Within the first five minutes of Linger, Johnnie To Kei-fung's new film, we see two lovebirds bickering as they drive. Predictably, the scene ends with a car crash that kills the boy and leaves the girl emotionally scarred. The movie should end there because what follows is so embarrassing that you wonder how To, an action master renowned for directing stylistic gunfights, will ever direct again. Not that the story, penned by the award-winning screenwriter Ivy Ho, is problematic. Dealing with subtle issues such as love and memory, the script is simply not To's kind of material. Pairing Ho with To is like asking Sylvester Stallone to direct My Blueberry Nights. The result is a torture to both the filmmakers and the audiences. Mainland actress Li Bingbing plays the guilt-ridden girl haunted by the death of her boyfriend (Zhou Yumin). She struggles to lead a normal life. Three years after the accident, her boyfriend's ghost appears. The pair must confront the past to free themselves from pain and guilt. Li is too old to comfortably play such a young woman, and Zhou, a heart-throb to thousands of teenage girls in Hong Kong and Taiwan, is plainly a poor actor who confuses sorrow with a headache. There's hardly a convincing or touching scene in the movie. Linger reminds us of what a nuisance a bad romance can be.