Bodyguards of the Last Governor
This pre-Handover satire/comedy from Wong Jing
just never quite takes off – its like a balloon with just enough helium
to keep it from crashing down to the ground, but not enough to take it
anywhere. Every now and then though a sudden gust of humor will raise your
hopes. Admittedly, much of the satire was directed at real life HK politicians
and the pre-Handover situation and much of it no doubt flew right by me.
In this Wong Jing fantasy, Chris Patton is
forced out of office a few months before the big date in 1997 and the English
government as a joke appoints a Chinese cook living in the UK as the new
Governor of HK. Law Kar-Ying receives this news with great glee as it will
give him a chance to have Stephen Chow tell him jokes and to be able to
have both Amy Yip and Diana Pang Dan as his mistresses. Worthy goals for
a man to aim for!
The film pokes a lot of fun at the mass maneuvering
going on in the HK government in the days leading up to the Handover. Officials
are trying to discern who will have power in the post-Handover days – and
kissing up to them while completely dissing those who they think will soon
be out of power.
The main story though focuses around a plot
to kill the Governor – by a family with a grudge – and the two bodyguards
(Eric Kot and Michael Chow) who are assigned to protect him. Jet Li (Bodyguard
from Beijing) these guys are not! I wouldn’t trust my lunch sandwich with
these guys. In one amusing scene (of which there were a few in this film),
the two of them go for training where they learn to both withstand and
give torture. But they are given a scenario where they are trapped on a
desert island with the Governor and with only a knife, a half bottle of
water, a tin of food and a pack of condoms – and what would they do to
safeguard the life of the Governor. Kot’s bizarre mind goes off on a very
inventive and silly riff.
Eric Kot is actually bearable in this film – often
I find him insufferable – and he has some humorous moments – such as being
trapped in a bathroom stall with the Governor in the next one – and only
one roll of tissue paper between them. Almost as ridiculous as a Chinese
cook being appointed Governor is the fact that Kot is married to the delicious
Chingmy Yau. Chingmy doesn’t have nearly enough screen time here for my
dollar but she looks great as usual.
In one good scene she suspects Eric of two-timing
her (like anyone with half a mind would two-time Chingmy!) and goes to
snoop on him at work. In the meantime, a female assassin is making an attempt
on the Governor’s life and Kot is wrestling with her on a bed – and getting
the worst of it. Hearing all the yells and moans Chingmy breaks in and
beats the hell out of this woman who she thinks is having an affair with
And so on. Nothing really great as the film is
unfocused – does it want to be a satire or a typical Jing low brow comedy
– but it can’t make up its mind. As I said one of the film threads follows
a woman (Law Koon-Lan) who is a high official and she seems to be having
a romance with an official from the HK Democratic Party and also with a
high official from the Mainland. She is called Ansin – so I assume she
is suppose to be Anson Chan (one of the top administrators in HK) but I
just don’t know enough about the political situation in HK to follow what
this all really meant.
As a postscript – the film follows the lives of
the characters after the Handover and both Chow and Kot are assigned to
the Official Torture Section!
Liz Kong – one of my favorite new actresses
– has a very small role as the daughter of the Governor and gives Kot quite
the neck hickey!
My rating for this film: 5.5