Category Archives: Nick Cheung

The King of Debt Collecting Agent 黑道風雲之收數王 (1999) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 2nd January 2013
Released on DVD across Asia

Director: Ivan Lai
Cast: Nick Cheung, Francis Ng, Anthony Wong, Sam Lee, Turbo, Gabriel Harrison, Tina Lee, Law Koon-Lan, Austin Wai, Yip Or-Fan, Peter Lai, Lau Shek-Yin

In 1999, Nick Cheung made seven quick-fire starring vehicles with “The King of Debt Collecting Agent” being his first major headlining role. In this film, you can witness Cheung’s apparent maturity in his acting and the second half provides Cheung with a chance to showcase his dramatic range. Perhaps not entirely successful, Cheung at the very least is never annoying. It is strange how such a small budget feature can garner the likes of Francis Ng and Anthony Wong (in an extended cameo) to co-star, but this is in all essence a Nick Cheung film.

There are some good moments in this film and there are enough Hong Kong’s 90s film-making style to shoot the audience pass the finishing. In fact, the first half possesses some good comic timing and the from rags to riches story is fun enough to follow. The film takes a sharp turn by the half way mark and turns bloody and dark, unfortunately director Ivan Lai (“The Erotic Ghost Story 3”) is not entirely up to the task. The film suffers from a lack of focus, the usual 90s poor lighting and an extremely blend and ordinary direction that distracts the audience to focusing on the characters and their fate.

Nick Cheung (“Beast Stalker”) does a good job in role that stretches more his acting muscles than most of his late 90s and early 2000s comedies. He flairs far better when he is allowed to be serious and there are some glimpses of potential that will eventually make him one of Hong Kong’s premier acting talents in recent years. His chemistry with his mother (played by the ever natural Law Koon-Lan “Truth or Dare: 6th Floor Rear Flat”) is especially good. While, his love interest played by Tina Lee lacks a cutting edge and fail miserably in pulling off the final movie twist. Sam Lee provides ably support and flairs better towards the end when required to emote. However, Francis Ng (“The Last Tycoon”) surprisingly fails to add anything to the film, apart from providing some moments of laugher. His mimic of his over-used 90s cinema voice is funny at first instance, but grew tiresome as the film progresses. While his counterpart Anthony Wong (“Motorway”) shows up in numerous scenes randomly without much effect.

Still, “The King of Debt Collecting Agent” is a perfect example of late 90s Hong Kong cinema, a time when the industry is lacking in creativity, using lower budgets to churn out films in quick fashion, while at the same time still manages to provide glimpses of Hong Kong flair and style. Films like these won’t be made in today cinematic standards and the local flavours these type of films processes is priceless for today’s generation. In many ways, the film gave Nick Cheung a starring performance and despite all the stated flaws, “The King of Debt Collecting Agent” still manages to entertains. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 6.5/10

Sweet Revenge 寄生人 (2007) – Hong Kong / China

Review by: Andrew Chan (Neo) FCCA AACTA
Re-edited on: 24 September 2012

An artistic B-movie. What happens when you combine a Golden Horse award winning director Ho Ping with a B-movie expert Tony Leung Hung Wah? The answer is “Sweet Revenge”, a movie that contain some well shot scenes as well as some worthy shots of cinematography, which all adds up to being an above average flick.

Sometimes, you wonder what could have been, especially when the movie contains the ever improving Nick Cheung (“The Exiled”), the irresistible Fan Bing Bing, an award winning supporting actor in Anthony Wong (“Turning Point”) and adding on the icing with Golden Horse winning director Ho Ping. Perhaps this is the reason why the film left me slightly disappointed, as it never attempts to do anything new or special. Sure, it is probably a good movie by Tony Leung Hung Wah’s standard, but with the above involvement, “Sweet Revenge” is really rather disappointing.

The first stop of this review is definitely a little paragraph dedicating to the irresistible Fan Bing Bing. Fan Bing Bing is one pretty girl and there is something about her that makes her irresistible for the viewers’ eyes. It may well be her wide eyes, her natural curve face or her sensitive emotion, but whatever it is, Fan is one person that can captivate the audience attention. Moving on to her performance, Fan for the first time in her short acting career is given a slightly beefy role and she handles it with a certain natural flair. Not only is she able to hold her own against the likes of veteran Anthony Wong, but even manages to steal the spotlight away from the ever improving Nick Cheung. This is especially evident in an arty scene where Fan is crouching down on the backdrop of an artistic wall. A much improved performance from her last outing “Battle of Wits” and most certainly an actress I will be keeping a close eye on for years to come.

Almost forgetting that this is a Nick Cheung’s movie, it is needless to say that the man has improved his acting ever since storming through the scenes of Johnnie To’s “The Exiled”. In this film, Cheung is suitably intense and at times his morph into madness is quite enduring to watch. Adding to the mix is the always dependable Anthony Wong who seems to have nothing to do, either than kiss the girl (namely Fan Bing Bing), drink and sleep. Unfortunately his romance with Fan seems more fictional than reality. This in turns indirectly adds to some unnecessary thoughts from the audience as to whether Wong is really Fan Bing Bing’s dad.

All in all, “Sweet Revenge” have some bright spots and it is probably safe to say that the film is a good B grade film. However, given the A-list cast and award winning director, the end result seems rather like a waste of talent. The effect is leaving the audience feeling what could have been. While the film attempts answer all the questions that it seems to poses, it somehow fails to add that extra bit of flavour which can turn the film into something special. In the past, Ho Ping’s films have a certain distinct flavour upon it, but this time, his direction seems to be overshadowed by something. The result is like an above average birthday cake, that just kind of loses its flavour. It is an adequate piece of filmmaking, but I just can’t help thinking – what could have been. (Neo 2007)

I rate it 7/10