Blind Detective 盲探 (2013) – Hong Kong

Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA
Review Date: 8th July 2013

Director: Johnnie To
Starring: Andy Lau, Sammi Cheng, Guo Tao, Guo Yuan Yuan

Film Distributed by Media Asia, Sil-Metropole Organization, Emperor Motion Pictures

The film had its Asian premiere at the Shanghai International Film Festival.

Hong Kong Box Office takings: HK$15,653,089

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Johnnie To’s latest romantic comedy / crime thriller is really a mixed bag where the film relies more on the relayed chemistry between Andy Lau and Sammi Cheng; than the actually story and on goings itself. This is not necessary a bad thing as Lau and Cheng more than provide enough laughs, fun and effortless playing of one another to make “Blind Detective” far more entertaining than it should ever really be.

In many ways “Blind Detective” plays like a lot of Johnnie To’s past resume, namely the awkwardly similar detective techniques that was so vividly seen in far superior “Mad Detective” and the heavy reliance on the already established chemistry between Lau and Cheng.

Lau tries hard to act in this film and somewhat redeems himself after a faltering of a performance in “Switch”. As a blind man he is certainly more entertaining to watch than Tony Leung in “Silent War”, but that isn’t exactly saying much. There is little depth in his character other than the fact that he is smart, quick witted and enjoy indulging in richness. Sammi Cheng shines and almost overshadows the “man” of Hong Kong as his sidekick and steadfast and predictable love interest. Cheng provides the audience with the humane bridge to the film and many of her inter-plays and reactions to Lau are simply priceless to watch. Cheng has matured as an actress and although this may not win her any awards, there is depth in her character that the audience can instantly identify with.

In making “Blind Detective”, To is at loggerhead as to focus the film on the crime investigation or the blossoming love story. As a love story, it works, but the film falls flat on the ground with a padded up detective story that will take more than a gallon of gold to convince. The film also falls flat when the baton is given to the Mainland counterparts (the usually graceful Gao Yuan Yuan and the dependable Guo Tao), as their involvements add nothing to the film and the voice dubbing seems like a comedy on its own. Still, seeing Lau and Cheng have so much fun on-screen is always a joy to endure and sometimes you wonder what the Hong Kong cinema scene is like, without this two true cinematic pairing. I say, enjoy while it last. (Neo 2013)

I rated it 7/10

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