Koma (2004)

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Released 21-Jul-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Gallery-Photo
Trailer-The Eye 2, Brotherhood Of War, Born To Fight
Trailer-Bangkok Dangerous
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 84:46
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (42:16) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Chi-Leung Law
Studio
Distributor
Filmko
Madman Entertainment
Starring Susan Chan
Roy Chow
Andy Chi-On Hui
Kar Yan Lam
Angelica Lee
Kai Chi Liu
Annie Man
Ho-Yin Wong
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Cantonese Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Cantonese dts 5.1 (1536Kb/s)
Cantonese Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Koma is a Chinese horror/thriller film from director Chi-Leung Law and stars a number of young, up-and-coming actors. The title itself means 'help' in Cantonese.

    Karena Lam plays the role of Suen Ling, a lonely young woman, whilst Sin-Je Lee plays the role of Chi Ching, a wealthy but sickly woman of a similar age, who's suffering renal problems. One thing that the two women did share was Chi Ching's boyfriend, Wai, played somewhat unchallengingly by Andy Hui.

    The film starts off dramatically with a rather lovely young woman waking up in a tub of ice to find a long scar across her side (just where one of her kidneys would be...). However,  it evolves more into a thriller rather than a horror/slasher film.

    In fact, ultimately Koma is basically about the intense relationship that develops between the two women. Whilst this works well at times, I did find it somewhat unrealistic given that at one stage, one was being chased by the other for her kidney, not to mention them sharing boyfriends!  It was almost like the director threw a switch at one point that brought the women closer together. Though I recognised that point, I still felt that that development was highly improbable.

    I felt the film should have been more 'creepy' or eerie, at least in some sequences, to make it more effective.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Unfortunately this transfer is presented in 1.78:1 which, to my eyes, results in it looking like a "TV movie". I'm pretty sure this film would have been originally filmed in 1.85:1, but perhaps has been cropped to fit perfectly on a widescreen TV. I guess this is to appease viewers who can't cope with the narrow black bars that would otherwise appear on screen!

    The transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    Whilst the transfer is reasonably sharp, it's not the sharpest I've seen.

    The colour is rich throughout, with a slightly red tinge in the indoor scenes resulting in a slightly unrealistic look to the skin tones. There is no trace of oversaturation or colour bleed.

    For a fairly recently made film, this transfer has a fair amount of positive (black) artefacts scattered throughout, especially noticeable in some sequences such as the opening scenes. There are even the occasional negative (white) artefacts. Whilst none of these are particularly large, they are occasionally distracting in their quantity.

    There was no visible aliasing or any other film-to-video artefacts.

    Subtitles are available in English and utilise a yellow font which is easily read. The subtitles appear to be well-timed to the on-screen dialogue.

    The disc layer change occurs at 42:16 and is rather poorly placed. It should have been just 2 seconds earlier which would have resulted in less disruption to the scene.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    We are provided with Cantonese DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks on this transfer. There is also a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack, also in Cantonese.

    The DTS is noticeably richer in sound than its Dolby 5.1 equivalent, and is quite immersive at all times.

    Dialogue is clear at all times and in sync with actors' on-screen lip movements.

    The music suits the on-screen action and is largely synthesiser based. Nothing particularly memorable.

    The surround speakers are very well used throughout this film, even during the dialogue intensive scenes.

    The subwoofer is not extensively used but chips in occasionally.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu Audio

    The main menu has scenes and music from the film giving a very creepy feel to things, which unfortunately wasn't sustained throughout the actual film.

Featurette - Making of (runtime 15:30)

   Interviews with cast and crew members (director, producers and the two actresses), with plenty of clips from the film. There's also some behind-the-scenes footage. Whilst it's all in Cantonese, there are English subtitles.

Theatrical Trailer  (2:10)

    The original trailer for Koma presented in 1.85:1 letterbox format.

Photo Gallery

    Rather pointless collection of 15 stills from the film. Each photo is set rather small within a large frame that robs each image of any impact it might otherwise have had.

Trailers

    A collection of trailers, starting off with the Anti-piracy ad!

       The Eye 2

        Brotherhood of War

        Born to Fight

        Bangkok Dangerous

   

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    From what I can determine, the R1 version appears to have a Mandarin DTS 5.1 soundtrack as well as a music video of the end title song. The format ratio appears to be 1.78:1, the same as our R4 version.

    Unless you're keen on the Mandarin soundtrack, or must have the music video, I see no reason to go past the R4 version.

Summary

    Koma is an absorbing enough film whilst watching it, though it's not one that stuck in my memory for long. It wasn't particularly memorably good nor bad, just passable. Some reasonable acting, especially by the two female leads, combined with occasional plot twists, provided some entertainment, however implausible some elements were.

    The video transfer is reasonable though not as good as one would expect.

    The audio, especially the DTS soundtrack, was great.

    The extras comprised a short documentary and the pointless stills gallery, plus a few trailers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Satish Rajah (don't read my bio!)
Friday, May 12, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-344 Multi-Region, using Component output
DisplaySony KV-XA34M31 80cm. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2801
SpeakersMain: Mission 753; Centre: Mission m7c2; rear: Mission 77DS; Sub: JBL PB10

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