Reviewed by: STSH
The mechanics of the forming and bursting of HK's property bubble as a direct result of the handover are nicely explained, mainly by focussing on the lives of the titular women. Joy and Hiu Tung are great friends, and with the tough times ahead, the friendship is a great comfort.
Reviewer Score: 7
Loud and pushy family friend Uncle Nine, a real estate wheeler dealer, brags that he has sold Joy & Lam's apartment for $5m (against the original cost of a few hundred thousand), but he is heard bragging that the actual price was $10m. Therefore, he pocketed half the money without telling Joy & Lam, and reinvested it in the roaring housing market. Joy finds out, but does not let on that she knows. Nine gets his comeuppance during the property crash of the following year. Now hocked to the eyeballs, Nine begs Joy to bail him out. She refuses, still not telling him that she knows of his fraud against her.
Joy's marriage, though remaining fine, is not enough to prevent To Lam from declining. When he dies due to negligent driving, Joy must carry on. Her neighbour and childhood friend, now a doctor, also offers sympathy and support.
1997-2007 were action-packed years for Hong Kong. Economic collapse, mass-sackings for the unlucky, pay cuts for those who remained, SARS etc. Each of the major events impact on the women's lives and tests them, in some cases severely.
Though the characters' reactions often run to melodrama, the performances are believeable and even compelling. The histrioncs are nothing more than true reflections of the excitable nature of so many Hong Kong people, particularly in those trying times. The vignettes about Nine and Lam, sketched earlier, are fine examples of well-acted and well-scripted performances which are even throughout Wonder Women. Gigi Leung, HK's tallest actress, carries her lead role with poise and grit.
Not that things are entirely grim. Momo provides some comic relief with a dependable stream of wacky get-rich schemes, which Joy indulges without endangering her financial position.
As history shows, HK's economy had recovered in 2007, and of course this is reflected in the lives of the women. However, it is interesting to ponder, from a few years down the track, that the Global Financial Crisis hit in 2008. So perhaps there is scope for a sequel ? I for one look forward to that. Wonder Women, despite sounding like a silly superhero action flick, is a thoughtful and fairly mature look at an important time for the former colony, mixed in with melodrama and romance.