Category Archives: Ronny Yu

The Phantom Lover 夜半歌聲 (1995) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 18th April 2013

Directed by: Ronny Yu
Starring: Leslie Cheung, Jacklyn Wu Chien-lien

Reviewed as part of HK Neo Reviews – 10 year resemblance of the late Leslie Cheung.

Released across Asia and the world on DVD. Support the site by buying DVD or Blu-ray from our HK Neo Distribution Ebay Store

“THE PHANTOM LOVER” may come with plenty of reputation, being named as the “PHANTOM OF OPERA” of the east, boasting director Ronny Yu at the heights of his powers, Jacklyn Wu Chien-lien fresh off the “A MOMENT FOR ROMANCE” franchise and quite simply Leslie Cheung. One would undoubtedly assume an instant classic, but the result is far from the case. There are plenty of moments where the film could have been great, but Yu never allows the film to focus on more important issues on hand, by wrongly giving a batch of screen time to the uncharismatic mainland lead actor Lei Huang.

Lei Huang constantly tries to apt Leslie Cheung’s infamous air of coolness and trademark smile, but has zero screen presence and not to mention some highly questionable acting chops. With Leslie Cheung frequently regulated to the background and resorted to flashbacks, the film ultimately suffers from having a core and not to mention a frantic finish that neither make sense or come to a workable solution. Jacklyn Wu Chien-lien is largely wasted in a role where she simply screams, cry and beg for love. Wu is an expert in playing these type of submissive lover role, but she too seem out of place. While the star of the show, Cheung tries hard in his disjointed screen-time with mixed effect.

All in all, “THE PHANTOM LOVER” could easily have been a cinematic classic, instead director Yu fails to focus the film on far more important things, namely the central doomed love affair and the rather lack of Cheung and Wu. Still, this film is far from being a bad film, but it is certainly one that should have been a lot longer, better focus and core. The result is a breezy, but irrelevant 90 minutes, making it incredibly difficult to stand alongside many of 90’s Leslie Cheung classics. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 6/10

HKIFF Review: Saving General Yang 忠烈楊家將 (2013) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 9th April 2013

Directed by: Ronny Yu
Starring: Ekin Cheng, Vic Chou, Xu Fan, Yu Bo, Raymond Lam, Wu Chun and Adam Cheng
In cinemas around Australia and Hong Kong on 4th April 2013.

Reviewed as part of 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2013

Support the site by buying DVD or Blu-ray from our HK Neo Distribution Ebay Store

The issue with Ronny Yu’s latest action blockbuster epic “SAVING GENERAL YANG”, is that there are far too many people, a clear lack of focus and an inability to maintain the audience’s attention span. With all the pretty boys poster, the film will definitely attract a full house teenager girls audience, but for action fans and even Ronny Yu’s fans expecting another “FEARLESS” or “BRIDE WITH WHITE HAIR”, “SAVING GENERAL YANG” is nothing like the aforementioned films and more likely alluded to “FREDDY VS JASON”. Assembling a cast of Ekin Cheng, Vic Chou, Xu Fan, Yu Bo, Raymond Lam, Wu Chun and Adam Cheng is not easy and directing them all in one movie is even harder. When the best thing are the cheers you hear from the noisy teenager girls quadrant in the audience, where each male character are being introduced, you know that this film is far more promotional art than actual cinema. I am not sure, what made director Ronny Yu take the film on board, but whatever it is, this is Yu’s worst film and for god sake, even “FREDDY VS JASON” is better entertainment. It is this bad.

I am not going to go into the detail with each characters or actors, as none of them came through with a performance, but rather like shooting a commercial with zero character and almost impossible to identify . Everyone just seems to appear here and there in random spaces, only to collect a big hefty pay check, before leaving the set for other venture. Veteran Adam Cheng’s probably comes of best, as most long time cinema fans, eagerly awaits his presence on the big screen for a long time. He is probably the only character that comes off somewhat interesting within the midst of mess that Yu presents to us.

All in all, words cannot describe how bad, incoherent and irrelevant “SAVING GENERAL YANG” really is. The world is full of bad cinema, but there are films that knows they are bad and somehow manages to entertain by being unintentionally funny. However, there is no such saving grace in this movie. The real issues are not just Ronny Yu’s poor direction, but rather from top to bottom, script to editing, Ekin Cheng to Vic Chou and pretty much everyone involved, except for the adequate period costume designers. Perhaps, the film is better of as a pure commercial, selling hot boys and Adam Cheng. I feel like I have ramble more than enough, but sometimes, you just have to get it out. My sincere apology, if I offend anyone, but let’s hope next time, for everyone’s involved they all make better movies. (Neo 2013, Reviewed as part of 37th Hong Kong International Film Festival 2013)

I rated 1/10