Feel 100%

Reviewed by YTSL
 

1996 saw the theatrical release in East Asia of "Comrades, Almost a Love Story" and "Lost and Found", two romantic dramas that I think have stood the test of time as well as can transcend national and cultural boundaries.  Four years on, it comes as a shock for me to learn that those two quality offerings attracted fewer viewers to cinemas that year than that:  Which also focuses on love issues but, unlike those two U.F.O. productions, really can be said to represent the triumph of Idol style over cinematic substance.

Don't get me wrong:  I.e., I don't think FEEL 100% is a particularly bad piece of work.  At the same time, it is unquestionably an effort whose proceedings don't seem the most logically structured, characters have a rather shallow feel, and lead actors clearly are still learning their trade.  Yet it struck a chord with quite a few people; possibly those who, like the movie's main characters, regularly shop in Esprit stores and make fun of Giordano goods but also the truly high end brands of clothing along with the pirate versions of foreign name products.
For the record:  FEEL 100% grossed HK$20,805,282 over its 33 day summer run and ended the year among the top fifteen overall box office performers in Hong Kong.  Like the "Young and Dangerous" series of films (whose first three installments came out in 1996), this very young -- some might say, immature -- feeling work:  Was adapted from popular comic books; specifically set its sights on garnering a younger generation of fans; and made a (mega-)star out of its then not A-list lead actor.  Such correspondences are not coincidental:  While its director and scriptwriter -- Joe Ma -- was not involved with the Y&D efforts, this movie does (also) have Manfred Wong as its producer and Andrew Lau as its executive producer.
Certain thematic similarities can also be discerned in terms of all these films revolving around a group of individuals who had been fast friends since their schooldays.  A key difference here though lies in FEEL 100%'s main trio consisting of a female (Cherrie is played by Sammi Cheng) along with two males (Ekin Cheng's role is that of the playboy Jerry while Eric Kot provides comic relief and support as Hui Lok).  For much of the movie, this frolicsome threesome act as young adults who work (but can't be that far away from school leaving age since they comfortably associate with at least one teenager).  However, they first appear as secondary school pupils (who give a visually amusing yet actually tuneful rendition of a music competition winning song of theirs).
At a fairly early point in the movie, two younger females are added to the likeable -- even if sometimes temperamental -- trio's friendship circle.  While the character of Man Yi (played by Michelle Wong) is the first of the duo to get introduced, she seems to only be in FEEL 100% to add dimension to Hui Lok plus provide a reason for Fong Fong (who comes in the form of Gigi Leung) to appear in the picture and help reveal the true nature of matters between Cherrie and one of her two bosom buddies (who had supposedly made a childhood pact to never hit on their best female friend).  Although she is but a side character, mention must also be made of the woman (essayed by the chameleon-like Christine Ng) who majorly adds some spice to the film in general as well as the sex life of one of the main trio.
Christine Ng and Michelle Wong
If truth be told, FEEL 100%'s main storyline flows along such a predictable course that it's almost besides the point to discuss or even care that much about it.  Instead, what are to be enjoyed are the movie's stylistic and other accoutrements.  If you can heed the advice of JC of Joseph Fierro's old Hong Kong Movies site to "just sit back, relax, and let the film ride", you probably will be able -- as I did -- to get some amusement out of watching this easy-going work.  If you aren't willing to do this though, and especially if you have an active dislike of one or more of the show's stars, it might be best to stay well clear of a work that puts Ekin into a bubble-filled bathtub and reveals his -- but no one else's -- two points...!

My rating for this film:  6.