Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 17 July 2007
Released on DVD across Asia
Starring: Charmaine Sheh Si-Man, Hacken Lee Hak-Kun, Yuen Qiu, Wong Jing, Liu Yang, Bonnie Wong Man-Wai, Cheung Tat-Ming, Yumiko Cheng Hei-Yi, Zuki Lee Si-Pui
Directed by: Billy Chung
Produced by: Wong Jing
Yet another cliché
Wong Jing loves to rip off the latest craze in Hong Kong culture, and with the rising popularity of the TVB’s “Cooking Beauty” series; it is only a matter of time before someone just have to cash in. Sharing similar premises as the far superior “God of Cookery”, Wong Jing have once again created a fully manufactured material. It is okay not to be original, but it is a death sentence to be boring. The film starts off with a credible opening 40 minutes, but then it just drags on with irrelevant events, before hooking up in a slightly better finale. In truth, it is still better than “Kung Fu Mahjong 3”, but it is still a far cry from a couple of years ago, when the Wong Jing shocked everyone with “Colour of the Truth”. There are occasional funny parts, but ultimately it struggles to be average.
To be honest, I have never been a fan of TVB’s Charmaine Sheh, as there is an aspect of her infamous nose that clearly gets in the way, but nonetheless she handles the paper thin role in a rather convincing manner. Then again, Sheh despite her flaws have always been a somewhat natural talent and one only requires a viewing of her body of TVB works before reaching an agreement. As for Hacken Lee, he seems to appear here and there to provide his speciality of background music, rather than actual acting. His type of acting certainly doesn’t help the cause and probably resulting in a pretty much non-chemical relationship with Sheh. However, mainland newcomer Liu Yang shines through in the flower glass role. Perhaps the most surprising comment that I will later regret claiming, is that Wong Jing for once isn’t outright annoying and the fact that he acts stupid makes it far easier to believe in his character, even though it is pretty much a nothing role.
Instead of attributing all the blame to the producer Wong Jing, one must also slap director Billy Chung in the face, as he resorts to cliché after cliché. Why must there be a crying scene filled with the backdrop of Hacken Lee’s music. Just when you think it couldn’t get any worst, the scene is compounded with artificial raindrops. Sometimes, it makes you wonder, whether or not Wong Jing actually loves film making or not. (I should probably add – it is a rhetorical question.)
All in all, this is yet another uninspiring entry into Wong Jing’s body of recent work. While it is better than “Kung Fu Mahjong 3”, it really isn’t saying much. However, the most frightening aspect of this flick is not the movie itself, but rather the potential of seeing future flicks with the names of “The Lady Iron Chef 2 and 3”. Then again, it may well be true as we should all remember the director that launched the “Kung Fu Mahjong” series – Billy Chung. There are some funny sequences, Sheh is a natural and Liu is provides the eye candy, but the flick is far too frequently hampered by boring segments and criminal-run of clichés. This isn’t Wong Jing’s worst and it is difficult to see how it can be any better… (Neo 2007)
I rate it 5.25/10