The Loan Shark 大耳窿 (2011) – Hong Kong/Malaysia

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The Loan Shark can easily be dismissed as outright low budget crap. However, points must be given to Malaysian director Hor Chee Leong for trying to turn a poorly written script into something seemingly better. It also helps when you have the likes of everyone who never made it big in Hong Kong cinema, namely Eddie Cheung, Lam Suet, Sam Lee and the return of Irene Wan. Of the four, Eddie Cheung at times steal the show with his villainous overacting and hideous laugh, while Lam Suet is Lam Suet, he is one actor who can so effortlessly make people laugh whether he is acting serious or not. As for female lead, I am quite impressed with newcomer Jojo Goh as she handles her internal turmoil extremely well and considering this is probably the most difficult role in the film as well. She is definitely one rising star to watch for the future. Still, in the world of Loan Shark, this film offers nothing special and most likely nothing we have not seen before. The only reason this film is watchable is because of its stars and the style over substance approach that Hor Chee Leong is well known for. With cheap sets, cheap budget, cheap actors, The Loan Shark somehow manages to rises above these constraints, but that’s not really saying much.

All in all, The Loan Shark is really C-grade movie and never really rises above its conventions. However, given the constraints, the budget and everything else, one just cannot wonder how bad this film potentially can be, given the hand of a lesser director. Luckily that’s not the case and all the actors does well enough to make the film watchable and full credits to the director for making all the cheap sets look better than it is. The Loan Shark is really a film that is hard to recommend and is best approached if you go into the film with ultra low expectations. In reality, it isn’t exactly that bad and it really could have been a hell lot worse…

Neo rates it 5/10

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