review by Neo

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One thing I must say before I start my usual blah blah reviews, is the very fact that movies from mainland China has one of the best asset and when I say that I am talking about countryside China is its beautiful landscape. It is just so captivating! After seeing the beauty of China in Hero, one must already be loving the landscape and Master of Everything is certainty adding to that feel. No, don’t even think about it, Master of Everything is not the next Hero; firstly it is not about action, but rather social struggle, value of teamwork, love, feelings and determination to achieve a goal and ambition. For that I like the movie, but there is this feeling at the end of the movie and in fact throughout the movie that leaves the audience leaving with a mixed emotion. No, it is not bad, in fact it is quite a feel good movie with a heart and in fact it is quite engaging too, well at least at times! However, the movie main highlight is not the director, but the main attraction in an attempt to fill some cinema seats is the debut of Coco Lee in her first on screen role and teaming up with International star – John Lone. I think most people reading this review will be answering and wanting to know one thing, more than whether the movie is good or not, but the very fact that whether Coco is a good actress, or a very bad one? Well, that’s a question that I will answer as I continue the review. But I must suggest one thing first, the director is smart in shooting Coco Lee. (Yup, I am leaving the suspense)

For someone like me, who has an interest of being a director one day, this movie is inspirational and the way director Li Xin blends dream sequences with the movie although at times cheesy, is the scenery is breathtaking to watch. The dream sequence is so beautiful, but it is quite obvious a parody of Ang Lee’s masterpiece – Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. While it is an obvious parody, Xin does not even imply to us that it is real, but the fact that visions like Lee’s CTHD treetops scenes are more like an artistic dream. Since, there is no official synopsis; I will attempt to write one up myself. The story goes like this, Lone secretly admires village girl Coco Lee, who dream of becoming an actress, then one day, Lone saw a digital camera and brought one himself and decided to help Coco achieve her dreams of becoming an actress, but directing a movie. Then comes, the struggles, teamwork, love, friendship, low budget, and all combines to create an inspirational effect. Yeah, I know, you are probably thinking that I seen a movie like that somewhere before. Well, it seems familiar to me, but director Li does well to not let the audience have that feeling, but rather displaying a good look on village life in China.

The performances, while not being great, it is actually quite good, especially John Lone, who plays his role in a fittingly fashion. By underplaying his emotions, and showing seriousness in his role, Lone is quite adequate and is without doubt a big improvement from his role in Rush Hour 2. However, I think the one performance that I promise earlier that I will answer about is the performance of debut singer – Coco Lee. Firstly I must say that I am quite impressed by her acting in this movie and perhaps the irony is that when she act in a scene as a bad actor, she portray that very well, maybe it is herself, or maybe it is her acting, whenever she pretends to be a bad actor she does pretty well. No, I am not knocking her, but the fact that the director must be given credits, as he does show Coco’s acting pretty well. Alright let’s get to the point, I must say, I am pretty surprise by Coco’s acting, while not being drop dead sexy, Coco is a charming and cute girl and her acting turns here does show some form of promise and potential that hopefully she can follow up upon. A scene stealer is the role by Coco’s dad who performs perhaps the best of the whole cast. Lone’s sister, also produce one of the better performance of the cast and is quite natural in her role. If you have to compare, she is definitely more natural than Coco Lee, but I am sure Lee can improve as long as she is given more roles in the near future. Definitely a charming presence whenever she smiles.

Overall, Master of Everything is one of those films that are not easy to review, as personally it may well be a film that will be better on second viewing. In addition, this is a movie that one can dislike and like very much. I personally, despite shared the inspiration of Lone being a director, I am still feeling a bit mixed with this movie. However, the movie is not bad at all, in fact I actually liked it and will probably watch it again, after the trials. Master of Everything, is well directed by a relatively unknown art director, combines with some fine acting turns, familiar story (in fact it is based on a true story), and some good artistic dream sequence, the movie is not a bad one at all. Although Master of Everything will not win any awards, whether or not the movie is a good one or not, the movie does have this inspirational feel to it. Well, may be it is just me, because of the fact that I one day wanna be a director, but when a movie can inspire me, it can’t be a bad one at all. Alright, Master of Everything while being and even touching upon familiar territory, director Xin does attempt to make it as fresh as possible, and in the end succeeds to inspire its audience. So, one last note, Coco Lee, you have passed the test and I am looking forward of seeing Coco in a more demanding role next time!

I rate it 8/10

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Product Title : Master of Everything
Artist Name(s) : John Lone| Coco Lee|
Language : Mandarin|
Duration : 97 minutes
Reviewed by Neo (Andrew) - July 2004