A-1:HEADLINE (2004-HK)
review by Neo

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Headline or Ideal Journalism???
So anyone here miss me? Actually miss my reviews, and sure it has been a quite month from me, but lucky I have Seraph's support that kept this site on the move throughout the month. So let's just says Cheers to Seraph before I begin my honest opinion on the latest flick from the master and creator of Fist of Legend - Gordon Chan! And as you all probably already know the movie I am talking about is - A-1: Headline. So what so interesting about a movie about a headline, well first of all, it stars Angelica Lee and Anthony Wong and also Tony Leung Ka Fai and the almost forgotten to mention - Edison Chen (who I reckon was a total waste of space). Pitting Chen up next to accomplished and established actors like Wong, Lee and Leung is a stupid idea and lucky, the movie is by no means carried by Chen, but rather an integral focus on Wong and Lee. The question you people are wondering is probably whether this movie is any good? Well guess what? Well I will tell you later on in the review, but one thing I must say before I continue is that this movie can be very complex and also very ordinary depending on how the viewers see into it. Director Chan smartly interweaves an ordinary storyline and due to the subtle show not tell principle somehow succeeded in presenting a movie that require a few thinking heads well not exactly mind blowing at all though.

The story goes like this from the official summary: Ling (Angleica Lee) is a fashion columnist who provides readers with shopping tips. The biggest pursuit in her life is to have fun, and her extravagance puts her in a debt too heavy to repay. Still nothing can make her break the shopaholic habit. Ling is Peter’s girlfriend, and she has just split up with him the day before he dies. An accident upsets her even though she decides not to love again. Her partner, newspaper photographer Kei Jai (Edison Chen), who has a crush on her, tries to be her solace in the hope of being considered her new love. Sadly, things do not go the way he wants as a guy named Lam Hei-fei (Anthony Wong) comes between them. Personally I hated this summary as the movie focus is by no means a love triangle movie as the advertisers seems to suggest which probably lead to its huge disappointment at the box office which will end up around $3 million. The movie is about investigative journalism and police corruption may not be totally for greed, and the extend and importance of newspaper headline.

So what the hell am I on about so far? Well I really dunno myself, but that's mainly due to my own attitude towards the movie. By the end of it, I tended to have a rather ambivalent feeling to it and not quite sure what the director ultimately wanted to achieve, but guess what I sort of like it. What director Chan presented as the investigating to tell the truth, it is perfectly clear that it is what Chris Masters calls it as "ideal journalism" - the extent journalist goes for seeking the truth behind the story. One must not just believe the movie and take it as how people or should I say the media will go to get the truth, as life isn't like that. More often than not headlines include trivial events and truth is often reported but most likely manipulated and exaggerated to achieve one thing - to get bums on seats or simply call it - ratings. As the saying goes, a lie remains the truth until proven a lie. This is exactly how the media works nowadays and is without doubt bounded by a hierarchy, and definitely not like how the movie worked. Then again, this is a movie, but it does underline one important aspect - humanity in the media. Too often then not, the media just report half the story and beat up the rest and movie shows the opposite of this, showing that ideal journalism is still achievable, but the risks involve by far outweighs the results. So after all these blah blah, I may well be totally wrong as this is just my no matter how honest - my own truth about this matter.

So let's get to the performances, should we? Alright, let's get to the point of this review, well that's not saying I wasn't to my point though. Angelica Lee, what more can I say about this charming and talented acting princess. Alongside Karena Lam and Cecilia Cheung, their acting chops combined by far outweigh all of the new generation male actors. With an expressive eyes and facial expressions, Lee once again put in a highlighting performance, while not has teary eyed as in say Koma, Lee is more restrained and perhaps bettered her performance in Koma. She is definitely one of the brighter lights of the HK cinema nowadays. Alongside her is the veteran - Anthony Wong, who produces another natural, yet restrained performance, while not up to his Infernal Affairs standard, his confidence just continue to built, and his usual style make him a mysterious character to follow. Tony Leung Ka Fai perhaps put in another standout supporting role and by far bettered his performance in Twins Effect 2, without doubt 2004 seems to be his year as he continue to play a huge role as a supporting actor. However, while Edison shows some promise in Jiang Hu, and was crap in Moving Targets and Twins Effect 2, this movie all but confirmed to me that Jiang Hu was a one off stroke of luck or fluke. His acting is utterly crap and bullshit without supported evidence and more annoying than cool. He is by far the least talented actor alongside William Hung (well dunno his acting yet, but he is crap too in my honest opinion). Why the stupid hell did Chan cast him is beyond my questioning, he is no boxoffice draw as seen in the boxoffice taking and his acting is just bad and yeah yuck. As you can probably see I do hate Edison, but that's because he is just like a piece of wood or statue and nothing more. However as seen in Jiang Hu I did praise him, so don't say I am bias even if I am. Wow, can't believe I wrote more about a crap actor than any other one in this movie.

Finally after a tiring day, I will finish my review off and yes and yes and hip hip hurray is screaming in my stomach thinking that finally I have finished one of the longest review in the site entire career. Personally I liked the performance of the movie, apart from that stupid fool and more importantly I liked the movie premises which offer something different from what HK cinema usually offers. Director Chan did well, but the movie could have been improved by more suspense, but then again that's my personally opinion. If compared to Heat Team this movie is by far the better one, but if compared to say A Nite in MongKok, this movie is a notch lower. Personally I kind of like it, but it is by no means a flawless movie, but it is refreshing to see the media finally going to risks lives for the truth and more importantly seeking ideal journalism and truth can be manipulated for the better, but then again and unfortunately this is only a movie.

I rate it 8/10

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Product Title : A-1: Headline
Artist Name(s) : |Angelica Lee | Anthony Wong | Edison Chen
Language : Cantonese| Mandarin
Duration : 103 minutes
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo) - September 2004

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