Hong Kong Digital
is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- a film
reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong
Let It Be
Anthony Wong Chau-sang (left) and Tommy
Wong Kwong-leung (right).
One should always give a movie at least a fighting chance before turning it off but LET IT BE opens with a sequence of events so pathetically unfunny that just about anyone in their right mind could be forgiven for ejecting the disc then and there. Accompanied by the most repetitive and annoying music in memory, the film's director, Hugo Ng Toi-yung, cameos as a would-be good samaritan who gets taken and/or beaten by everyone he tries to help. Thankfully, a robber eventually comes along and kills him but, be warned, there is still plenty more suffering in store for those foolish enough to continue watching.
Law Koon-lan (left) and Carrie Ng Kar-lai (right). Image courtesy Sun Power.
Dog food salesman Lau Ching (Tommy Wong Kwong-leung, making his first film appearance in several years) constantly cheats on his meek wife, Shun (Law Koon-lan), and is especially happy when his doctor buddy (Anthony Wong Chau-sang) sets him up with gorgeous Lui Chung-nam (Carrie Ng Kar-lai). Infatuated with his latest conquest, Ching quickly decides to divorce his wife but, unable to do so, instead brings Chung-nam home as his concubine. He then goes away for a few days to indulge in even more adultery, leaving the two women alone. Ching returns to find that Chung-nam has seduced Shun (who was actually a classmate of hers in primary school) and that the two have become lovers. Now it's Ching who is about to get dumped and he is desperate to put things back the way they were.
Tommy Wong, Law Koon-lan, Carrie Ng (left to right). Image courtesy Sun Power.
Given HK cinema's track record when it comes to presenting gay themes and characters, it is unwise to expect anything particularly innovative but LET IT BE fails to even offer anything meaningful or amusing about relationships period, gay or straight. The cartoonish situations are painfully contrived and the dialogue is no more credible than that found in Hugo Ng's equally wretched 1995 comedy HUSBANDS AND WIVES, which Anthony Wong also had the misfortune to co-star in. Law Koon-lan and Carrie Ng do the best they can with this nonsense (and, against all odds, manage to be almost affecting at times), while Tommy Wong and Anthony Wong are left to mug and flail around (most of their scenes together seem to have been staged with no script and virtually no direction). Then there are the bits with the always-weird Tats Lau Yee-tat as a TV show host that, like the opening scene, appear to have been added for the sole purpose of getting the movie over the 90 minute mark. The editing and continuity are a sham (at one point, Carrie Ng roles up her sleeves four times in the course of about ten seconds!), the dated sight gags are desperately punctuated with sound effects from old cartoons, and the family's parrot is even allowed to comment on the action (you'd think Ng would have learned his lesson from having included that irritating talking dog in HUSBANDS AND WIVES). It's still too early to choose the worst HK film of the year but, with less than two months left, one can only hope and pray that there is nothing more vapid and painful than LET IT BE lurking around the corner.
Tats Lau Yi-tat. Image courtesy Sun Power.