Review by: Andrew Chan FCCA AACTA FIPRESCI
Review Date: 16th September 2013
Directed by: Fung Chih-chiang
Starring: Chapman To as Chiu, Charlene Choi as Suen, Gillian Chung, Wong Cho-lam, Yumiko Cheng, He Jiong, Lo Hoi-pang, Louis Cheung, Vincy Chan, Hins Cheung, Gao Yunxiang, Deep Ng
Film Distributed by Emperor Motion Pictures
In cinemas Hong Kong from 4th September 2013
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At the very least, “The Midas Touch” is more entertaining than last year’s struggle, but well acted “DIVA”. The film actually tries hard to convince the audience and almost managed to pull it off in a somewhat touching finale. Chapman To is now an established actor and like in “DIVA” his best dramatic performance is usually when he restrain himself from over-acting. In “Midas”, Chapman To never overacts and in turn is able to relate to the audience with a character that is extremely likable and quite frankly pulling off another good display of matured acting. The main problem of “Midas” is that it tends to drag out its sequences and with some smarter editing, 120 minutes of screen time is not entirely necessary. I am also not really sure which direction, the film is trying to take. In terms of genre, it is neither funny enough to qualify as a comedy, not dramatic enough to fill the audience with tears and definitely not romantic enough to go down that path. As a result, “The Midas Touch” feels all over the place, insignificant and sometimes uninteresting. Director Fung Chih-chiang, previously made the above average “The Bounty” and even shows glimpses of potential, but with a bigger budget and lesser directorial control, Fung fails to fully deliver.
What I am impressed about Chapman To is his ability to channel versatility in his acting. When I first noticed his potential, it was not in “Infernal Affairs”, but rather the well-made Wong Jing’s clone “Colour of Truth”. In that film, he manages to show his comic timing and stole the show despite his limited screen time as a supporting player. Of course, Chapman has improved loads and bounds since then and in “Midas”, he has now matured to the stage, where he can carry a film on his broad shoulders despite his unconventional leading man looks. His lack of chemistry with Charlene Choi is perhaps one of the reason why the film did not entirely convinces. Choi have a far more successful transition from childish antics of the past to a now fully matured and fledged 30 year old. Although there are still some glimpses of cute antics, her “My Wife is 18” days are by far and long gone. The weakest link in “Midas” is the lack of an identifiable character for Choi and while her performance shows maturity, her character is rather uninteresting and at times insignificant. In essence, Choi pales in comparison to Chapman To’s sympathetic and likable performance. As for the rest of the newcomers and models, most of them are raw and by the end of the film, none of them are able to stand out from the pack. While it is not exactly time for the panic button, but for one to be a true star, it requires something special, stand out and worth remembering. However, in this film, none of the 7 girls took their opportunities with both their hands.
All in all, “The Midas Touch” does have its moments where the audience are actually connected and in some ways, the film is actually pretty well made, but none of the scenes shows a level of fluency and flow that adds up to the finale. Instead, the films takes nearly two hours to tell a story or a well-meaning message, when it could have easily taken 90 minutes. There is also not enough laugh out loud moments for the film to be a comedy and when it tries for dramatic effects, it feels rather odd. Still, there are things that we can appreciate in Fung’s work, namely Chapman To’s performance and also some moments of cinematic magic (courtesy of a storming finish). It would be harsh to say that “The Midas Touch” is a bad film, as it is not, or at the very least, it tries hard not to be, but being average is not exactly what the local audience is after. With Chapman To at the height of his fame and a maturing Charlene Choi on display, I just expected more. (Neo 2013)
I rated 6/10