All's Well Ends Well, Too
Reviewed by YTSL
Maybe I am just a sucker for the kind of festive
slapstick and pop culture reference-filled farces that directors like Jeff
Lau, Clifton Ko and Raymond Wong seem to specialize in churning out especially
for the time of the year that is for the Chinese what Christmas, Thanksgiving
and January 1st would be for Christian Americans if they came in a single
package. In all honesty though, I really don't know who among Hong
Kong movie fans would not be. After all, although they do have flimsy
plots and predictable (happy family) endings, these Lunar New Year comedies
can't help but at least charm by way of being so chock-full of stars who
seem so eager to entertain as well as game for a laugh.
How few qualms do ALL'S WELL, ENDS WELL TOO's
cast have about acting silly as well as funny? Howzabout Leslie Cheung's
allowing his Pretty Boy image to be mocked and taken advantage of by his
being put in situations where: A dress-wearing him nearly gets raped
by an also feminine-attired Ng Man Tat; and/or a cross-dressing Rosamund
Kwan is considered by a giggly bunch of maidens to be a more good-looking
man than a male-attired him?! And what of the rather pretty Teresa
Mo willingly going through most of this 1993 film with a large blemish
on much of her face, Sandra Ng being happy to play the physically unattractive
shameless woman who ends up having crawl in between her wronged husband's
legs before he will consider taking her back, Sam Hui delightfully sending
up the kind of martial heroes who were the rage at the time, Ricky Hui
playing his brother's mother (so convincingly that it took a second viewing
before I realized that the maternal character was being played by an actor
rather than actress), and producer Raymond Wong making on screen appearances
as both a sweet but largely luckless man and -- in a flashback -- another
For those who like to know something about a movie's
plot: ALL'S WELL, ENDS WELL TOO begins with our introduction to a
gambling addict named Gut (played in over-the-top fashion by Sandra Ng)
who has a brother known as Little Villain Chow Lung (Sam Hui contributes
some funny moments of his own). Upon their returning home after their
latest escapade in town, they get informed by their mother (played by,
lest we forget, Ricky Hui!) of Gut's having been betrothed before she was
even born to the son of a family friend (who soon turns up in the form
of Raymond Wong).
The two stars of ALL'S WELL, ENDS WELL TOO who
this fangirl was particularly looking forward to seeing do not make an
appearance until about the film's 30th minute mark. Leslie Cheung
plays with utter panache a street magician referred to in the English subtitles
as David Copperfield (or -- more often -- Copperfeel!) who Sam Hui's character
was looking to hire as an entertainer for the wedding festivities.
Rosamund Kwan winningly portrays a woman, who more than one individual
ends up being attracted to, by the name of Snow White (but whose true love
takes to calling "Mr. Big Eyes"!).
Their story is connected to that of the others
by way of Ng Man Tat's character: A father who -- typical of traditional
Chinese fathers! -- is eager to get his daughter married off. One
can also point to this individual being most responsible for convoluting
the story because: He happened to believe Snow White's maid's lies
about her mistress having been made pregnant by David Copperfeel...and
consequently went about trying to get the magician to do the honorable
thing of marrying his daughter...but, while doing so, mistook Little Villain
Chow Lung for the man Snow White and her maid were plotting for her to
get married to...
While this account gives a good idea of ALL'S
WELL, ENDS WELL TOO's line-up and (convoluted) narrative framework, it
really doesn't adequately communicate how zany this movie really is or
how wide-ranging -- and topical -- are the subjects of its jokes.
But surely that will come across after I point out its being a costume
piece in which: Prestige car symbols appear as ornaments on top of
horses' heads; someone contemplates getting plastic surgery in Japan; pictures
and verbal descriptions of prostitutes and gigolos available to customers
of a particular brothel include those which clearly are of Michelle Yeoh
and Andy Lau; the cross-dressing of an individual who DID have a role in
1992's "Swordsman II" is explained away by her having just come back from
taking part in a play about "Invincible Asia"; in lieu of electronic beepers,
people use frogs as pagers; and a particularly unseemly haircut is pronounced
to be "Postmodern" in style?!
My rating for the film: 8.
Distributor - Ocean Shores
The film is NOT letterboxed - but the transfer
is reasonably clean.
No menu - thus no trailer, previews or extras
Subs - burnt on English and Chinese
Subs often get cropped on both sides - but
still it is easy to understand what is going on.