Article

KOMA

 



Koma

Starring: Chi-Leung Law
Encoding:
Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Format:
Color, Closed-captioned
Rated: Not for sale to persons under age 18.
Studio:
Tla Entertainment Gr
Run Time:
88
minutes
 

Movie:
 

Description: During a wedding reception, a young woman (The Eye's Angelica Lee) discovers the most recent victim of the kidney thief terrorizing Hong Kong. She suspects a mysterious woman (Karena Lam) who holds a bitter grudge against her and her boyfriend, with whom she shares a secret past. Almost unavoidably, these two women, polar opposites of one another, begin an uneasy friendship as their fates become irrevocably intertwined . . .

This 2004 Hong Kong movie is not to be confused with Coma, that 1978 Michael Crichton movie starring Michael Douglas and Genevieve Bujold about patients at a hospital mysteriously falling into comas all the time so that they can be harvested for their internal organs.

In fact, the word Koma actually means help in Cantonese - even though, peculiarly enough, Koma also deals with illicit organ trafficking. In this case, the plot is derived from that old hoary urban legend about the hapless victim waking up in a bath filled with ice and his/her kidney removed and a message scrawled on the wall about contacting the police immediately if the victim wishes to live.

From the above plot description you might have an idea of how Koma would play, probably thinking it'd a bit like I Know What You Did Last Summer. However, Koma instead prefers to go the psychological thriller route, focusing more on the "friendship" between the two seriously disturbed female protagonists and some plot twists.

Unfortunately, even though the story goes off into some unexpected directions, several plot twists can be easily predicted. To make things worse, Koma is seriously flawed in that some plot points depends on such contrivances and unlikelihoods, not to mention plain narrative fuzziness. Some of the things that happen depend on characters being so mind-bogglingly clumsy and/or stupid that you'd want to tear your hair out!

THE DISCS: I only had access to an extras-free preview copy so I can't really comment on them here.

WORTH IT? Koma remains watchable even though the neuroses of its characters can get rather wearisome at times. At least it makes some attempt at character development and internal plot logic, something I find simply missing from a lot of Hollywood fare nowadays (what do they teach all those screenwriters at film school anyways?).

RECOMMENDATION: If you want to check out what the whole ?Asian horror? thing is about, then there are lots of better movies to check out. A Tale of Two Sisters (also recently released by Tartan Video on their Asia Extreme label) is one example. If you're already quite familiar with the whole subgenre, then you'll find that Koma is an atypical example of this subgenre in that it doesn't deal with any supernatural horror. It also isn't all that scary either come to think of it . . .
 



 

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