Category Archives: Shawn Yue

As The Light Goes Out 救火英雄 (2014) – Hong Kong / China

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 10th January 2013

Directed by: Derek Kwok
Starring: Nicholas Tse, Shawn Yue, Simon Yam, Hu Jun

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Derek Kwok is a director with plenty of potential. 2010’s “Gallants” was one of my favourite films of that year. Perhaps with just a few months apart from Danny Pang’s “Out of Inferno”, firefighting genre is not exactly something fresh or required. Still, “As Light Goes Out” manages to be tight, engaging and even tense, before dropping off the interest level in the final 20 minutes. The problem lies mainly in the lack of any knowledge or background information of its lead and main characters. This in turn have a devastating effect on the emotional side of things as the film goes on. This is not a bad film and justifiably above average, but it could easily have been more. For a director of Derek Kwok’s quality and throw in his biggest budget production to date, we as local audience expected more.

Nothing is really known about Nicholas Tse’s life and the things mentioned are never really explained in one way or another. Likewise for Shawn Yue, apart from having son and predictably needing to save him (spoilers alert), the audience hardly cares about him or his kid. In fact at times, we even forgotten the fact that his child is somewhere mixed within fire, building and explosions. Perhaps the best moments in the film comes from Simon Yam whose winkled years provide both character and emotional depth. As for Andy On, it is almost comical in his involvement in this film and his untimely and sudden departure is almost the same. Veteran Liu Kai Chi impresses in his extremely limited screen time as the commander in the midst of politics and humanity. Patrick Tam does well in a small role as the head of energy organization who needs to juggle ethics and moral values with that of money-minded Mainland bosses.

All in all, “As The Light Goes Out” works well for a good portion of the time. However the supposedly emotional finale lacks any sort of emotional punch as it feels dragged and the audience finds it difficult to engage or care for any of the characters. Shawn Yue is someone who has not improved after showing potential in “Jiang Hu” (2004), with more than a decade under his belt, his is still as stoic and cold as ever. Derek Kwok is certainly a director for the future, but there are too much underlying politics in this film. The question lies in why every Mainlander has to save the day and be the righteous hero while Hong Kong people are seen as money minded, evil or entirely self-interested. I know that none of these probably matters for people outside Hong Kong, but when a supposedly serious scene becomes an unintentional laughing stock, it certainly doesn’t help. Without being overly harsh, I actually enjoyed a good portion of this film, but we all know Derek Kwok can easily do better and Nicholas Tse have seen far better days. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 7/10

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[36HKIFF] Love in the Buff 春嬌與志明 (2012) – Hong Kong

HKIFF190

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Director Pang Ho-Cheung managed to deliver yet another piece of gem. Love in the Buff, a carry-on of the entertaining Love with a Puff deals with modern romance with an ingenious manner, excellent script, decent chemistry and a believable story. Pang in this film transform into the serial modern dating expert Patrick Kong. While Kong can write a good story about modern relationships and its dynamics and how love generally sucks, Pang out-dux his counterpart by being able to tell the story better on the big screen. Pang talks about similar issues, but what he is able to do in one film, Mr. Kong requires 10. Let’s not get too big-headed, as this is by no means a perfect movie. The flaws of the Miriam Yeung-Shawn Yue combo are still questionable at best and despite some improvement, the chemistry is at best decent. However, the film works despite the lack of smoking sequences and relies strongly on the likable presence of Miriam Yeung, the irresistibly hot Mini Yang and as per usual sharp and clever direction from the unmistakable Pang.

2

Miriam Yeung is really a hit and misses. No matter how much she tries to act, she is just not on the same calibre as let’s say Sammi Cheng. Still, Yeung is always a cheerful and likable character no matter how you put it. She is a genuine crowd pleaser and possesses an air of on-screen presence that carries the audience through the movie. The real problem of the film lies in Shawn Yue’s character, ever since I praised him with potential in his small role in Jiang Hu, Yue has stalemated to the point of delivering predictable stoic performances. It is a shame as the real star of the movie is not the central character, but rather their younger counterpart delivering a winning performance. Mini Yang is able to depict and show the emotions of a naive girl in love with a guy where his heart buried within his own history. Yang is a perfect combination of hot, sexy and cute and when you add some acting chops to the mix, you got an actress around the corner.

4

All in all, Love in the Buff is really a good movie, but relies more on Pang’s quality script writing, perfect song selections, sharp editing than on the actual acting itself. The good news is that there are plenty of laughs, funny moments, romantic tones and enough regrets to get the audience involved in the process. It is rare a film can overshadow the actors’ performances, and not unlike Wong Kar Wai, Pang is able to do this. Still, Love in the Buff could have easily been better; casting Yue-Yeung combo lacks the required chemistry to make this film truly successful. On the hand, in terms of sequels it is twice the rarity that the second film is better than the prior and in this respect, Buff easily out-dux Puff. Now that’s an achievement. A good film, but just not great…

5

Neo rates it 7.5/10

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