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Genre: Horror/Thriller
Starring: Ekin Cheng, Shawn Yue, Fiona Xie, Stephanie Che, Liu Wan, Bill Liu
Director: Kelvin Tong
Rating: NC-16 (Some Disturbing Scenes)
Year Made: 2008



- Making of
- Star Tour Photos




Languages: Mandarin/Cantonese
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: -
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East




Sergeant Lee ( Shawn Yue) is injured in a shoot out and is assigned to Miscellaneous Affair Department (MAD). There, he paired up with Inspector Wong (Ekin Cheng), a jaded and alcoholic veteran. Wong explains MAD's rule number one- there are no ghosts. For every seemingly inexplicable phenomenon, there is a corresponding scientific and rational explanation. MAD begins investigating a string of bizarre teenage suicides. As Lee and Wong follow the clues, something sinister is coming their way.....


The Miscellaneous Affairs Department is the Hong Kong Police Department’s equivalent of Mulder and Scully of the X Files.

Its pseudonym hides the truth of its purpose- to investigate complaints of paranormal activity that the police’s hotline receives. Housed in a dilapidated warehouse and staffed to the bone with only two employees, it receives a latest addition in the form of Detective Lee Kwok Keung (Shawn Yue).

Rule No 1 refers to the first maxim of the department- there are no ghosts in this world. It is a very utilitarian perspective- imagine the mayhem if people’s suspicions were confirmed, that there were vengeful, murderous ghouls out there among us. So it is then the job of newbie Detective Lee and veteran Detective Wong (Ekin Cheng) to reassure people that there is really nothing to their suspicions.

It is indeed an intriguing premise- one that combines elements of horror with cop drama. And I am glad to say that it has been executed with great flair by none other than our very own local writer director Kelvin Tong. In fact, Rule No 1, Tong’s sophomore horror movie (not counting the intentionally campy ‘Men In White’) is easily his most accomplished and assured work to date.

Tong has already proven with The Maid that he knows how to deliver effective scares, with creepy atmospheres, sudden ‘boos’ and loud noises. Part of the success of Rule No 1 lies in his ability to create scenes of genuine suspense, so even though he does resort to cheap scare tactics, the overall experience is still a bone-chilling one.

But the scares are not the only fun to be had here. A scene near the climax where Detective Lee and Wong are waiting for the ghost to appear is milked for great laughs, the repartee between them at once a welcome break from the tense proceedings. Such are the flashes of great brilliance in Tong’s sharply written script which elevates this above the conventional Hong Kong ghost movie.

In this regard, Tong is aided immeasurably by his cast and crew. Shawn Yue is charismatic as ever on screen, but the real surprise here is Ekin Cheng. The once icon of cool in the Young and Dangerous series has of late been making fewer and fewer celluloid appearances, but this counts among one of his best. As the middle-aged alcoholic Detective Wong, Cheng carries the role with an intensity that almost steals his scenes with Yue.

Alas, the same cannot be said however of our local starlet Fiona Xie. No doubt her role as the doting girlfriend is only a supporting one, but one wishes that she would tone down the cute factor that she desperately overplays here.

Effectively intriguing and chilling, Rule No 1 is one of the best Asian horror movies this year. The fact that it’s written and directed by one of our born and bred talents is a fact that deserves even more praise. If you’re a fan of horror, make it then your number one rule not to miss this gem of a scare.


The Making Of:
The cast and crew of Rule No.1 share their experiences on the set, as well as their own take on the film’s central conceit- there are no ghosts in this world. Unfortunately, this comes only in a Mandarin audio track, so the voices of the Hong Kong stars are dubbed over.


The film comes with dual audio tracks in Mandarin and Cantonese and Dolby Digital 2.0 and 5.1 for each. As usual, it is a joy to watch the movie in its original Cantonese audio track, and more so with Dolby Digital 5.1 to make the experience even more thrilling.



Review by Gabriel Chong



. Rule #1 (Movie Review)

. Rule #1 Singapore Press Conference

Other titles from Scorpio East:

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. Money No Enough 2

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. High School Musical 2: Extended Edition

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This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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