review by Neo
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Lola Run meets new generation’s wuxia…
It is always refreshing to witness a Hong Kong movie that isn’t following the norm and while Ming Ming is clearly an experimental film, there is enough style and coolness for the audience to sit through an otherwise quite pointless mission. First time director Susie Au is promising and the film is certainly filled with an artistic flair which combines well with its pop culture fashion. There are moments when the film runs like a wuxia, where everything seems over the top and there are scenes after scenes that are worthy of “wowing” the audience. There is no question that director Au is filled with potential and while Ming Ming works on the visual and creative side of things, it ultimately attempts to do too much and resulting in a fun, yet mindless mission for the audience.
The story goes like this: Zhou Xun is charismatic enough to deliver her two roles dynamically. She is the cool Ming Ming who is good at martial arts, and also the girlish and sassy Nana. Ming Ming falls in love with D (Daniel Wu) and steals $5 million from mob boss Cat (Jeff Chang) so they can go to Harbin together. She hands off the money to Tu (Tony Yang), who mistakenly grabs the hand of Ming Ming-lookalike Nana. Orange-haired Nana, it turns out, is also in love with D. When D disappears to Shanghai, the three of them follow in search…
Ever since Perhaps Love, Neo just cannot stop praising and loving Zhou Xun as her beauty is not without flaws and the layers of naturalness transcends her to almost any acting roles. Her raw and stunningly natural display in Perhaps Love and by being the best thing in The Banquet, Zhou Xun is fast becoming one of the most versatile actresses currently working in Hong Kong. Here, she descends into a duo role and the fact that she is able to cheat or convince the audience that Nana and Ming Ming is two totally different people is utterly amazing to watch.
Director Susie Au is certainly a big fan of the over the top style and while many will claim that the film is basically style over substance, to a certain degree Neo cannot disagree. The movie isn’t exactly the most accessible work, but Au balances art and commercialism in a relatively watch-able manner. The use of bright colours juxtapose beautifully with plain blackness or perceived darkness within the movie. The colours add layers to the movie and the bright orange that Zhou Xun wears, allow the audience to concentrate on her without being overshadowed by Au’s numerous special effects.
Tony Yang does well enough as a relentless runner and lover and the much missed Kristy Yang makes a brief drinking cameo to enhance even more sex appeal. Daniel Wu continues to show his already potential filled career by appearing here and there in a role that he is born for the taking. There is one scene in particular where he fights off a hundred men in a manner that alludes to Mr. Andersen in the Matrix. Au seems to love the rain as every moment seems to be artistic as the raindrops ponder through the minds of the characters. The use of pop-culture music enhances the message that Au is trying to portray, despite the fact that the film never actually connects to the audience.
All in all, Ming Ming is clearly an artistic movie with a touch of modern pop culture. The movie starts off running and never stop running and there are plenty of techniques that are worthy of noting. Au makes great use of the sound effects as she juxtaposes sudden silence with utterly fast beat music. While Zhou Xun once again excels in her role and ultimately lifts the movie a touch closer to reality, it is really a Susie Au’s film. Neo always admire people with their own certain style and is able to imprint in into the audience mind. While Ming Ming is by no means an accomplish piece of work, Au manages to portray a basic story in an extremely stylistic manner and adding a hint of the coolness of the pop culture. Still, despite all the good intention, Ming Ming fails to impact and the feeling is ultimately a beautifully packaged box filled with the emptiness of air. With that being said, for a first time director, Au has done extremely well and Neo is already waiting for whatever she have in mind next…
I rate it 7.5/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Starring: Zhou Xun, Daniel Wu, Tony Yang, Jeff Chang, Kristy Yeung Kung-Yu, Chan Bo-Yuen
Directed by: Susie Au Shuet-Yi
Genre: Wuxia/ Romance/ Action/ A bit of everything…