The Group

Scatterbrained, preposterous and unfocused plot with logic gaps as wide as those in Letterman’s front teeth might begin to describe this film from Alfred Cheung. It had to spring from the fantasies of a ten year old boy.  Really, really stupid. And yet . . . I kind of enjoyed it. On a certain level it is quite fun.

OK, here’s the story line. There are these six white collar professionals - lawyer, doctor, film director, psychiatrist, survival instructor and electronics salesman - who all grew up in an orphanage together under the watchful eye of Father Martin. He said they should all do one good deed a year. To me that would mean buying a few extra boxes of girl scout cookies or taking out the garbage. Not this group. If their good deed necessitates killing or robbing or maiming, c’est la vie. The training in the orphanage certainly was comprehensive !

In their first good deed, they stop the eviction of an old man from a tenement by removing a thug’s thumb while he is asleep and then videotaping the landlord raping a girl (instead of actually stopping it ??). To show how silly this was, when the thug wakes up he gets a phone call from them to look at his thumb. Only then does he notice it is missing! Crazy me, I think I would notice a missing thumb almost immediately.

Next the good Father Martin sends them a videotape from Africa that shows very graphically and horrifically the starving children there. He asks for money. Lots of it. Gala fund raising event perhaps?. No not exactly, lets rob an armored truck instead !. And it gets much more convoluted from then on.

And yet . .  . I liked this film. I am not entirely sure why, but it has a certain amount of charm and the chemistry between the characters kept me interested in the outcome. Of the six main characters I know only four of them. Francis Ng is the electronics expert, Alfred Cheung the director, Christine Ng is the lawyer and Almen Wong (Her Name is Cat) plays . .  take a wild guess - the psychiatrist would be incorrect. What I liked was that within this absurd plot, they played their characters completely straight and under control. Anthony Wong also shows up from time to time as an ex-orphan as well, but instead of becoming a do-gooder yuppie he has become a gangster with a  heart of gold.

I think Christine Ng is a terrific actress and though she really doesn’t have a lot to do here, there is a certain serenity around her that is very appealing. Almen is intriguing. Very buffed (though that side of her is better displayed in Cat) with a face that is not really attractive, but quite interesting with it’s leonine features. Near the end, she finally gets to go “medieval” on someone and it’s a terrific little fight. The film is part scam, part action, part comedy and total nonsense, but entertaining in its way.