Category Archives: Lo Hoi-pang

Baby Blues 詭嬰 (2013) – Hong Kong / China

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 30th December 2013

Director: Po-Chih Leong
Starring: Sing Kwan Janelle, Raymond Lam, Hoi-Pang Lo, Karena Ng

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What I enjoy about watching bad movies is when there are indirect or unintentional redeeming factors. The latest Mainland horror/thriller co-production should come as no surprise that the story and ending will be as expected, but when spotting the obvious or deliberate product placement is the most interesting part of the film, it can only be bad news. I do not know whether I should be ashamed of myself as a film critic for focusing on irrelevant events. Still, there are a few chilling moments, but they are also equally cheesy that will easily make “Child’s Play” seems like cinematic magic. Don’t get me wrong, this is a terrible film and none of the above can truly save it.

Raymond Lam continues his trend of “one note” acting. He seems to have forgotten that this is a horror movie and not a TVB serial co-starring Linda Chung. It is a shame that popularity does not always equate good acting. Karena Ng, who plays Lam’s wife sister appears in a character that seems to be there due to their real life romance than anything. It is funny how she cares about Lam more than his wife (Sing Kwan Janelle) in the movie. Kate Tsui shines in comparison of the duo and even manages to put on a good show as well as providing the film with its most chilling moment in the form of singing. Lo Hoi Pang is creepy as the old man waiting outside while collecting his paycheck in appearing in yet another 2013 movie.

All in all, “Baby Blues” suffers from a lack of story, terrible casting and acting from its leads and a question of over-doing product placement. In a notable car crash scene, while the car is flying in the air, a cup of Starbucks “toliet water” appears, while in another Johnnie Walker simply walks into the film as a supporting actor. In essence films like these should never really be made and while Kate Tsui can act, “Baby Blues” cannot. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 3/10

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The Constable 冲锋战警 (2013) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 17th December 2013

Director: Dennis Law Sau-Yiu
Script: Dennis Law Sau-Yiu
Action Director: Nicky Li Chung-Chi
Producer: Dennis Law Sau-Yiu
Starring: Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Lam Suet, Sam Lee Chan-Sam, Maggie Siu Mei-Ke, Niu Meng-Meng, Ken Lo Wai-Kwong, Eddie Cheung Siu-Fa, Lo Hoi-Pang

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After almost a decade of directing, property developer turned filmmaker proved a wise old saying wrong. Practice does not always make perfect as Dennis Law continues to churn out crap in line with his extremely low standards.

Simon Yam tries extremely hard in putting in a leading character performance, but ultimately fails to enhance the film. Sam Lee returns to the big screen in a largely stereotypical role of the abusive boyfriend. While Johnnie To’s regulars Lam Suet, Maggie Sui, Eddie Cheung, Lo Hoi Pang makes cameo appearances that adds no value to the story.

All in all, “The Constable” is a perfect example of how not to direct a movie. The film is full of pointless scenes, useless characters and piss poor direction. The result is a final product that will likely deter audiences from returning to the cinemas for smaller local films. For that reason alone, Dennis Law should make better use of his money by being an investor and producer in films where better new directors are being used. In other words, please stop directing Mr. Law. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 2/10

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HKAFF: A Complicated Story 一個複雜故事 (2013) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 30th October 2013

Starring: 朱芷瑩 Jacqueline Zhu, 張學友 Jacky Cheung, 車婉婉 Stephanie Che, 子義 Zi Yi, 葉德嫻 Deannie Ip, 盧海鵬 Lo Hoi-pang
Produced by: Johnnie To, Shu Kei
Directed by: 周冠威 Kiwi Chow

Reviewed at 10th Hong Kong Asian Film Festival 2013

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“A Complicated Story” does contains an interesting premises about the issue of surrogate mothers, but unfortunately the film suffers from overall awful pacing issues. The first two acts goes extremely well in a slow, but equally engaging manner where character development and happenings are a core focus. However, all that potential and build up is essentially ruined by a rather rushed final act that seems to race to the finish line, the effect is like a Ferrari speeding along the congested traffic. In other words, it is essentially against the flow of things. I understand that producer Johnnie To, tried to distant himself from being involved in this project, whether to give youth a chance or whatever, I still believe that with more of his experience and influence, the film may well have ended a better product.

The film also suffers from an uninteresting leading performance from Taiwanese actress Jacqueline Zhu (“Lust, Caution”) who is often blank faced when required to be searching for emotions. She lacks charisma, charm or the looks of an actress to carry the film. Especially considering how many Johnnie To’s cast members makes supporting appearances. In spite of this, the star of the show is really Stephanie Che. Che simply steals the show in her first leading role after a long career playing second fiddles. Jacky Cheung also makes a welcoming appear and add some much needed star power to the film. However, his involve seem rather novel and he is never in character. In fact, there are times, when the audience feel as though he is appearing as Jacky Cheung rather than the character he is meant to be playing. While Zi Yi (“Blind Detective”) is adequate, but at times his overacting is almost to the point of bothersome and annoyance. Others are given less than enough screen time namely the ever dependable Lo Hoi-pang as the doctor and the much missed John Sham as the lawyer’s boss. Deanie Ip is wonderful in her little role as inspiring beach bar owner who gives some words of wisdom along the way.

Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts graduate student and first time director Kiwi Chow manages to show glimpses of potential, but by the end of the film, one just cannot help, but feel dissatisfy. Chow’s debut feature work possess enough quality for him to build on and will probably have a bright future ahead. However, in many ways, this is a missed opportunity. It is a chance for mainstream and industry people to work closely with aspiring filmmakers and with the quality of people behind the scenes, one would have thought that they would at the very least get the pacing right. The film best moments lies when Stephanie Che tells her life story in the car and provides the audience with a much needed emotional moment, but from then all, its all down hill from there. This kind of films, needs to be inspiring, touching and perhaps refreshing. Instead, what we get is another mediocre film that runs riot across Hong Kong cinema. Not to mention, there is also the issue of the director’s idea to change the original story character from a local Hong Kong person to a Mainland Chinese character. I would have though a film like this does not need to please the Mainland market, should be used to develop local Hong Kong talents. In casting a blank faced actress, Chow has effectively wasted a rare opportunity for a Hong Kong up and coming actress to shine on the big stage. As a big supporter of the local Hong Kong cinema, we all know that in most co-productions with China, the directors no longer get to choose the actress, as it needs to meet the Mainland quota requirements. Therefore, it is almost paramount that we try to nurture the next Maggie Cheung, rather than the next Zhang Zi Yi. Still, “A Complicated Story” is not a bad film, it is just far too average to stand above the current market. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 6/10

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