Reviewed by: ryan
Summary: Night Club (1999)
LO Shun-chuen and its counterpart Hoi Fung Film Productions Limited is active in the film industry despite the poor climate. After making 'Immortal Spirit', they have another production this year -- 'Night Club'. This time LO goes back to his favourite genre -- fact-based drama. The casting for the movie is average with Simon YAM Tat-wah, Ruby WONG Cheuk-ling and Pinky CHEUNG Man-chi.
As stated by by the title, this is a movie about a night club. Lai-wah (Ruby WONG Cheuk-ling) is the head of a group of club girls in a night club owned for many years by CHEUNG. Her best friend TONG Kei (CHAN Chi-ching) is going to retire soon but before she does, a new club girl, Linda (MAN Chung-han), joins the night club. Linda is a girl who is too open in her comments. In a nightclub, such a girl will bring herself trouble. Lai-wah is in charge of the club girls including the insubordinate Linda who always points out Lai-wah's weaknesses such as failing to take good care of her son Ka-ho. Lai Wah finds it hard to communicate with her son Ka-ho (KWAN Tak-fai), CHEUNG and Lai-wah have to face two difficult customers in the night club; Inspector Man and a bad-tempered Triad head Kao always cause chaos. One night, Kao takes his favourite Kei away and violates the rules of the night club by having sex without wearing a condom. In addition, he takes Ka-ho to join his triad gang and asks Ka-ho to kill Inspector Man. Manager CHEUNG and Lai-wah are busy dealing with all these matters ......
'Night Club' claims it is based on actual events. Director LO Shun-chuen would like to make the theme of this movie like his previous productions like 'Girls in the Mood' (1995) and 'Suicide' (1995). The main barrier to audience acceptance of a new movie about club girls is that the audience will stereotype the movie as yet another 'club girls' movie. This movie attempts to explore beyond the typical formula of the stories of girls and how they interact with each other by adding the sub-plot of Ka-ho and his mom Lai-wah.
However, compared with other movies about club girls like 'PR Girls' (1997), the portrayal of the life of these girls lacks depth. Audience expect greater illumination of the relationship between TONG Kei and Lai-wah. This relationship between TONG Kei and Lai-wah is poorly developed and the audience don't care enough for the characters when dramtic events unfold.
The movie should should explore the relationship between Lai-wah and CHEUNG, the plot shows that there is some romance but does not go into any detail but should give greater emphasis to Lai-wah's attitude on love.
The relationships between Linda and Lai-wah could be made more interesting if the director chose to explore the interactions between Ka-ho, Lai-wah and Linda. Linda is an interesting character, on one hand, she gives Lai-wah lots of trouble for the night club and on the other hand, she helps Ka-ho to get away from the triad. Her character should have a tough tension with Lai-wah.
Another aspect that could have been explored in 'Night Club' is the relationship between Manager CHEUNG, triad head Kao and Inspector Man. It can be a bit light as we don't need to have lots of violence, but a little explanation of the hatred between these characters could make the whole plot more understandable.
The attempt at an impressive ending is this movie's greatest failure; it is neither logical nor sensible. The actors perform too far out of character resulting in audience laughter in the theatres.
In terms of performance, Ruby WONG's role is very similar to her tough character in 'Where a good Man Goes'. Her performance reflects her experience. MAN Chung-han, plays the new club girl who has two distinct aspects to her character -- good in front of Ka-ho and her family and bad in front of Lai-wah. With Ka-ho and her family, she acts well but is less convincing in her interaction with Lai-wah, she lacks any variety in portraying her anger.
'Night Club' claims to be a movie reflecting the reality of night club life. The script tried to break with traditional portrayal by having a sub-plot between the club girl leader and her son. The idea is good but the plot would be more convincing if some of the sub-plots were elaborated on. The ending of the movie is so bad that it overshadows the good parts.