With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013
With Dada Chen at NYAFF 2013

Tuesday, March 01, 2016

LOST IN HONG KONG reviewed

Well Go USA
Presents
 Lost in Hong Kong / Gang jiong
Directed by Xu Zheng
Hong Kong/China, 2015, 114 minutes

Lost in Hong Kong is director Xu Zheng's sequel to his 2012 film Lost in Thailand. It becomes available today, Tuesday, March1 on Blu-ray™, DVD and Digital HD March 1 from Well Go USA Entertainment.This review is based on watching the Blu-ray version.

The film begins in 1994 with three of the main characters attending an art class in college. Xu Lai (director Xu Zheng) wants to be an artist and is totally smitten by Yang Yi (former Ford Supermodel of the World runner-up Du Juan), who also wants to be an artist and has much greater talent than Xu. The third classmate is Cai Bo (Zhao Wei, known for Shaolin Soccer and Painted Skin: The Resurrection). Called "pinach" by her friends, she is in the Department of Management, not an art major.

Xu Zheng assists Yang Yi on several projects and tries to get things going romantically, but each time he attempts to obtain his first kiss with her something occurs to thwart his efforts.

Cut to almost twentyl years later. Xu Zheng and Cai Bo have been married for some time and she is desperately trying to get pregnant. Zheng desings underwear for her father's company, a job far from his youthful aspirations. Meanwhile, Yang Yi has become a very successful artist and will soon have her "Expressions" exhibition open in Hong Kong.

Zheng wants to see his first love and perhaps finally experience that first kiss that was so elusive years earlier. His efforts are thwarted, however, by Cai Lala (actor Bao Bei'er, seen in Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal and The Four), Cai Bo's younger brother and a would-be documentary filmmaker.

Comedy is one of those film genres that is problematic when it comes to crossing borders. For me, Lost in Hong Kong, like its predecessor Lost in Thailand is too culture specific to succeed in making the trip, unlike, say, Pang Ho-cheung's Vulgaria (2012) which succeeds brilliantly.

Xu Zheng's latest film does, however, have its moments, though they are on the few and far between side. Cai Bo's efforts to help insure that Xu Zheng's "swimmers" make it to their intended destination is pretty funny. There are also some references to other films. For me, a line of library bookcases falling over onto one another brought to mind a similar scene in the James Bond film GoldenEye. The use of the number 2046 for a designated room clearly is an allusion to Wong Kar-Wai's 2004 film 2046, in which the number also referred to a room.

There are also quite a few appearances, usually brief, of Hong Kong actors and other film personages, which is interesting if one is familiar with at least a number of them. (They are identified in "The Actors" segment of the Making of Featurette, though you will probably want to have a finger poised over the "pause" button of your remote, they flash by so quickly.)

And, finally, Du Juan's tall, slim model's figure is lovely to behold, for what that's worth.

Still, the fact remains that almost all the would-be comedy failed to connect, at least with this Westerner. Others may feel differently, as the reviewer for the Los Angeles Times who called the film "One of the year's best" presumably did.

Disc Specs:
-- Audio
  -- Mandarin DTS 5.1 HDMA
  -- Mandarin 2.0 Stereo
-- Subtitles
  -- English
  -- Chinese
  -- Off

Bonus Features:
-- Making of Featurette
  -- The Stunts
  -- The Actors
  -- The Characters
-- Blooper Reel
-- Trailer

AsianCineFest Rating: 1.5 out of 4 stars, fair-to-poor overall rating.

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