Movie Review: Three/ 三人行

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Insultingly preposterous, overwrought, and shallow. I’d rather watch DRUG WAR again.

Johnnie To has made some of Hong Kong cinema’s most recognizable films, like The Mission, Running on Karma, and Election, to name just a few. I used to love going to see Johnnie To movies, because I knew I would enjoy them.

But unfortunately, I have to say that’s no longer the case. Staring in 2008, with Sparrow and Linger, I’ve found myself enjoying fewer and fewer of his films. It may be because a lot of his work has been aimed at the China market since then, and the restrictions that come with that focus tend to make films that are, to me, uninteresting at best… and aggravating at worst. 

In fact, the only film of his that I really liked since 2007’s Mad Detective was 2013’s Blind Detective. I didn’t even watch Office, because I don’t like musicals.

And I had seen the trailer. 

I also skipped Office because I had seen Drug War and Don’t Go Breaking My Heart 2, both of which really annoyed me.  So as you may imagine, I was slightly trepidacious (sic)when I went to see Three, Johnnie To’s latest film. 

It stars Louis Koo, Zhao Wei and Wallace Chung as a cop, a doctor, and a suspect, respectively. They do a good job in their roles, more or less. The opening of the film seems stilted and obvious.  It sets up Zhao Wei’s character, but it comes off as wooden and perfunctory.  o too does her performance, but I think a lot of it has to do with her being dubbed into Cantonese. I’m sure she would seem more believable in her native language.

One big problem for the main cast is that the supporting cast are so much more interesting and human and believable. Timmy Hung, Lam Suet, and Lol  Hoi Pang steal scenes most of the time they appear in them. They’re not necessarily realistic, but at least they’re entertaining, and these days that’s enough.

In Three, it’s especially welcome. 

Look, let’s be clear: I really didn’t like this movie at all. To be honest, I almost walked out about halfway through it. I haven’t done that since Love at 7th Sight. Here’s some of the reasons why. 

I’m not a police officer, and I’m not a medical doctor. But I’m not mentally challenged, either. I understand movies have to employ a certain amount of implausible events, characters and ideas in order to move a story forward. The problem arises when writers take gigantic liberties with things like basic police and medical procedure. 

As far as this hospital and this police force are concerned, logic and plausibility have obviously been branded Falun Gong practitioners and been taken to the basement where their organs are stripped like a stolen car. 

The relevance of that particular metaphor will be made clear later. 

If I can’t believe anything that happens in a movie, how can I get caught up in the story? Three is quite literally unbelievable. But it did teach me things.

Did you know that doctors can blithely walk into a sterile operating theater without any problems? And that when they do decide to participate in the surgery, it only takes about 20 seconds for them to scrub up? 

Did you know that a 9mm hollow point projectile fired from a handgun at close range into the right temple can traverse the brain and not kill someone? All it apparently leads to is a bad CGI nosebleed. He’s apparently in no pain and can converse wittily with all those people around him? He’s lucid, and only has adverse reactions when the script needs him to.

Oooh, it’s like Viral Factor 2 in this bitch! 

Speaking of speaking to (?) other people, did you know that Hong Kong police put dangerous wounded suspects in an open ward with regular patients and allow the suspect to chat with them?

Did you know they let them watch live TV coverage of a crime he may have instigated? Well, now you know.

Did you know that a patient who’s been restrained can get loose and wander not just the ward his bed is in but the entire hospital? And no one notices him fiddling around in the nurse’s stations?

Did you know seizure medications wear off in just 20 minutes? 

Did you know pulling an IV tube out of your hand only results in a tiny amount of (CGI) blood?

Did you know hospitals are so clean that a dozen people can get shot in a ward and there’s not a drop of blood on the floor?

Did you know some cops are so inept and downright dumb that you can’t really be sure he’s not an escapee from the mental health ward just pretending to be a cop? God forbid he looks at what he saw someone put in a trash bin. This is after he opens the trash bin and picks it up. No, that’ll wait til later.

Speaking of dumb policing, did you know that the best person to replace a veteran detective on a suspect watch is a fat rookie who may as well be wearing a sign that says “I’m gonna f@#$ up. Badly”?

I’m not an unreserved fan of the Hong Kong police, but I refuse to believe that they and the local medical profession are this careless, unprofessional and dumb. I realize you need some things to be a little unrealistic to move a story, but Three ends up being unbearably farcical.

And not in a good way.

The only people who could e fooled by this appalling lack of detail are the people on the head trauma ward. Even they might not be fooled.

On a personal level, I’m really tired of local movies somehow trying to establish a character’s intelligence or erudition by having them make these obnoxiously obscurantist (!) references and quotes. It’s even worse when they get them wrong. 

The Bertrand Russell story is about a turkey, not a chicken, f@#$o.

For that matter, if you’re going to throw yourself down the stairs to break your neck, it might help if you took off the f@#$ing neck brace first. 

Maybe Johnnie To is trying to make some kind of trenchant observation about Hong Kong, specifically, for example, the pressure put on the city’s health care system by an influx of people from the mainland.

And maybe he’s trying to highlight the changing nature of Hong Kong’s police force, who were once rightfully called Asia’s Finest.

But I don’t believe it, because the film ends with not one but two scenes which, intentionally or not, make the movie completely acceptable to the China Market. The only reason

I wasn’t more offended was because A) I was just glad it was over and B) I was still recovering from the ridiculous finale with the awful green screen. 

Though the first ending scene does feature an awfully obvious CGI shaven head.

By the time Three was over, I was just… confused. And grateful. I didn’t enjoy the much-talked about finale that supposedly took months to rehearse and film. As I sat through it, I just couldn’t understand why it was even there. But the more I thought about it, I realized I could ask that about the whole movie.

 

Maybe Johnnie To was having a tiff (squabble?) with his investors or something. Maybe he didn’t really want to make this movie. I don’t know. What I do know is that in potentially attempting to annoy those above him, he has probably annoyed (what’s left of) his local audience. I saw this movie on a Saturday morning because it was cheaper. There may have been 20 people in the cinema. I think maybe Johnnie To is beginning to lose favor with the audience that made him famous. 

Movie Review: Cold War II/寒戰II

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Four years ago, Cold War was preceded by a smothering publicity blitz that really made me happy when the movie came out. 

Because that meant the publicity stopped.

The first movie seemed long on pathos and sometimes short on logic. So if I say that Cold War II picks up right where the first movie left off, you know I’m talking about more than the story.

One problem with big budget movies… is the budget. Because when you have a lot of money, the tendency is to spend it. Sometimes, t becomes a little too easy to do things that ideally you couldn’t afford to do. The opening credits of Cold War II feature obviously expensive CGI of ice people and ice guns and ice logos. It’s expensive, but it’s not impressive. It no doubt cost a lot of money, but it looks cheap. It also looks a little silly.

Now, we all know I have an obsessive compulsion about logic. So it annoyed me when I watched an ice person shatter after being hit by an ice bullet fired from ice gun. Neither of which shatter.

Pull your head out of your ice. [sic] 

But illogical opening credits can be forgiven.

Once the movie starts, though… 

Eddie Peng is in custody, just like at the end of the first movie. But he’s still in charge. He orders the kidnapping of Aaron Kwok’s wife. Conveniently (for the writers, not the viewer), we don’t see it. Because if we see it, they’d have to show it happening and make us believe it’s possible.

And why do that? 

The hostage swap goes bad. It may have something to do with the person in charge of the bad-guy hostage being utterly unqualified for the job: “I’ll take this most wanted man into the MTR. By myself. And I won’t watch him closely. Or physically control him. What’s the worst that can happen?” I can’t feel bad for people this dumb.

And I don’t. 

The whole movie somehow feels… wrong. The music, which is good on a compositional level, is constantly pumping out dramatic motifs, adding an unnecessary tension to a lot of scenes. And by using these motifs almost constantly, the times in the story when they would be apropos (!) don’t benefit from it. 

There’s a lot of that kind of disconnect in Cold War II. Why does the movie seem to want to make us feel bad for someone who just shot up a bunch of civilians? He deserves Article 303, not some weepy, maudlin musical cue. 

There’s a very disjointed feel to Cold War II. Too many times, things don’t seem to match up. There’s a lot of machinations and subterfuge (and other SAT words), but it all seems grossly illogical: “I will lay a trap for you, to find out where your allegiance really stands. This trap will involve mayhem, violence, and death, but afterwards I will gaze meaningfully over a vista of some kind, and that will apparently make it okay.” Then we’ll see a long exterior shot. 

For no reason whatsoever.

This movie takes itself way too seriously. What’s worse is that so much of it plays like an overwrought TV drama. Or, in other words, a TVB drama. That is, after all, where some of the people responsible for this movie apparently worked before. There’s just way too many close-ups of people making intense faces. Then they say something heroic, and we have to have all the reaction shots of people being awed, inspired, impressed, etc. I have no idea why.

I’m sure it’s me, though.

The end of Cold War II is such a shameless bid for a third movie it’s squirm-inducing. You can’t even say it’s a surprise because it’s been made so obvious by almost everything that precedes it. A lot of things happen in Cold War II. But nothing gets resolved

Which makes Cold War II not so much a story as an episode

I don’t know how that makes you feel, but it really bugged me. Especially since I don’t really care about any of these people any more than I did after the first movie.

And that wasn’t much to begin with. 

There are some interesting reflections of local politics in Cold War II, and I enjoyed their presence. But they came off as extremely subtle, and it would have been nice if they were a little more overt. Then again, maybe they were, and I just couldn’t tell because everything else in this movie is so cacophonous. 

As a broad political statement Cold War II is okay, but for me, as a thriller it fails miserably. I wasn’t thrilled at all. 

But at least I got to play the official Silver Spleen game, Where is Jane Wong?

Movie Review: Kidnap Ding Ding Don/綁架丁丁當

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Utterly lacking in style, wit, or entertainment value, nauseatingly racist, and irredeemably moronic.

And his latest movie sucks too.

Summer in Hong Kong usually means there’s a dearth (!) of new movie releases. Who wants to compete with Hollywood’s summer blockbusters, chock full of aliens, beautiful young people, or superhero movies that too often should be called Existentialism in Tights?

It takes someone confident in their abilities, someone so sure of their movie that they’re not intimidated by the financial juggernaut of Tinseltown.

Or it takes a completely clueless f@#$in’ idiot like Wilson Chin.

But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe he’s smart. Maybe he (or other people responsible for this crime against filmmaking) dumped it into cinemas knowing no one would watch it, but figuring he could blame Hollywood for the failure. 

Fat f@#$ing chance.

This could be the only movie made on earth in 2016 and it still wouldn’t be worth wasting precious minutes of your life on.

I watched this movie for free and I still feel robbed. 90 minutes of willful, bludgeoning dumbness. The best thing about my experience watching this turd was the pork neck I smuggled into the cinema.

There’s something deeply ironic about a Wilson Chin movie being presented by a company called Glory Entertainment.

This ‘comedy’ is so unfunny it’s almost surreal. But only from a distance. 

If you have to actually watch the damn thing, it’s more like excruciating.

Imagine 90 minutes of lifeless, leaden presentation of jokes that are so easy to see coming you’d think they were Ron Jeremy. Every major character in the movie is introduced with a tedious voiceover intro that’s as uninspired as it is insipid. 

Only people brain-raped by a lifetime of TVB could find this watchable.

There’s a scene about the making of a ransom video. But since the two dopes can’t decide how they should do it, we’re forced o sit through three different versions of the video in their entirety. I got the impression it was supposed to be funny.

I never got the impression it was funny.

I didn’t laugh. It just annoyed me. The same goes for a profoundly tedious chase scene involving a balloon, a scooter, and a bicycle. And Alex Fong.

But no laughs.

The funniest scene in this ‘comedy’ is a dramatic one. Considering what the scene is about, I almost felt bad laughing. But that’s what you get when a comedy tries to be dramatic.

Or when Wilson Chin tries to direct a movie.

Sometimes unintentional comedy is actually funny. Nothing else in this f@#$ing movie is. Well, that’s not fair. There is one (but just one) moment that made me laugh out loud. Too bad it’s so early in the run time. There’s also Kabby Hui sucking a hot dog.

Unfortunately, Alex Fong is right next to her doing the same thing.

What Wilson Chin seems incapable of grasping is that in stories, things happen, yes. But that’s not what makes a story a story. There have to be reasons, plausibility, order, emotional investment You can’t just present a bunch of events that are presented randomly and expect us to get caught up in this… garbage.

This movie abandons any pretense of narrative flow. It really does seem like they made it up as they went along, or maybe they just had a list of gags they had to pad out to 90 minutes. None of it is connected, none of it has any order.

I don’t know why Wilson Chin needed Emily Kwan to play an Indonesian maid in blackface.

I just know it’s @#$ing inexcusable. Nice going, Wilson. You’re a gem.

But you know what? I can’t blame Chubb Rock for everything that bothered me in this movie/waste of time/travesty/pile of sh*t. Who’s responsible for the obnoxious trope of the guy running with a girl on his back, in slow motion? Wilson just regurgitated it.

Let’s face it, his only other choice would have been to come up with something original, and we all know that wasn’t gonna happen.

Movie Review: My Wife is a Superstar我老婆係明星

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The title of this film is something the director’s husband will never, ever say. 

I actually don’t know if Shirley Yung is married or not. But I do know she wrote and directed Angel Whispers. And she wrote Daughter.

But I watched My Wife is a Superstar anyway.

Even though it starred the same two people who were in S for Sex, S for Secrets, which was S for Shit. Or S for Shirley Yung Produced This Movie. So don’t say I never do anything for you.

And besides, let me get this out of the way now: My Wife is a Superstar actually isn’t all that bad. It’s no cinematic triumph, but taken in the context of the people who made it, it’s practically Lawrence of Ap Lei Chau.

Pakho Chau and Annie Liu are a married couple. Lai Mo is a photographer who dreams of going off to cover wars like his hero Robert Capa. Chu Ki (get it?) is a struggling actress who, like so many aspiring female thespians, idolizes Audrey Hepburn.

In the film’s opening, she struggles with accepting the throwaway role of a prostitute in a local film. Which is ironic, because Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic role was playing a woman who entertained men for money. 

Go lightly on the shaft, will ya honey?

But never mind that tawdry nonsense. As the trailer will tell you, the central story is that Lai Mo, having been demoted at work, is tasked with discovering the identity of Chu Ki’s rumored husband. Yes, he has to discover himself.

No, not like that.

While doing that, he also has to deal with the strain her blossoming career (and the restraints of fame) place on their marriage. Not to mention Alex Lam circling Chu Ki like a wealthy, handsome shark. He’s giving this new starlet a big opportunity (that’s not a euphemism) to star in his upcoming Chinese New Year movie. 

No one strained themselves writing this movie.

They didn’t even stretch. 

My Wife is a Superstar was written by Jacky Chan. No, not that one. Jacky Chan Cheuk Yin. The same person who wrote See you in YouTubeAnd Trick or Cheat. And was one of the half-dozen writers of Angel Whispers.

But I watched My Wife is a Superstar anyway!

Like I said before, it’s nowhere near as bad as it scientifically ought to be. Don’t get me wrong; there’s a lot wrong with this movie. It doesn’t start off well.

But neither did my marriage, so who am I to talk?

There’s a Wong Kar Wai parody that’s funny in patches. Lee Sheung Ching sends up Wong Kar Wai easily enough, but there’s not a lot of energy or thought put into the idea (or anything else in the movie).

Speaking of which, there’s a scene involving a restaurant holdup where the guns involved are painfully obvious as toys. You can easily see the orange tips, And yet, the ‘robbers’ are taken seriously. Maybe it’s supposed to be funny, but… it’s not.

It’s just dumb.

A couple of times, CGI is used for a visual effect that I’m going to hope was referencing something. It looked nice, but… what’s the point? 

Director Shirley Yung has a cameo in one scene, apparently playing herself. In a later scene, two people talk about last year’s Guilty, (which Shirley Yung produced) as being a major success. The two people are I Love You Boyz. Which makes sense, because every time they appear in a movie, it comes to a screeching halt.

So at least one thing in this movie was done right.

That said, a cameo… as yourself… and referencing your own movies… I wonder where she got that idea from.

But let’s move on. And hopefully up.

Because like I said, this movie wasn’t really all bad, or even as bad as it should be. Jacky Choi was good as the established actress Chu Ki comes into conflict with. She was funny, believable, and easy to watch. So were Lo Hoi Pang and Bonnie Wong.

I mean, could those two ever not be? 

The story is pedestrian, predictable, generic, and unsurprising. But so are a lot of movies. And I have to say, Annie Liu and Pakho Chau were a lot better both separately and together in this movie than S for Syphillis.

Wait… never mind. 

They were believable not only as their characters but as a married couple. My Wife is a Superstar misses more chances than it takes to send up the local entertainment industry and fame circus, but it’s not the worst movie Shirley Yung has made.

My Wife is a Superstar was nowhere near as bad as I expected, but at least it wasn’t infuriating, which is what I expected. So I guess you could say it’s profoundly better than I expected. But it’s not a good movie. It’s… resoundingly okay.

When one of the highlights of your movie is a Shiga Lin cameo, well… But like I said, the audience I saw it with enjoyed themselves thoroughly, so what do I know?

Movie Review: Good Take!

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Good Take! is a collection of five short films that together make up a feature-length… feature.

Sorry.

It was produced by Eric Tsang, and I’m very grateful to him because I’d love to see these kinds of movies being made more often.

Good Take! opens with throwback animation credits that I really enjoyed. If you see them, you’ll know what I mean.

All of the stories are set in Macau, and they were all shot there, as far as I can tell.

The first segment, directed by Derek Tsang, is called Cement. It stars Pakho Chau and Alex Fong the Elder as two cops called to a domestic disturbance. I can’t tell you much about the plot, because it would spoil things. But I can say that the direction, acting, and cinematography are all very well done. This segment captures not only captures a very creepy, unsettling mood, it also sets it for most of the segments that follow.

How good is this segment? Yanny Chan from Supergirls is in it and I didn’t even mind. It’s that good. 

The second segment, Banquet, was directed by Henri Wong. It stars Eddie Cheung Siu Fai as a divorced father trying to bond with his son, who takes a big interest in cartoons. Again, I can’t say much about the story, but the acting and direction, as well as the cinematography, were all impressive. It was so good that Harriet Yeung, who is in it, didn’t even bother me. 

Do we see a pattern here?

The third segment, Good Take!, is directed by Wong Chun (and thankfully not Wong Chun Chun or it would be an hour long and just a copy of other short films) and stars Lo Hoi Pang as an elderly man looking for something. 

Yes, that’s vague, Cope.

Derek Tsang and Lam Suet play a pair of loan collectors who end up in an unenviable situation. I really enjoyed this segment for the gleefully morbid tone and humor, and because even in the midst of that, it was still oddly sweet. 

The same cannot be said of the fourth segment, The Solitudes, which was written and directed by Vernie Yeung. It’s in black and white and stars Sam Lee and the very missed Cherrie Ng. It’s nice to see her back on the big screen no matter what, but here she manages to impress by playing a character outside of what we know her for and carrying it off very, very well.  The same goes for Sam Lee, who shows no sign of the comic relief he often injected into his darker roles.

This segment starts off cold and mean and stays there, and I loved it.

It was nice to see Yumiko Cheng and Emme Wong in small roles, and the twist ending manages to be both generic and topical at the same time. I also really enjoyed the visual style of the segment a lot.

These four segments are all entertaining one way or another. Some are better than others, but they are all interesting, and each of them moves at a decent pace. I enjoyed them all, but I also enjoyed that they never feel slow. I enjoyed Ten Years, but if I never have to sit through the second segment of that movie again, it’ll still be too soon. 

The first four segments of Good Take! are all good and/or interesting. Then Wong Ching Po and the ever-mugging Charlene Choi drop what can only be described as a Cleveland Screener.

Ugh.

We Are Ghosts is directed by Wong Ching Po and ‘stars’ Charlene Choi. If you’ve ever wondered (and why the f@#$ would you?) what it would be like if EEG made a short film, this is your answer. You know how some EEG movies like A Chinese Tall Story or The Midas Touch (or other movies with Charlene Choi) seem to be gleefully, knowingly awful? As if they’re teabagging you and saying “We already got your money, now here’s a mouthful of cinematic b@lls”?

We Are Ghosts is like that. It’s… bludgeoningly insulting. Right down to the cartoonish haircuts. 

An audience in Gansu would find this segment boorish and shallow. 

It’s as if they set out to see how low they could go. Maybe it’s a weird experiment to see if they could get people to leave the cinema. It’s offensive. And I just mean the ‘humor.’

I’m not even talking about the grossly outdated swishy performance of Michael Miu. 

I’m trying not to think about it.

Or any other part of this awful  segment. 

It really sh*ts up Good Take!, because all the other segments are so good and so much fun to watch. 

If you haven’t seen it, wait until you can watch a DVD.

So you can stop it after the 4th one and skip We Are Ghosts. 

Movie Review: Heaven in the Dark/暗色天堂

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Preposterous, ponderous, and pretentious, a more fitting title would be Hell in the Cinema.

Heaven in the Dark is based on a local play called French Kiss.

But I watched it anyway.

I’m not a big fan of movies made from plays. There tends to be a lot of talking and not much doing.

Which sounds like two Mormons on a date, but I digress.

The original play takes place in one room and is a conversation between two people. Heaven in the Dark thankfully isn’t that claustrophobic. There are exteriors, different locations, and sometimes
the camera even moves.

As my mother always says, “Thank f@#$.”

Heaven in the Dark was nominated for best film of 2015 at the Hong Kong Film Awards.

Even though it opened in March of 2016.

Jacky Cheung and Karena Lam were also nominated for Best Actor and Actress, respectively.

Too bad there’s no award for Most Acting.

There’s a lot of acting going on here. These are the roles that have Aaron Kwok weeping in jealousy.

Or cranking his junk. One or the other.

It’s also the kind of acting that seems tailor made for awards. Lots… of… slow… dialog… Long monologues that go into excruciating detail about how people feel. While, of course, drinking red wine and staring out the window of expensive cars, exclusive social clubs, or outrageously luxurious homes.

How they suffer.

Heaven in the Dark comes a long time after 2002’s excellent July Rhapsody, which also starred Jacky Cheung and Karena Lam. But that movie was directed by Ann Hui. Heaven in the Dark was directed by Steve Yuen Kim Wai.

aka Mr. Karena Lam.

He directed the film and adapted the screenplay.

Oh joy.

So more than anyone else, he’s got to shoulder the responsibility for this movie’s cheap symbolism and meretricious pretension.

Heaven in the Dark (sloooooowly) tells the story of a pastor who runs an NGO. His name is Marco, and he is played by Jacky Cheung. A young (?) woman named Michelle, played by Karena Lam, starts working for him, and they take an apparent interest in one another. One night, while both of them are drunk, they share an intimate moment. It has a deleterious (!) effect on both their lives.

Five years later, they meet at some kind of dusty, constipated dinner-slash-piano recital, a setting so aridly waspish that I felt myself getting lockjaw just watching the damn thing. Michelle’s husband basically forces her to go into a room (alone) with Marco(a man she accused of sexually harassing her) to hash it all out. While her husband practices for his piano recital.

Who writes this stuff?

Their discussion about conflicting understandings of the moment, and its meaning, makes up a large part of the movie. Or maybe it doesn’t. 

Maybe it just felt that way.

Stage actors are said to act with their voices, because there’s no such thing as close-ups in theatre. Film actors supposedly act with their eyes. Jacky Cheung does a lot of acting with his eyes.

He acts like a contortionist.

Or maybe he’s doing all the facial acting Karena Lam doesn’t do.

I’m sure that it’s my… barbarian nature, my… vestigial Papist leanings, my repugnant working-class genetics that make it impossible for me to appreciate the… subtle emotional filligree of Karena Lam’s long, aching, soulful gazes. Because all I could hear in my head was my alcoholic Uncle Charlie’s voice asking “Is that broad autistic?”

I haven’t seen so much blank staring since I worked at the morgue.

It’s probably no coincidence that my favorite character in the film was a mechanic played by Edmond So Chi Wai. He’s the only character that doesn’t come off as a self-absorbed, miserable slug of a human being.

Well, almost the only one. You know how a lot of movies have characters with the same name as the actors playing them? Karena Lam’s character is named Michelle. So too is actress Michelle Wai, who has a small role in this movie. In an ideal world (or an ideal Hong Kong?), Michelle Wai would have played the lead role. I think she’d have been much better, much more watchable, and much more convincing as a woman who tempts a pastor.

I certainly would have liked the film more and maybe even have respected it a little. As it is, I just couldn’t. One of the most laughable scenes in the film may have been in the original play, so I can’t (necessarily) blame the director/writer.

During the sexual harassment trial, the judge, played by Tyson Chak, is revealed to be a former student of the prosecutor, played by Law Lan, who proceeds to browbeat the judge into favorable rulings. This is the beauty of fiction; there’s no need to allow logic, reality, or truth to intrude on whatever puerile fantasy you’re creating. It’s not as though there’s any conflict of interest here that would create legal wrongdoing, because it’s only a story.

And apparently there’s no problem expecting your audience to still buy into this nonsense. Or shouldering the responsibility for wasting a very fine, very watchable Anthony Wong performance as Marco’s attorney.

The climax of Heaven in the Dark is laughable for any number of reasons. By this point in the film, the emotional angst of the story has been ratcheted beyond reason by the contrivances of the plot. Worse, the two leads devolve into psychologically epileptic parodies (I don’t know either, and I wrote it) of human behavior, swaddled in the kind of sophomoric symbolism that’s much more a mark of pedantry than perceptiveness.

This story poses a lot of questions, the answers to which don’t interest me in the least. Why should I feel bad for someone whose overblown cathartic moment comes in a fountain at a posh social club? Or for some woman whose religious fervor looks dangerously close to a psychotic episode?

I feel sorry for none of these characters. I hated almost all of them. On one hand, I feel bad talking so negatively about this movie, if only for the sake of Jacky Cheung. He tries his best, and I don’t really blame him for how much I disliked this movie. But I don’t feel bad disliking it because I paid money to see it and I sat through the whole thing.

I don’t care about any of these awful, self-absorbed people. Or the movie they made.