Reviewed by: ryan
Summary: Efforts shows despite production constrains
Kenneth LAU Hau-wai has been quiet in the film industry since his previous work with ProFilm limited after "Wan Chai Express" (1999). In fact, he still has connections with ProFilm which co-operated with him for his latest directing effort, "Life," which includes cast members (Michael WONG, Sam LEE, and May KWONG) from his previous films. Can this be the stand-out of this week?
Lily and May are two young women who make easy money with fake credit cards. Jackie, a small-time triad jerk, is asked by his boss to retrieve a bag from a locker. Meanwhile, Inspector Huang is looking forward to arresting Jackie. However, when Jackie reaches the locker, he cannot find the key; it has been stolen by Lily and May. When the women find the locker and retrieve the bag, they find themselves attacked by gangsters - it is a trap set for Jackie by his boss. Jackie rescues them, and the trio moves in together. Both Lily and May secretly fall in love with Jackie who finds himself running out of options. He tries to get back the money to his boss . . .
Even though the poster of "Life" places Michael WONG at the top of the credits, the main story of the movie concerns the love between Jackie, May, and Lily. Screenwriter and director Kenneth LAU has put in a lot of effort to make the script interesting. For example, the way in which Lily teaches May to get a boyfriend and how May applies the lesson is funny despite the odd dialogue.
Another interesting link between the characters is that they all grew up in an orphanage. This not only justifies the rapid nature of the love between Lily, May, and Jackie but also explains the conflicts of Peter CHEUNG when he is assigned to arrest Jackie. The scene during which Peter goes back to school to visit his teacher shows his mixed feelings. On one hand, he plans to put Jack in jail; on the other hand, he has to help his teacher to return a photo to Jackie.
It is nice to see that Sam LEE is given a chance to act more than he has in the past. In his first appearance, Sam is a triad jerk, which is the same as what he has done in the other movies. It is interesting to see how he falls in love with May and Lily later on. Sam LEE successfully expresses his part in the love triangle.
Lily SIU is introduced in the movie as Lily. Despite being green in the industry, her acting is fine. In the movie, May helps Lily by giving her more interaction. Relatively, Michael WONG's role in the movie is small. It is a bit more than that what was required of him in "Wan Chai Express." He only appears here in the first and the last few shots. Audiences only looking out for him can ignore this movie.
In short, despite the production constraints of "Life," Kenneth LAU has done his best to develop a strong script. He is able to give Sam LEE a larger image beyond that of a triad jerk. The love between the three lead characters is also distinct. Indeed, "Life" stands out this week among all the domestic releases.
Written by Ryan Law, from Hong Kong Movie DataBase, on 20 March, 2000.