To Where He Belongs

I don’t have the patience to spend a lot of time writing this review and you shouldn’t have to waste your time reading about this film. So I will make it short and to the point – watch this film only if someone has a loaded gun pointed at your head. It’s that bad. Of the party of four people that I went to the Music Palace with to watch this, I was the only sorry soul still sitting there when the lights came on. Before he left, one of my fellow viewers kept bending over and asking “is this movie making any sense to you?”  - to which I could only shake my head no. OK – maybe a few more details to fill up this page – but you need not go further.

The movie has no sense of style, no sense of humor – and there is simply no sense as to why this film was made. What a tired, inept piece of work this is – and most sadly of all it wastes the talents of people like Simon Yam, Gigi Lai and Ben Ng. When the emotional heart of a film is a silver cigarette lighter, you know a film is in a deep creative crisis. You could perhaps buy a Happy Meal at McDonalds with the budget of this film. Most of it seems to take place at a bookstall, a nearly empty apartment and a cheap outdoor alleyway restaurant. The soundtrack primarily consists of what sounds like a tacky Karaoke synthesizer wobble that plays over and over again during all the slow turgid parts – which would be about 95% of the film.

Ben Ng and Gigi
Simon plays a triad honcho whose best days are clearly behind him. He has two followers – yes two whole followers – and one manages the other. Where I work that would be considered an extra layer of management – but even with only two followers, Simon constantly has to keep them out of trouble. One of them is continuously banging heads with Ben Ng – another Triad guy on his way up – and he keeps getting beaten up for his efforts.

At the same time – in one of those isn’t HK a small world – both Simon and his follower unknowingly fall in love with the same woman – Gigi. Ooh – and she’s dying of some unnamed ailment that can only be cured in the USA. So the follower decides to make enough money to send her to the States and pay for her operation. To do this he starts selling drugs in Ng’s joints – and of course gets not only beaten up, but also urinated on. But eventually, he comes to Gigi and heroically throws a two-inch thick wad of HK currency on the table in front of her and says that should be enough to save you. Clearly, this guy hasn’t spent much time dealing with the US health care system!

Simon and his vast army of followers
The low point though had to be one of those juxtaposition scenes where they go back and forth between two scenes – contrasting the two. This can be a wonderful cinematic device such as in Godfather III in which an opera is being watched by Pacino while a number of hits are taking place on his orders. Here they alternate between a gang fight and Ben Ng grunting on the toilet. Not the stuff of great cinema – and possibly a metaphor as to where HK film may be headed.
I felt like this film would never finish, but at some point it became a test of endurance – was I tough enough to make it to the end – fool that I am – I did. And so by the way did the silver cigarette lighter!

My rating for this film: 2.0