review by Neo
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hot Shu Qi in a movie within movie!
In a flick of a guess - most male HK cinema fans will surely have seen or at the very least searched for this movie, as after all this is Shu Qi's screen debut and also marking one of her first few CAT 3 starring roles. As for female readers, you can probably ignore Neo's comments about that aspect and focus on other details. So what's the point of reviewing this movie when most male population has probably seen it? Well, perhaps what Neo wants to achieve in this review is not talk about what people already know about (nude/sex/crap), but rather the reason that this movie is still appealing to the audience 10 years on.
Firstly this movie is not just another CAT 3, but rather one that tries to convey complicated messages and also acting as a satire at the same time. It attempts to comment on humanity, on what grounds and base people are willing to do for money and fame. It raise questions about - why? How? What? When? Why do people do this? How can they live with it? What can they do about it? When will they finally be accepted or even accept themselves? All these questions are what all those AV (Adult Videos for those who didn't know) actress from Japan that lingers across their minds when they do what they do. After all we must remember that no matter what sexual act they do on camera, they are still humans and not some object. Which means that they have feelings too...
The movie attempts to show to the audience that even the director can be forced to do a CAT 3, and the problems that go through an unsuccessful yet artistic director's mind when they are making movies in such a commercial world. This can clearly be identify in the scenes where a silly sex comedy can break boxoffice records while on the same night an artistic film ended up wth failure and dud ratings. This is clearly a direct comment on the stupidity of Wong Jing and the artistic version of Wong Kar Wai. With HK cinema boxoffice on such a downside, perhaps you are right Derek Yee, only a director like Wong Jing can survive in such a money-minded commercial world. Did you guys remember how when Leslie Cheung dies, and his CDs and DVDs suddenly sky-rocketed in sales? As sad as it seems, perhaps the only way for every movie to guarantee success is to have the famous lead star dying just before its release. It that is truly the case then HK cinema has no hope whatsoever.
Despite baring her chest and breast, Shu Qi shines through in her role and shows glimpses of her acting talent to come. Her transition from idiotic to maturity is one of fascination, but perhaps, most people did not take notice due to her breast doing so much acting and screen time, the way she acted in the movie within movie is quite a scene to watch. While the late Leslie Cheung show once again why he is so competent and such a likable actor in his easygoing yet maturing and problematic performance as a struggling internally and externally wanna-be art director directing CAT 3 films. Karen Mok shines through in a rather natural performance as I have seen Mok in recent years.
This movie is clearly not just about sex, but a movie that has a somewhat meaningful message to pass along. While the movie ending is questionable especially as Neo feels that the music video style sex scene is not only not exciting but rather annoying and cheesy. This movie is one that comments on social conventions, the fact that everyone are humans even Cat 3 filmmakers, the bottom line of humanity, the dominating force of money in the commercial filmmaking of HK and the most intriguing of all - the question of WHY do people do this? While the films does not hit the mark in all its suggestions and shit, but what this film does so well is to tell the audience one very important point about life - life is like a soccer game, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but what really is important is how you weather through these storms and if you don't want to think then just take a look at Shu Qi!
I rate it 8/10
on this movie on HK Neo Reviews Forum
Directors: Derek Yee
Cast: Leslie Cheung, Shu Qi, Karen Mok
Reviewed by Andrew (Neo), April 2005