UNUSUAL YOUTH (2005-HK)
review by Neo
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Wong is good, but the movie = ???
Coming of age, change, a journey, and whatever, the youth drama has been the most natural type of drama in HK, and following along the lines of the acclaimed and box office hit – Six Fleet Above – Truth or Dare, comes a drama about 5 people – coming of age in a time of Unusual Youth. A movie that started off like - the movie, that I just acclaimed it to, but then it just goes all the way down to hell. The movie in the middle is so muddled up that they have to play 5 times 3 minutes of MUSIC VIDEOS? Any problems with that, hell yes… The change is sudden, and the ending of the movie is just plain crap, exactly what it started out to be – going nowhere. However, what make this movie so disappointing is that the actors all perform well and the movie at times even has some sort of seemingly potential. Whenever a good scene comes, the director seems to be incapable of handling it, and restored to shooting music videos instead. However, despite all my criticism so far, this isn’t an all out crappy, as the settling is at least good – at Cheung Chau, an island off the coast of Hong Kong, the birthplace of my father and where my grandma still lived. Indeed a single location can not save the movie, and nor can the fine cast of youngsters, but at the very least, the movie is barely watchable and only just.
The movie goes like this: The Unusual Youth is the first movie written and directed by properties developer, Dennis Law. The film depicts the story of five youth that reside in Cheung Chau. Suki (by Race Wong), May (by Yen Ng), Big (by Raymond Wong), Da Gai (by Marco Lok) and Dragon (by Ronnie Cheung) are all looked down on by others because of their family background. Suki's father belongs to a triad group, May's father is in prison because of corruption, Da Gai's mother was once a hooker and Dragon is a DN, with no job and no future. They each have their own issues and difficulties; yet, they face life positively and bravely pursue their own dreams. They do not care how others perceive them and live their true selves.
No wonder why, the movie feel so – going no where, it is directed by a properties developer? Oh my god, what has happened to the once great HK cinema? A developer as a director, you must be damn kidding and yes it is perfectly alright for a developer to direct a music video, but a freaking professional movie is just simply wtf. Now I must say for a first timer, he doesn’t do that much of a bad job in terms of direction, but the problem lies in the simple fact that the movie doesn’t seems to do anything other than seeing young actors talking and laughing and arguing and then no resolution and then the end… you get what I am going on about.
Certainly marks will be given to the realism and that’s added by Neo’s new love interest – Race Wong. After a credible performance in Abnormal Beauty last year, in what I recall myself labeling her as the “new Karena Lam”, takes on a much lighter role and played her into a character that is seemingly natural to watch. Like Karena Lam, who played a natural and coming of age role in July Rhapsody, which caught the attention of Neo almost straight away. While I am sure that Race Wong is capable of taking on similar roles, but this movie just wasted her talent, even so she probably is the only saving grace in the entire movie.
As much as Neo wanting to give this movie a good rating, he cannot do so out of bias, even when he does love Race Wong, and also the fact that the movie is set on Cheung Chau island – Neo’s grandparents homeland. All in all, this isn’t the worst movie of the year, nor does it qualifies as a bad movie, as while it is marginally entertaining, the coming of age drama seems more like a music video, so in essence, it is really better off watching an hour and a half of music video than actually wasting your time watching something that doesn’t really go anywhere. As with the ending, it just shows that being different doesn’t mean it will automatically receive praise, as it can have a negative effect. Really, that’s all I can say about this, but even if the movie doesn’t deserve my following generous rating – for the above bias reasons, just bear with me… on the other hand, it really isn't that "BAD".
I rate it 5.75/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Genre: Youth Dramedy (Comedy Drama)
Director: Dennis Lau Sau-Yiu
Cast: Marco Lok Lik-Wai, Sammy Leung (Sum Mei), Kitty Yuen (Siu Yi), Ronnie Cheung Ho-Lung, Raymond Wong Ho-Yin, Kris Gu Yu, Yen Ng Yat-Yin, Race Wong Yuen-Pui, Helena Law Lan, Lam Suet
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), June 2005