There are times when the Wong Jing formula hits
all the right manic notes and the product is inspired insanity that cleverly
leaps across the border of good taste and decorum while there are other
times when his films hit the ground with the thud of a dead fish. This
fairly insipid outing has dead fish written all over it.
Wong Jing directs this 1988 film and assembles
a very solid cast of actors – both future stars and well known comedic
character actors – but the script leaves them very little to work with.
Much of it is too tame for Wong Jing standards and much of it looks to
have been buried beneath a thick cover of cobwebs before being exhumed
for this film. Even so there are some pleasures for HK film fans here if
you are a fan of some of the actors. Though well known by this time, Andy
Lau still wasn’t the star he was soon going to be – but he has most of
his trademark charms down in this film. For Chingmy Yau this was at the
very beginning of her career – already a favorite of Wong Jing apparently
– but she was still in her cute phase and had yet to discover her sizzling
The film begins promisingly as it opens with a
shot of the Brooklyn Bridge! Andy is living in New York City and working
as an extra for a low budget action film (Bloody Kung Fu) in which he has
to allow himself to get beaten up by gweilos. He is contacted by his uncle
though who tells him that his father has died and left Andy as part owner
of the family business “it hasn’t done so well lately and is only worth
about $8 billion now”! US dollars mind you. Considering they are in the
coffin business – thats a lot of dead people. Of course, they have a different
take on the coffin industry – they make their coffins to look just like
furniture! Turn your end tables into your coffin - what a deal.
Anyway, Andy does his best Bruce Lee imitation
on the gweilo and then heads back to Hong Kong where he is told by his
half-brother, Stuart Ong, that he must start as the mail clerk and work
his way up. If he can last six months, he will inherit his part of the
company. Clearly, Ong has no intention of allowing this to happen and so
hand picks the three biggest slackers in the company to work with Andy
and bring him down. These are Stanley Fung, Natalis Chan and Charlie Cho.
Working in the company is also Chingmy and her
friend, Joan Tong, and somehow all six of these characters end up living
in the same small apartment. Ong tries to scuttle Andy by sending him to
see a client, Idy Chan, with a briefcase full of pornographic magazines
and sex toys in hopes of Andy making a fool of himself. Not our Andy though
who suavely pretends to be blind and not know what is in the case. Idy
falls for him, but his heart belongs of course to Chingmy – who is as adorable
as a fluffy stuffed toy in this film.
The plot jumps all over the place – with a number
of comedic routines thrown in for no particular reason or logic – some
work – most don’t – but the actors make it as painless as possible and
actually pleasant at other times. Sandra Ng also shows up here as a sex
starved office worker and Wong Jing makes a cameo. At one point in the
film, Andy mentions that he can’t stand the films of Wong or the acting
of Natalis Chan!
My rating for this film: 5.0
Distributed by Universe
The transfer is pretty good - a little soft
at times - but clean and with decent colors.
Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks
Chinese or English subs - that are easy to
No trailer or other attractions.
Star files on Andy Lau and Natalis Chan.