Rose Rose I Love You

Reviewed by YTSL

The fact of that which is the first of two loose sequels to "92 La Legendary Rose Noire" having raked in a substantial HK $21,929,420.00 at the local box office attests to its having attracted a large number of people to go see it on a big screen.  Whether or not many of the audience of the 1993 movie (which seems to be both a piece of nonsense comedy as well as loose homage to the popular "Black Rose and White Rose" 1960s Cantonese TV show) had as satisfying a viewing experience as Joseph Fierro -- who pronounced it to be "One of my all-time favorites" -- is something that I have to admit to wondering though.  And should it turn out to be so that they really did find much to love about this offering, then it must be due in large part to its being a sterling example of the kind of work described in an academic article entitled "Nostalgia and Nonsense" -- that can be found in the 21st Hong Kong International Film Festival's "Fifty Years of Electric Shadows" publication -- as helping "to construct and/or reproduce a distinct hermeneutic community of film viewers bound together by a shared Hong Kong culture inaccessible to outsiders" (Linda Chiu-Han Lai, 1997:95).

Tony Leung, Carina Lau, Kenny Bee
Otherwise, this non-Hong Konger cannot account for why it is that unlike an apparent whole host of others, she was left feeling so unentertained -- as well as distinctly unimpressed -- by ROSE ROSE I LOVE YOU.  Putting this disappointingly negative reaction in some (other) context, here's also pointing out that I:  Did like the earlier Jeff Lau directorial effort whose success spawned this Jeff Lau production (whose director is Jacky Pang); and also generally am a fan of its five leading cast members (only one of whom -- Tony Leung Kar Fai -- was actually reprising a role he had inhabited in 1992).  Truly, it's still difficult for me to believe that I found a movie that stars Kenny Bee, Carina Lau, Veronica Yip and Simon Yam together with Big Tony to not be enjoyable.
Simon Yam and Tony
To be fair, ROSE ROSE I LOVE YOU did start off promisingly enough:  With Simon Yam's somewhat maniacal Micky escaping from the prison in which he had been incarcerated after having been arrested two years earlier by Tony Leung Kar Fai's Officer Keith Lui Kee; and the latter getting assigned -- along with his professional rival as well as personal friend, Kenny Bee's Officer Leung Sing Bo -- to go undercover to track down the fugitive.  Surmising that Micky will seek to contact his old flame, a teacher named Pearl Chan (played by Carina Lau), the two police detectives find ways to get -- and doggedly stay -- physically close to physically attractive her.
Veronica Yip and Carina
At this juncture in the story, things should have started to get funny (or interesting).  However, many of the extremely loose plot's conceits and twists struck me instead as illogical and plain silly.  A case in point:  When Officer Lui wanted to take over residency of the apartment located next to Pearl's, rather than straightforwardly seek permission to do such from its inhabitant, he creates a farcical situation in which the innocent party -- who is conveniently found to be prone to having amnesia -- cedes his home premises to the conniving cop because he thinks that Officer Lui is his gay lover.  Seeing as Officer Leung's plan involved standing in front of Pearl's moving car, pretending to be hit by it, and counting on the woman to be guilt-stricken and nice enough to take the poor illegal immigrant from Mainland China -- that he was pretending to be -- into her home for a few days (while his "injuries" heal), it should be apparent that other strands of ROSE ROSE I LOVE YOU are apt to be as nonsensical as well as be further examples of needlessly convoluted thinking.
The more layers of story and number of subplots -- including one in which Veronica Yip's Beauty character tries multiple times and unsuccessfully to commit suicide -- ROSE ROSE I LOVE YOU is revealed to possess, the more ridiculous matters get, and the more buried becomes the original storyline involving the two detectives, a fugitive, his gal and a valuable gem (called the Malay Star) whose theft the jewel thief was sent to prison for.  As for the Black Rose and White Rose (two female Robin Hoods in their 1960s incarnation but just outlaw types -- who also seek to get their hands on the Malay Star -- in this production), suffice to say that they -- at least not in their masked and tight costumed forms -- are hardly the main focus of the film.  This is a great pity; not least since the two stylishly choreographed fights between the agile Roses were among the few high points for me of this scattershot offering (with the otherwise lame movie's too rare other inspired moments consisting of Kenny Bee's fending off Simon Yam -- who was expertly making like Jet Li's Wong Fei Hung with an umbrella -- in a clumsy but effective manner akin to Jackie Chan, and a mimed musical duet between Kenny Bee and Carina Lau).
Tony, Ku Feng and Veronica

My rating for the film:  3.5