Fighting for Love
Reviewed by YTSL
Pathetic but true: There are certain
actors and actresses who I honestly have enjoyed watching doing such utterly
mundane things as grocery shopping (Brigitte Lin and Chow Yun-Fat in “Dream
Lovers”), getting their hair washed (Brigitte Lin -- again! -- in “Starry
is the Night” and Sylvia Chang in “Forever and Ever”), drinking a bottle
of Coke (Brigitte Lin -- once more! -- in “Morning Fog” and “Run Lover
Run”), eating cans of pineapple (Takeshi Kaneshiro in “Chungking Express”),
feeding someone grapes (Ruby Wong in “Expect the Unexpected”) and frying
an egg (Ruby Wong again -- this time in “Where a Good Man Goes”).
It is hoped that whoever chooses to watch the Joe Ma helmed romance that
stars Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Sammi Cheng does or will feel this way about
at least one, but preferably both, of the film’s leads. Otherwise,
the chances of this 2001 movie’s viewers being able to derive any pleasure
from a cinematic offering in which nothing truly consequential or unpredictable
happens will be very slim indeed.
The hole-filled and sometimes quite improbable
plot of FIGHTING FOR LOVE goes as follows: On their way to the hospital
(Little Tony Leung’s Veg Chiang character is transporting his sick mother
to see a doctor while Sammi Cheng’s Deborah Fok character is going to visit
her already admitted elder sister), the car driven by the movie’s lead
female knocks a side window off of the male protagonist’s van. In
the hospital car park, an irate Veg -- who is rather ironically named,
seeing as he is the boss of Gut Lee, a restaurant specializing in “cooked
bull organs” (which probably include that which is euphemistically known
in the U.S. as “Rocky Mountain Oysters) -- confronts an unrepentant Deborah,
who reacts against his angrily kicking her car by calling the police.
Told by the policewoman who responded to this call to settle things on
their own, the two hot-heads agree to meet shortly afterwards in a bar,
get drunk, and end up in bed with each other.
The morning after sees Deborah feeling very happy
and Veg feeling very guilty since it turns out that he has a girlfriend
named Mindy (who happens to be a TV star who looks to be as popular with
Veg’s family as her fans). Deborah’s happiness dissipates even before
she finds this out about Veg though, since she gets sacked from her job
-- for a costly mistake she insists was made by the boss’ wife rather than
herself -- later that same day and, while still in a daze from her job
loss, proceeds to incur the ire of her father by losing his pet dog while
supposedly taking it out for a walk. Rather than stay in their apartment
and have to listen to her father ranting at her, and with no other place
that she could think of to go to, she goes to the hospital in which her
sister is a patient, and asks to be given a place to sleep there.
On a visit to the hospital in which his mother
(also) has been (temporarily) warded, Veg spots Deborah (whose surely uncommon
request the hospital had actually acceded to!), she spots him, and ends
up pouring out her woes to him. To his query of what can he do to
make her feel better, she asks that he tell her that he loves her.
Instead of lying to her, he comes out and tells her that he can’t honestly
do so because he actually has a girlfriend (who, conveniently -- as it
turns out -- for the purposes of the story, happened to have gone off to
Japan, thereby leaving Veg with plenty of time to spend with and on others).
Although she is obviously not ecstatic to learn this, Deborah takes the
news better than one might expect her to, and thereby looks to have earned
Veg’s respect, if not love.
Shortly afterwards, FIGHTING FOR LOVE’s three
scriptwriters -- who consist of director Joe Ma, sometime director Aubrey
Lam (she it was who helmed as well as wrote the script for “Twelve Nights”)
and Taures Chow -- seem to have really asked the movie’s viewers to take
a big leap of faith or something, because Deborah and Veg quickly and easily
appear to have become bosom buddies, and she just as suddenly and without
much ado ends up lodging in the big house in which the actually pretty
wealthy man lives with his eccentric family (N.B. News that Andy Lau still
lives with his parents should establish, if not confirm, that this would
not be an unheard of arrangement in present-day Hong Kong). Also
around this time, the film -- whose major saving grace lies in its having
the charismatic lead actor and actress that it does -- seems to slow down
considerably pace-wise, and this is when a considerable amount of footage
gets devoted to showing Little Tony and the one and only Sammi doing not
much more than hanging out together, leisurely and happily eating ice cream,
attempting to drown their sorrows by gulping down cans of not particularly
alcoholic beer and just plain luxuriating in each other’s company.
Although this (re)viewer never for a moment expected
FIGHTING FOR LOVE to have something other than a happy ending, she has
to admit that there were points in this utterly unambitious and featherweight
-- yet quite charming as well as surprisingly relaxing -- film that got
her wondering whether Veg and Deborah really might be content to be good
friends and nothing more than that. Somewhere along the line though,
what with Veg’s mother (veteran actress Lee Fung’s appearance in this movie
is not much more than an extended cameo) telling Deborah that she ought
to “fight for love”, and Mindy (who is played by Niki Chow) turning out
to not be as nice as she had initially seemed, the story’s final outcome
-- one which I trust will not disappoint the bulk of its viewers -- becomes
My rating for the film: 6.5
Distributed by Universe
The transfer is a bit soft - and the color
tones never quite looked natural.
Cantonese and Mandarin language tracks
The subtitles are Chinese or English.
There is a trailer for this film and also ones
for Heroes in Love and then 3 American films - What Women Want, Dr. T and
his Women and The Gift - I sure hope including non-HK films does not become
There is a music video from Sammi - oddly Tony
does not appear in any of the film bits.
There is a Making of Section
Bios on Tony Leung, Sammi and Joe Ma