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
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
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
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 . . .