Feel 100%  . . . Once More

Reviewed by YTSL

Recently, a friend told me that he was a fan of Joe Ma’s movies.  I, on the other hand, am unable to share his opinion re this matter.  This is not to say that I have disliked all the offerings that the prolific Hong Kong film-maker has directed, scripted and/or produced.  However, to my mind, his output -- which has included such as suspenseful crime dramas like “Nude Fear” along with the thoroughly romantic likes of “First Love Unlimited” --has been distinctly uneven in quality.  Take, for example, the two efforts that starred Miriam Yeung as a character named L. K. Fong for which he was the scriptwriter cum helmer (and, in the case of the 2001 work, also its producer) in “Dummy Mommy Without a Baby” and “Love Undercover”: The former of which I was not particularly impressed by; whereas the latter struck me as being quite charming in parts as well as amusing.

Then there’s the first and second of his “Feel 100%” films: Both of which have Ekin Cheng, Sammi Cheng, Gigi Leung and Eric Kot in their cast -- and Joe Ma as their director plus, together with Matt Chow, co-scriptwriter -- but otherwise are not really connected with each other; what with these four individuals essaying characters with different names in the two relationship movies that were released within three months of each other back in 1996.  If one were to judge them in terms of commercial success, the performance of FEEL 100%...ONCE MORE -- whose total local box office takings is listed as being HK$15,887,030 on one page of the HKMDB (even while the movie's individual entry on that site alternatively states that it garnered a far more impressive HK$40,861,655) -- appears to not be that far away from the HK $20,805,282 grossing original "Feel 100%" offering.
In view of this, my opinion that the earlier effort actually was the more entertaining -- as well as much less meandering and, consequently, generally time-wasting -- of this pair of box office hits is one that looks to go against that of a whole bunch of professional movie reviewers. In any case, I also don’t really buy Joe Ma’s assertion that the hardly “heavy” or substantial Christmas offering whose basic plot formula (of “A loves B, B loves C, C loves D”) he got from “St. Elmo’s Fire” -- as opposed to the first, whose inspiration was John Hughes’ “Some Kind of Wonderful” -- is all that obviously a more mature movie than its summery plus fluffy feeling predecessor (Once more, cf. the Joe Ma chapter of Miles Wood’s “Cine East”); although I might grant that, unlike “Feel 100%”, FEEL 100%...ONCE MORE does possess at least one (fairly) grown-up acting personality in the memorably monikered Chingmy Yau’s equally distinctively named Gobby Li.
Still, TV advertising model Gobby probably only seems to be as adult as she does as a result of FEEL 100%...ONCE MORE’s other main characters coming across as being very much on the childish side.  After all, she is one of those who gets shown in one scene of this Golden Harvest and B.O.B. co-production uninhibitedly playing drinking games -- whose stakes involve the removal of items of clothing as well as drinking up to a bottle of beer or regularly sized alcoholic drink at the conclusion of each challenge -- with people who appear to be perfect strangers to her, for the most part (And this, the audience later learns, when she -- who never really looked all that sickly -- might have been on more than one type of medication).  AND, like had previously occurred in “Boys Are Easy”, the woman portrayed by Chingmy Yau falls for a younger (acting) man who comes in the form of Ekin Cheng (and, in this movie, is named Marco)!
Alternatively, Gobby’s not someone who would get into a major spat over what does seem like a mere trifle with a lover while in the middle of a foreign city that prompts them to huffily go their separate ways, at least for a time (like Ekin Cheng’s and Sammi Cheng’s chemistry-less lead characters did early on in FEEL 100%...ONCE MORE).  Neither does she seem likely to decide on her appointed wedding day that she’s unready plus not willing to marry (as Andy Hui’s irresponsible Alan did near the beginning of this far too contrived situation filled work) nor look to be the kind of insecure individual who would force the person she loves to look more like her and/or a(nother) movie’s character (the way that the decidedly homely looking Cheung Tat Ming’s Siu Man did with Gigi Leung’s sweet Emma).  Furthermore, the thirty-something year old woman doesn’t appear to be the type of character who seems adapt at tendering all manner of romantic advice to others but then proceeds to screw up even a simple conversation with the person of her dreams (like was the case with Eric Kot’s actually not all that monstrous Monster).
Perhaps because her Gobby role was more sympathetically written than the bulk of the characters in this movie (or maybe due entirely to the positive attributes of the actress who essayed her), Chingmy Yau’s presence in the offering was most definitely the highlight of FEEL 100%...ONCE MORE.  IMHO, Gigi Leung also deserves some credit; not least for her ability to keep a straight face when she was called upon to effectively reprise her geeky “Full Throttle” part in a section of this film that parodied that far superior Derek Yee helmed work.  At any rate, it is almost entirely due to the efforts of this often under-rated duo -- as opposed to others who had more screen-time, notably a surprisingly not (yet) charismatic Sammi Cheng -- that I didn’t wind up feeling like a complete ass for thinking that this DKNY advertising strewn offering would be able to supply me with some 90 minutes worth of unlabored as well as easy entertainment.

My rating for the film: 5.5

Reviewed by Brian

One of those awful cutsie yuppie HK films starring lots of young, attractive people such as Sammi Cheng and Ekin Cheng. Such problems they have. Who cares. Of course there is lots of Chingmy and she is wonderful but still its not enough to save this cringe worthy film. A movie for HK pea pods.

My rating for this film: 5.0