OF A KIND (2004-HK)
review by Neo
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of the greatest - Michael Hui!
Other than Jackie Chan's movies which I watched throughout my childhood hear and there, the other HK movies that I watched before I love HK cinema was the Hui Brothers Movies. Remembering vividly of Sam Hui - acting as a Bruce Lee wanna-be, his turtle necked brother - Ricky and the genius mind of Michael Hui, they are what I can the greatest brothers in HK cinema history. And what more they are a fun to watch, and that's a certainty, Although Sam Hui is more handsome of the three, Michael is without doubt the most intelligent and best at comedy. If Sam Hui is the God of Music (I think so too - one of my favourite singers), then Michael Hui is the God of Comedy (yeah it sounds like a Stephen Chow movie - but that was called King of Comedy, so there is a big difference!) So after a few years of absent, Michael make his triumph come back to the world of comedy, which began this year in a Cameo appearance in a parody of himself, and now he is back - Three of a Kind starring Miriam Yeung and the ever versatile - Lau Ching Wan (who apparently thinks he is very handsome in every of his movies - in other words - up himself, but he is a great actor).
This is the official description: Famous martial arts novels writer Lung Fei-ngan (Hui) hasn't published any new books in a decade. But he is still leading a comfortable life living on the royalty of his seven published novels. He placed all his attention onto his daughter Sophia (Yeung). (Additional plot information) Sophia has a crush on her boss Frankie (Lau). At first, Lung Fei-ngan despises Frankie but the two soon bond over similar sexist attitudes towards women. Things change, however, when Sophia begins to date Frankie. Yeah, I agree, sounds so much like Michael come back to make movies, after a gap of absent and as I have read in his interviews, he was not in movies for the last few years was because he was out of new ideas, and now as he claims he is back with new ones, though not in this movie, but his next movie. Well, looking forward to that one then.
Alright let's get to the point (wait I got this uncanny feeling that I wrote exactly the same line in my last review), wait I am to the point, this review is perhaps one of the few that I am to the very point. Indeed, okay, let's begin - is this movie fun? Yes and No. Is this movie good? yes and No. One must be wondering what the hell I am on about, throwing in yes and no, well the thing is that this movie is kind off weird, while it is borderline conventional story, very similar to all other Joe Ma's romantic comedies, this movie stand out for one reason - return of Michael Hui, well actually it is not just that. The real problem of this movie is the middle part which is very very boring, and yes, it is boring, but Joe Ma is the genius in film making and must have seen the movie Adaptation where that movie claims: "the last act makes the film, wow them in the end and you got a hit, you can have flaws and problems, but wow them in the end and you got a hit" What a true saying and formula that Joe Ma applied, and in doing so, he almost single-handedly redeem the boring middle part of the movie which seemed to have almost finish in the middle. The last twenty minutes is perhaps the best in the movie, the mixing of fatherly love, a formulaic love relationship and the most bizarre yet the most imaginative scene was the mixing of wuxia - into the mix. That scene of wuxia is beautiful juxtaposition to watch and a great reminder of the movies like Swordsman 2, Ashes of Time.
However, apart from the ending, the actor saves the day. First there is Michael as the very very caring father, who performance in such a natural yet tense performance that is a scene stealer in every scene, especially the way he delivered the lines, was just great to watch. Without doubt a great genius of the 70s and is still looking good for much bigger things in the near future hopefully. Miriam Yeung, is surprising much more pretty in this movie, after the not so pretty look in Anna in Kungfu Land. She works well with good actors, and really does a much better and much more self-controlled than normally as say like Love Undercover 2. Lau Ching Wan as usual is great and fun to watch and his ways of mixing green tea with wine is a great formulae to use for kau lui (chasing girls) - I wonder if it works, may be I will try it one day - may be.
Really, this movie is not great, not good but not totally bad either, very much redeemed by the fact that Michael Hui is back and almost back to his very best, Miriam is better than usual, Lau Ching Wan again thinks he is handsome or some sort of ladykiller, but essentially it comes down to one key aspect, the 'final act'. Brilliant final twenty minutes redeems this movie from rotting to the bottom of the lot, after a rather average middle part. As a formulaic romantic comedy it is pretty much the same and may even have been alright to these days HK cinema standards, but with stars like Hui, Yeung and Lau, it is wasting their talent. But one must admit Michael Hui really made a very funny father to watch. However, with the presence of these stars the movie does some how stay a float.
I rate it 7.5/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Product Title : Three of a Kind
Artist Name(s) : Miriam Yeung| Lau Ching Wan| Michael Hui
Language : Mandarin|Cantonese
Duration : 101 minutes
Reviewed by Neo (Andrew) - August 2004