He Who Chases After the Wind

Reviewed by YTSL

What would you think would be in store if a movie's chief publicity shot showed Elizabeth Lee (one of the stars of "Widow Warriors") being taught how to handle a gun by Alex Man (who appeared in "Young and Dangerous" 4 and 5)?  And howzabout if this is accompanied by information that its cast includes Carrie Ng (probably best known as "Naked Killer"'s cigar-chomping Princess!) and Shing Fui-On (a.k.a. Big Sillyhead(!); who appeared in "The Killer")?  Surely, the chances are that you would do as I did:  I.e., put two and two together...and make five rather than four.  Put more plainly:  This 1988 production was far from the attractive Girls with Guns or Femme Fatale-heavy action feature that I had hoped it would be.

Instead, HE WHO CHASES AFTER THE WIND turned out to be this absolute dud combination of a creepy romance and a crime film.  Alex Man has the chief role as a plainclothes policeman who is clearly adored by a female colleague (Carrie Ng disappointingly has but a small, non-red lipsticked role) but is enamored of a woman (Elizabeth Lee is made up to look glamorous and attractive) he first laid eyes on when foiling a crime taking place in her house (and, in the process, kills the brother of Shing Fui-On's character).  Stephen Chow (clearly still early in his career here like Ms. Ng), has a part serious, part comic supporting part as the protagonist's brother.  Anthony Tang as Elizabeth Lee's distracted, toy-loving, rich husband -- hey, I didn't make this up; I just am reporting the facts here! -- rounds up the main cast.

It's bad enough that Ng's policewoman decides to not return Lee's character's diary out of a combination of spite and frustration that Dr. Lam (Lee plays the kind of unsuspecting psychologist I hope only exists in movies) is not being helpful -- for reasons we never learn; this is but one example of the many gaping holes in this movie's plot -- in assisting the investigation of the attempted burglary.  What's worse is that she gives it to Man's character, he proceeds to read the personal journal, and uses what he reads to woo its author-confessor.  Among other things:  The detective -- who the good doctor failed to recognize as her and her husband's rescuer upon re-encountering him a month or so later -- hides his occupation from Dr. Lam, invents an identity for himself, and gets his brother to pretend to be mentally disturbed so that he could become a patient in the institution in which Dr. Lam did charity work.

While this is happening, Shing Fui-On's character is planning his revenge against his brother's killer.  At some point, he breaks into the policeman's home and succeeds in effectively getting an eye for an eye.  Then he goes after the woman he identifies as his nemesis' girlfriend.  While this part of HE WHO CHASES AFTER THE WIND is somewhat understandable, what is inexplicable is why it got interspersed with what appears to have been intended to be an interesting romancing but which this (re)viewer saw as a disturbing misleading of a gullible woman who really has good reasons to dislike members of the police force.

Adding to the movie's lameness are subtitlers who have such difficulty with gender pronouns that I am left unsure as to whether the "he" in HE WHO CHASES AFTER THE WIND is meant to refer to Elizabeth Lee or Alex Man's character (even while being able to surmise that "the wind" represents a sense of freedom that is being sought).  Ditto a propensity to try to use music -- Western pop (After hearing it in Wong Kar Wai's "As Tears Go By" and again in this movie, I must conclude that "Take My Breath Away" was a very popular song in Hong Kong in 1988), Cantopop and instrumental works (including one by George Winston) -- to evoke whole moods and deep feelings rather than just set scenes.

In conclusion:  I honestly feel that this feeble offering only has novelty value in terms of two of its supporting actors being a then still young -- and not yet famous -- Carrie Ng and Stephen Chow (who appear in this movie's credits sans Western names), and their here playing the kind of roles that are no longer what their fans expect to see.  When the production's attraction comes down to just this and one realizes that they didn't have even half the screen time that the movie's main duo did...

My rating for the film:  3.