Link: Xem Online
The year is post-war 1942 and set during World War II after Japans victory in taking over Shanghai. The motion unreels with a mahjong scene with Mrs. Mak (Tang Wei), a sophisticated woman exchanging furtive glances with Mr. Yee (Leung Chiu Wai), her mahjong kakis husband. Though not explicit, it is obvious that there is more than meets the eye.
Mrs. Mak then pleads to be excused, claiming that she has a prior engagement she has forgotten about and leaves. She heads out to a café and the plot swirls when she contacts Kuang Yu Min (Wang Lee Hom) and speaks in code to the latter (You must applaud Tang Weis efforts to speak Cantonese well while Wang did a poor job).
She returns to her seat and thinks of the time when she wasnt known as Mrs. Mak but goes by the name of Wang Jia Zhi, a university student 4 years ago when it had all began...
That was when she first met Yu Min, a patriotic young man who has been forbidden by his family to join the army because his elder brother had died in the war. But there is no stopping the idealistic adolescent. He heads the drama society and enlists the help of Jia Zhi and her friend to act in a nationalist play (Wang is eastern looking in clothes but the way he talks...).
Wong goes easily into the character and through her superb acting; she earns astounding support for the entire cast and makes the play a hit. (I could not help laughing at this scene as Wang looks so wooden with so much artificial make-up.) They are happy to take a bus around town (it was said that Lee also did that in the past.) and Jia Zhis classmate even teaches her to smoke for better acting in future.
Being the lofty young man that he is, Yu Min becomes dissatisfied with the success of the play and plots to bring the act to a whole new level and the first step of his plan was to assassinate Mr. Yee, who sided with the Japanese during the siege. (Soon we will see how they play with fire and get burned by it.)
The meat of the plan was to plant Jia Zhi around Mr. Yee so as to seduce the highly suspicious and guarded man. They get to know him through Yu Mins neighbour, Tsao (co-star by Chin Kar Lok.) The plan is for her to act as Mrs. Mak, get close to Yee by seducing him and to lure him into the open so the group can kill him during their vacation. Jia Zhi gets along well with Mrs. Mak as she also speaks Shanghainese well.
These inexperienced assassins are an impulsive lot with no planning. They rented a place and brought Mr. Yee to nightspots. But alas – their money goes down the drain and the classmates father cut off all monetary means as they spend too much time. Unfortunately, after many sacrifices are made, the assassination is not successful. Mr. Yee hardly goes out. One close one – Jia Zhi nearly lures him into the home successfully but he doesnt step in.
The group decides that Jia Zhi should sleep with Mr. Yee to gain his trust (How terrible these people are to make this decision without telling her). But she is a virgin so someone will have to teach her. Jia Zhi is bitter and then asks who will sleep with her. Yu Min and the other guys do not know how to except Liang Run Sheng who often frequents the whores (Many felt that she should have chosen Yu Min and not him).
She spends two nights with this guy. He is delighted that she finally shows response to him in the second night but to her horror, the Yees leave Hong Kong the next day. Her sacrifice is in vain – her first night to be given to a man she doesnt love – Yu Min is certainly a coward! Tsao gets to know the young peoples motive and tries to blackmail them. In their haste, Yu Min kills him and all flee to return to China. Jia Zhi grows up overnight.
3 years later, by a strange twist of fate, Wang, now strained by hardship, meets Kuang again. For some reason, maybe it is so that she will get to see Yee again, she agrees to continue where they left off last with the assassination. Yu Min reveals to her that the other spies actually watch on their moves to clear everything for them. He realises how naïve he is and joins them. Their head is Wu – Wu knows that Jia Zhi is inexperienced but lets her try out.
Now they are working in secret and they dont meet up. Maybe Liang Run Sheng is too ashamed to see her too. As like 3 years ago, her mahjong skills never improve and she keeps losing money. (We can’t blame her as she learns too many things.) This scene is unrealistic. Jia Zhi is too daring to want to give Mr. Yee her telephone number in front of his wife! Mrs. Yee seems to be aware of their relationship as she snaps that she knows her number to discontinue her from writing. Still, Mr Yee manages to take a glimpse of it.
Yu Min steals a moment to talk to her in the tram by passing the money to her. She stays in Mr. Yees home. This time, Yee takes the bait but as they begin their intensely fierce sexual affair, both realize that they fulfill a part of each others desperation to be loved.
He eventually falls for it and we are waiting in anticipation as the pictures reel to merge her double lives. Mrs. Yee finds a piece of cloth too flowery for her and passes to Jia Zhi. Mr. Yee asks the tailor to confirm that Jia Zhi often visits him as a customer.
She turns out looking stunning in the cheongsam made after visiting the tailor. Mr. Yee is with her making a suit and cant stop admiring her. Judging from his distrusting sense, it is questionable that he goes out with her without testing waters.
He invites her to a Japanese restaurant and discloses that he is tired and frightened to be a spy. To cheer him up, she sings Tian Ya Ge Nu – songstress. I am completely fascinated by this scene. This makes him weep in gratitude after letting her head rest on his knee. Unknown to him, she also expresses her desire to have a simple life too.
He buys an apartment for her. Mr. Yee gives Jia Zhi a namecard. Suspecting it to be a hoax, she brings it to Yu Min and Wu. She requests them to send a letter to her father in England but Wu burns it. To seek revenge for his dead wife and son, Wu can sit opposite his enemy and smile at them to wait for his chance. This is only empty talk. I have not seen him act.
Both men still ask her to go to the jewelery shop as they will get men to guard her. She discloses that she finds it harder to resist Mr. Yees advances now. Mr. Yee knows how to act and how to reveal his feelings. He is like a snake – not just through entering her body but also into her heart. She can only cry at a corner. (We cant blame her as she isnt trained) Yu Min senses this and wishes to bring forward the assassination plan but Wu refuses as he wants a complete list from Mr Yee. (This man is utterly selfish.)
Yu Min knows the predicament that Jia Zhi is facing and suddenly hugs her from behind – he has loved her all along but is unable to bare his feelings earlier. But it is too late now. She asks him why he doesn’t have sex with her 3 years ago. He sighs, not knowing what to say.
The owner shows her a big red diamond (6 carat heavy!) and she is touched. The next time Mr. Yee brings her to the shop on the second floor of a shophouse – Jia Zhi waits for Mr. Yee in the café. She keeps looking around. (It is stated in the novel - When he arrives, he touches her arm to walk into the shop, touching her breast too. But we dont see it in the movie.)
The ring is ready. He puts it on her finger and adores it fondly while holding her hand. I can bet that all will be won over by his enchanting eyes. Suddenly, Jia Zhi whispers into his ear to tell him to leave. He is confused and looks at her for a while.
Then he realises what is going on and races to his car like a speeding bullet. Never have I seen a running scene so funny. Leung should join the Olympics! This might also be how I looked trying to catch the last night bus home too.
Jia Zhi, on her way back, realises that all roads are blocked. Even the cinema is sealed. Lin escapes and the rest are captured. Mr. Yees men have known of their identities but refrain from telling him. He quietly puts the ring in front of Mr. Yee but he denies that it is his. My friend watching this movie with me said that Jia Zhi should have worn it to her grave.
The others look at Jia Zhi with hatred as they are executed. The exceptional one will be their female classmate who cries in fear. Jia Zhi doesnt shed a tear. She betrays them and her country for love but it seems that she has no regrets. In the novel, Yu Min gives a sad but firm smile – showing his love for her but Wang only looks furious to me.
Mr. Yee lies to Mrs. Yee that Jia Zhi returned to Hong Kong. He sits at a corner of the bed and weeps over her demise. The novel version only shows how heartless Mr. Yee is to continue the mahjong game at home and gloat over his good fortune. Probably Lee doesnt want to waste Leungs sobbing talents to show that Mr. Yee loves her?!
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