Papa Loves You
One has to wonder what is going through the mind
of Tony Leung Ka-fai – one of the best actors from Hong Kong over the past
twenty-years – when he is playing Dad to the Twins – in “The Spy Dad” to
Gillian Chung and here to the other one, Charlene Choi. I can imagine a
few things that must float around in there such as: “Is this why I went
to acting school?”, “Will I have to return my Best Actor Award?”, “It pays
the bills”, “How come the other Tony works with Wong Kar-wai and I work
with the Twins?”, “Even De Niro was in a film called Meet the Fockers”
- though chances are he is thinking the same as many of us “I wonder if
they would be willing to have a threesome with me”. At least I was
thinking these things as I watched poor Tony frantically trying to keep
this film going like a mouse getting electric shocks every time it paused.
I don’t know about Tony, but I sure felt embarrassed for him.
Tony plays a prissy piano teaching dad to Charlene
– who isn’t perhaps “addicted” to her as the DVD states, but he certainly
is overly protective since his wife died many years back. He constantly
worries about her - having nightmares that she has been run over,
become a hooker or been in a triad machete gang bang – typical dad stuff.
Almost daily he gets calls from the school principal (Paul Chun Pui) to
come down to the school because his daughter is in trouble – beating up
someone or coercing a heavy girl to commit suicide – and he madly runs
down – his palms stretched outwards as if he is drying his nail polish
or auditioning for a local production of “The Birdcage”. He begins to follow
her around and spots her shoplifting one day and he intervenes to save
her – all this is more than annoying to his daughter not to mention to
the audience – but then this all changes.
While in a restaurant Tony accidentally saves
the life of Father Hung (Eric Tsang) who is a top triad big shot and this
is witnessed by four male classmates of Charlene (Marco Lok, Steven Cheung,
Kenny Kwan and Johnny Lu) who jump to the conclusion that Tony is actually
Misty Hawkins. Hawkins was the bodyguard to Hung eighteen years ago, but
disappeared after killing 108 men single-handedly – and is famous for his
incredibly speedy Shadowless Hands. This rumor comes in handy as Charlene
finds herself in trouble with a few underworld figures – one played by
Charles Heung (who also produced this film) and Blackie Ko (in one of his
last roles) – and they tremble in the presence of the legendary killer.
Of course, the family of the 108 dead men haven’t forgotten Hawkins either
and come looking for revenge.
Most of this film is simply annoying – other parts
are just aggravating – none of it is worth a moment of anyone’s time unless
they have to see Charlene in everything – in other words they are addicted
to her! She actually tones down her typical over the top cuteness but I
am not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. The final ten minutes
of the film decides to get overly melodramatic and soppy – almost painfully
so – you want to shout – please stop Tony – lets start a collection to
pay his bills so that he doesn't have to take work like this. Even worse,
perhaps exemplifying the artistically downward spiral of Hong Kong film
is the fact that the director of this tedious fluff is none other than
Herman Yau. Yes, Herman Yau – the director of “The Untold Story” and “From
the Queen to the Chief Executive”. Between this film and his earlier 2004
effort “Dating Death” which stars some of the Cookies one has to wonder
if he is in hock to the triad or going through a second adolescence.
My rating for this film: 4.0