lost can two Mainlanders get in Hong Kong? Sure, there is the whole Cantonese
vs. Mandarin thing, but the latter has become much more prevalent since 1997.
However, Xu Lai’s annoying brother-in-law could get lost anywhere. The problem
is the would-be documentarian never stays lost for long. He dogs the
middle-aged brassiere manufacturer every step of the way as he attempts
reconnect with an old flame in Xu Zheng’s Lost in Hong Kong (trailer
here), which releases today on DVD and BluRay
from Well Go USA.
1995, Xu was passionate art student romancing his bombshell classmate, Yang Yi,
but whenever they tried to have a quiet romantic moment, events conspired
against them. Through a twist of fate, Xu wound up marrying Cai Bo (nicknamed “Spinach”)
from the management school and shelving his dubious artistic ambitions to work
for her father’s ladies undergarments business. For twenty years, he kept
wondering what could have been, so when Yang invites him to the opening of her
latest retrospective, Xu resolves to sneak out for that long-denied smooch.
Unfortunately, Spinach’s over-indulged younger brother Cai Lala is determined
to film Xu for his ill-conceived documentary.
the brief sit-down Xu grants him, the aggressively irritating Lala unknowingly
films a murder transpiring in the opposite high-rise. The cops and killer will
want to get their hands on Cai’s camera, but they will have to follow the quarreling
brothers-in-law they dash through Hong Kong on a series of misadventures.
the old Hope-Crosby “Road” movies, the three “Lost” films are only loosely
related thematically, usually involving some form of travel, while featuring a
wackily mismatched duo. At this point, Xu Zheng is the main constant, having
starred as the straight man half of the bickering tandems and serving as
director and co-writer of the second two installments.
question, Hong Kong represents a significant
step-up in quality from Lost in Thailand (which
was the highest grossing Chinese film until Monster Hunt came along). There is still plenty of broad slapsticky humor, but the
melodrama involving Xu’s college love triangle is surprisingly potent. Xu Zheng
shrewdly takes his time establishing the relationships in a ten minute prologue
that is charmingly nostalgic, even if you were not attending a Chinese
university at the time. Throughout the film, he frequently tips his hat to the
iconic HK films of the nineties and stocks the soundtrack with the era’s
popular Cantopop hits. As a result, the more deeply steeped viewers are in HK
pop culture, the richer they will find the Lost
in Hong Kong viewing experience.
for those who don’t know Ringo Lam from Ringo Starr, Xu ends it with a nifty
action-suspense sequence set high in the air amid a skyscraper construction
site. It is cleverly choreographed and entails some real drama. Granted, the horrendously
shticky Cai Lala needs to be euthanized, but in general, Hong Kong is more grounded and less over-the-top goofy than its
now, Xu Zheng is an expert at holding his own opposite outrageous loons, but he
is also quite solid in his quiet scenes with Du Juan’s Yang Yi and (Vicki) Zhao
Wei’s Cai Bo (seriously, he settled for Vicki Zhao?). Let’s just say Bao Bei’er’s
work as Cai Lala doesn’t travel well (just like his character). However, cult
director Wong Jing brings down the house in an extended cameo of himself, duly
filming on the streets guerrilla-style, sans permit. Actually sort of
recommended as a comedy unembarrassed to show its sentimental side, Lost in Hong Kong is now available on
DVD, BluRay and digital formats, from Well Go USA.
Labels: Chinese Cinema, DVD, Well Go USA, Zhao Wei