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
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.
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.