Ah Kam (1996)

Posted in Reviews by - November 10, 2013
Ah Kam (1996)

An action oddity in which art imitates life for the film’s star Michelle Yeoh. She plays a sort of autobiographical version of herself – a Mainland Chinese immigrant down and out in Hong Kong, grubbing along as a flat sharing, chain smoking but emotionally delicate stunt woman for Sammo Hung‘s stunt team. She marries a big shot, moves back to China and retires from action movies, much like she did in real life after her marriage to producer Dickson Poon. Tension is added with an underworld subplot in which Hong Kong production companies appear to be run like triad agencies with big bosses sitting in limousines chomping on big cigars. Sammo’s stunt team, although lauded among the public, are treated shabbily, live like peasants and put their lives into their own hands on a daily basis to create the sort of amazing action scenes we come to expect. It’s beautifully shot and incorporates an insightful behind-the-scenes look at kung fu movie sets, even if the narrative is all over the place. Ann Hui adds her neo-noir tinge to the film’s realism and favours dramatics over ballistics. If the aim was to show the grueling, unrewarding brutality of working as part of a HK stunt team, then the film succeeds. And as if to further underline the point, Yeoh fractured a vertebra making this film. You can see it during the end credits.

AKA: Ah Kam: Story Of A Stuntwoman; Ah Kam: The Stunt Woman; The Stunt Woman.

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Editor and creator of Kung Fu Movie Guide and the host of the Kung Fu Movie Guide Podcast. I live behind a laptop in London, UK.

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