Midnight Caller

I think this film may have been originally conceived as a thriller, but then they must have looked at some of the first rushes and turned to each other and said “what the hell – lets make it a comedy!”  And taking it from that perspective – this film is not bad at all. I have to actually confess to finding it very amusing in a corny way – but I’m just not sure how much of it is intentional. Certainly the final dance sequence with Diana Pang Dan was not suppose to be funny – I think I finally have found someone with less rhythm than I do – but it is an absolutely tacky laugh riot.
Other than that though – this is one of Pang Dan’s most personable performances as she is quite silly and quirky throughout and very willing to make fun of herself. Anyone who is willing to allow a cockroach to crawl across her face deserves kudos as far as I am concerned. That’s not to imply that Pang Dan doesn’t use every opportunity to display her wares – two towel dropping scenes ! – but the main focus of the film is on comedy. Maybe I was just in the right mood – but much of this cracked me up.
Pang Dan is a late night talk DJ and one of her callers – Hungry Wolf – tells her that he is going to blow up a hospital. Boom. Pang Dan tries to warn cop Michael Wong (oh ya, Pang Dan and Michael Wong paired off in the same film – a film critic’s most frightening nightmare) about the caller, but he doesn’t believe her. Next night – the caller tells her he will blow up a kindergarten – Wong again doesn’t listen to her. Oops – not a good career move.
Finally Wong uses the talk show to try and track down the bomber – fails of course – and now the bomber feeling betrayed tells Pang Dan that he is going to kill her. This all generates about as much suspense as a glass of warm milk and cookies. Wong and his partner - Joyce Ngai (the wonderful ghost in Esprit D’Amour) are suppose to protect Pang Dan – but I would feel safer with the Bowery Boys guarding me.
Oh yes it will!
So if you go into this one – who knows you may be trapped on a desert island with this and only this tape – don’t expect too many thrills – in fact nary a one – but there are some laughs within and a surprisingly goofy and charming performance from Pang Dan.
And in fair play - Wong has a towel dropping episode as well!