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January 21st, 2002 Issue #92

Hong Kong Digital is a recurring series of movie reviews by John Charles -- associate editor / film reviewer for Video Watchdog magazine and the author of The Hong Kong Filmography.

(2001; Star East / United Filmmakers Organization)

Cover art courtesy Deltamac.

A Masterpiece
Highly Recommended
Very Good
Marginal Recommendation
Not Recommended
Definitely Not Recommended

Cantonese: Chor luen la ja mien
Mandarin: Chu lian na zha mian
English: First Love Assorted Noodles


Despite being less than a master chef and far from flush with cash, Kuk (Eric Tsang Chi-wai) decides to open a noodle restaurant, with the help of his teenage son, Kuk-fung (Laurence Chou Chun-wai), and grade school age daughter Cocoa (Yuki Lai Yuen-tung). Soon after, they are joined by adorable Carlily Pang (Rainie Yang Cheng-lin) and her tomboy sister, Heman (GLASS TEARS' Zeny Kwok Sin-yu), who are related to the previous tenant. Fung is instantly attracted to Carlily and the two start dating, while Cocoa finds her own companion in Locust (Darren Cheng Dao-lam), an impoverished orphan, whose grandmother (Helena Law Lan) supports them by rooting through garbage every day. Heman is a major detriment to Kuk-fung's love life but, after some prodding from Carlily, the enemies go on the "King of the Street" game show together and end up becoming much closer than anyone would ever have expected.

From left to right: Laurence Chou, Rainie Yang and Zeny Kwok. Image courtesy Deltamac.

Director Thomas Chow Wai-kwan and screenwriter / DJ GC Goo-bi have fashioned a predictable but sweet and disarming coming-of-age story, while also daring to assert that money is not the key to happiness (not exactly the axiom HK cinema is built upon). The cinematography and settings are consistently attractive (and, at times, almost as idealized as the story) but likeable performances are the main draw here, with the young cast members consistently hitting the right notes. The attack on Eric Tsang in July of 2001 occurred before MERRY-GO-ROUND had wrapped, so there are a few shots here where his face looks rather battered. Normally, a continuity flaw like this would not be overly detrimental but his character is so happy-go-lucky that it is mildly distressing to see prominent bruises materializing from time-to-time. Vincent Kuk Tak-chiu and Ann Hui On-wah appear briefly, and Kelly Chan Wai-lam has a brash, not-very-funny cameo as the geeky "Lady Brace."

DVD Specs:

Deltamac #DVD88042
Dolby Digital 2.0
Sync Sound Cantonese and Dubbed Mandarin Language Tracks
Optional Subtitles In English and Chinese (Traditional or Simplified)
10 Chapters Illustrated In the Menu With Clips
Letterboxed (1.83:1)
Coded for ALL Regions
93 Minutes
Contains mild language but no objectionable elements to speak of

DVD menu courtesy Deltamac.

Film Board Ratings and Consumer Advice

Hong Kong: I


This is a very nice rendering, with vibrant colors, a sharp image, and flawless source material. The mono sound is passable, though the Mandarin track is a bit distorted in spots. A trailer is the only extra.


MERRY-GO-ROUND is available at Poker Industries.

Click here for more information about The Hong Kong Filmography

Copyright © John Charles 2000 - 2002. All Rights Reserved.
E-mail: mail@dighkmovies.com

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