, it's definitely worth a shot as it is one of the more unique films I've seen all year.

Tales from the Dark Part 1 poster

Tales from the Dark Part 1

by Fruit Chan, Chi-Ngai Lee, Simon Yam
Specifics: Hong Kong [2013] - 114 mins
Genre: Horror
More info on :IMDb
3.5
Three... Extremes poster

Three... Extremes

by Fruit Chan, Takashi Miike, Chan-wook Park
Also know as: Saam Gaang Yi
Specifics: Japan, Hong Kong [2004] - 125 mins
Genre: Horror
More info on :IMDb
3.5
Dumplings poster

Dumplings

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Jiao Zi
Specifics: Hong Kong [2004] - 91 mins
Genre: Horror
More info on :IMDb
3.5
Made in Hong Kong poster

Made in Hong Kong

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Heung Gong Jai Jo
Specifics: Hong Kong [1997] - 109 mins
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance, Crime
More info on :IMDb
3.5

The inoffensive

1:99 Shorts poster

1:99 Shorts

by Fruit Chan, Teddy Chan, Stephen Chow, Wai-Keung Lau, Joe Ma, Alan Mak, Johnnie To, Brian Tse, Hark Tsui, Ka-Fai Wai, Mabel Cheung, Alex Law, Dante Lam, Adam Wong, Peter Ho-Sun Chan, Gordon Chan
Specifics: Hong Kong [2003] - 70 mins
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Animation
More info on :IMDb
3.0

Commissioned anthology that was made to lift the spirit of Hong Kong during the SARS epidemic. The who's who of Hong Kong cinema participated, but the result is a little uneven. Not too surprising considering the exterior motives behind this anthology, and there are a couple of worthwhile entries, but overall it's probably best to lower your expectations when watching this.

Little Cheung poster

Little Cheung

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Xilu Xiang
Specifics: Hong Kong [1999] - 118 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
3.0

A fine but somewhat inconspicuous drama. The kids are pretty adorable and the cinematography is well above average, even so the drama felt a little too expected. Little Cheung kept my attention and there are some moments where the quality spikes, but overall I wasn't too invested, which isn't ideal for this type of film.

Finale in Blood poster

Finale in Blood

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Da Nao Guang Chang Long
Specifics: Hong Kong [1993] - 94 mins
Genre: Romance, Horror
More info on :IMDb
3.0

A very capable early Fruit Chan film, that doesn't deliver on its horror premise (on par for most mainstream HK horror), but at least serves up a decent story. Chan's direction is also well above average and while the actors aren't quite perfect, they do a good enough job. Not an ultimate classic, but Chan's talent is already on display here.

Worthy but flawed

Kill Time poster

Kill Time

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Mou Sha Si Shui Nian Hua
Specifics: China [2016] - 128 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
2.5

Complex mix of genres that never establishes a solid bottom line. The story is convoluted and with much effort spent on telling and explaining, not much time is left to worry about the atmosphere. It's not like the film lacks potential, there are some interesting bits and pieces, it just lacks coherence.

The Longest Summer poster

The Longest Summer

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Hui Nin Yin Fa Dak Bit Doh
Specifics: Hong Kong [1998] - 128 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
2.5

Dubious filler

The Invincible Dragon poster

The Invincible Dragon

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Jiu Long Bu Bai
Specifics: Hong Kong [2019] - 98 mins
Genre: Action, Thriller
More info on :IMDb
2.0

Fruit Chan is a true Hong Kong veteran, even so this film feels like it was made by a freshman with a lot to learn still. The action is clunky, performances are weak and the pacing issues are plentiful. It's difficult to imagine someone with Chan's history would make something so sloppy. Not quite the worst of its kind, but no doubt a big disappointment.

Don't Look Up poster

Don't Look Up

by Fruit Chan
Specifics: Japan, South Africa [2009] - 98 mins
Genre: Horror
More info on :IMDb
2.0
Durian Durian poster

Durian Durian

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Liulian Piao Piao
Specifics: Hong Kong, France [2000] - 116 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb
2.0
Heart of the Dragon poster

Heart of the Dragon

by Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, Fruit Chan
Also know as: Long De Xin
Specifics: Hong Kong [1985] - 91 mins
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Action, Thriller, Crime
More info on :IMDb
2.0

Plain forgettable

Public Toilet poster

Public Toilet

by Fruit Chan
Also know as: Hwajangshil Eodieyo?
Specifics: Japan, Hong Kong [2002] - 102 mins
Genre: Drama
More info on :IMDb