Dancing Lion 醒獅 (2007) – Hong Kong
Commercialisation of Chinese culture…
Francis Ng is a talented actor and perhaps can soon be a talented director. His last outing involved something called 9413, which seemed like a cheap budget, yet artistic low budget flick. Here, Ng departs from his previous debut style, to create an easy going movie that is lightly packaged in the disguise of Dancing Lion. It is always a pleasure for the viewers to witness the duo of Francis Ng and Anthony Wong, arguably the two most versatile actors in the Hong Kong industry. While both are spontaneously overacting, the movie is easily a fun and talkative type of outing. Perhaps, Ng used the dancing lions to represent Chinese culture and traditions and how things are being exploited and overused whenever something becomes popular. Towards the end of the flick, Wong seems to point out about the stock market and how there will always be quick money to make and the vice versa. Perhaps, this is just a nonsense movie about some dancing lions, but it is pretty clear that Ng either loves money or hates it.
Living in such a commercialise world in the shape of Hong Kong, it is clear that packaging, marketing and money dominates the tiny territory. Hong Kong people are fashionable and there is no question that people love to follow popular trends. When something is new, fresh and good, people will continue to exploit the strategy until it becomes an absolute cliché and sometimes to the point of annoyance. When the concept of Infernal Affairs became the territory most popular theme, dozens of movies, talk shows and everything else seems to relate to the aforementioned flick. A new idea becomes overused and eventually too cliché for its own good. Such is the concept that director Francis Ng seems to be pondering.
As an actor, there are few that can mimic any characters with such conviction and flair than Francis Ng. Here, he is able to play a 40 year old lad, who still thinks he is a damn cool hip hop kid in his 20s. Ng frequently overacts, but what makes Ng better than most is the manner he acts with such conviction. Anthony Wong also overacts and at times displays some priceless blank-faced facial expressions, resulting in a fun and satirical performance. Other characters appear here and there, including the fat lad – Lam Chi Chung who is simply playing himself and Teresa Mo in her usual outing. Once again, Hin Cheung is disappointing and his presence is seamlessly unnecessary. Really, Neo only have two words of advice for his fellow “Hin” – stick to singing.
Sometimes when you realize that life isn’t exactly what it seems to be is rather a disappointing issue. Perhaps the nature of money has now become the social norm as something to aim for and act for. Without being critical with the issue of wealth and money, Ng plays with the idea and concept, but ends up not discounting money all together as after all, we still need it to meet our own needs and wants. Popular culture is now an integral part of today’s society and that being popular nowadays does not mean or equal quality. With all being said, director Ng and Marco Mak have created a light and easygoing flick disguised as a Dancing Lion, by having at the very least something to say or emerge about Hong Kong’s culture. While it isn’t saying anything new, it is still an interesting piece of work and with 9413 and now this under his belt, Francis Ng’s skills are fast developing and hopefully continuing. It isn’t exactly faultless, but at the very least it is a highly enjoyable, little piece of gem… (Neo 2007)
I rate it 8/10