Lost in Hong Kong Blu-ray Review

     Actors: Xu Zheng, Bao Beier, Zhao Wei
  • Director: Xu Zheng
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, THX, Widescreen
  • Language: Mandarin Chinese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Well Go USA
  • Release Date: March 1, 2016
  • Run Time: 113 minutes


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            I made the mistake of assuming this was a sequel to the hit comedy of errors, Lost in Thailand, and was excited to see the return of the same characters in a new situation. This is not the case, instead actor/director Xu Zheng merely carries over thematic similarities from Lost in Thailand and the 2010 film, Lost on Journey, which he starred in without directing. Lost in Hong Kong provides us with new characters and original comedy of errors while on vacation in an unfamiliar city. While I didn’t find it to be as amusing or engaging as the last outing, there are many clever moments referencing the tradition of slapstick comedy being blended with action and large scale stunts, even finding time to cram in a bit of sentimentality near the end.

     


             This time around Zheng stars as Lai Xu, an art student whose dreams are dashed by the reality of life. Though he imagined himself with a pretty art student named Yi Yang (Du Juan), their relationship is comically interrupted before they ever consummate it with so much as a kiss. Lai also fancies himself having a successful career as a painter, but instead ends up working as a brassiere designer married to the daughter of his boss, Bo Cai (Zhao Wei). Ten years after his optimistic days in college, Lai feels trapped by his unglamorous life and smothered by his in-laws eager demands for offspring. When his former college sweetheart sends him an invitation to one of her art shows in Hong Kong, Lai sees an opportunity to reunite with his former flame while on a work vacation with his family.

           

            There is some difficulty in having a protagonist whose main objective is to sneakily fulfill an adulterous fantasy behind his wife’s back, but Lost in Hong Kong overcomes this by overwhelming the story with chaotic obstacles along the way. The first comes in the form of Lai’s teenage brother-in-law, Lala Cai (Bao Bei-Er), an obviously character stand-in for Wang Baoqiang’s good-natured goofball in Lost in Thailand, even sporting a similar haircut. Lala insists on tagging along with Lai during the time that he hopes to rendezvous with his college sweetheart, filming his brother-in-law as an unwilling subject for a documentary. This is only the beginning of Lai’s problems when Lala’s filming accidentally captures a murder carried out by corrupt police.

     

            The movie devolves into violent slapstick as the unlikely pair are forced to work together in an effort to stay alive through the series of mishaps, ending with an acrobatic showdown over the edge of a skyscraper. The biggest problem with the crime aspects of the narrative is how long the main characters remain completely oblivious to their involvement. Most of the time that they are being hunted down is spent in oblivious debate over the morality of Lai’s urge to cheat on his wife, when this is easily the least entertaining aspect of the film.

     

            Many have criticized this film for imitating the comedic action style of Stephen Chow (Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer), though just as much credit is owed to Jackie Chan and the third-act sentimentality that seems to be Zheng’s personal touch to the sub-genre. These films are not masterpieces, but it is easy to understand why the mixed bag of spectacle is such a successful crowd pleaser in the Chinese box office. The Blu-ray special features include a making-of featurette, blooper reel and the film’s trailer.

     

    Entertainment Value: 6.5/10

    Quality of Filmmaking: 6.5/10

    Historical Significance:  4/10

    Special Features: 4/10




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