The Wesley's Mysterious
I approached the table reluctantly with small
tentative steps and a sense of foreboding that was creeping up my leg like
a lost centipede looking for a dark warm place to nest in. I had earlier
cleared the table entirely and moved it to the middle of the room where
the overhead light shone brightly down upon it. Then I gingerly placed
the object of my fear in the center of it and quietly circled the table
a few times while keeping a close eye on the dark blue rectangle that lay
there staring back at me with cat like insouciance. Before me was something
so reviled that it had received worse press than serial killer John Wayne
Gacy and had been condemned to an equal fate by many.
My hands trembled slightly as I reached for it
and gently cut away the plastic that surrounded it like a protective garment
– but to protect it or us was the question that came up from by bubbling
stomach. Suddenly the table moved and I jumped back only to realize that
the cause was my own shaking knees. With tiny beads of acerbic sweat making
their way down my forehead I cracked open the case by the merest of centimeters–
fully expecting something slimy or toxic to try crawling out like a decomposing
corpse from its grave. I held my breath.
I thought back to the origin of my dread. It
seemed on its face to be harmless, almost ordinary, but whoever had come
into contact with this object seemed to be marked for life, almost burnt
by its touch.
Here are a few comments from the HKMDB:
"Disappointment Of The Year, A pile of unoriginal
"o my god, how bad was this movie!"
"Skip this one, unless you wanna see Andy
Lau have mind-sex with an alien jello-mold." (well, actually yes I
"Yes, this is the best movie ever made if
you are mental."
"we must suffer through the film's stench."
"DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME!!!"
And then evidence of further pain that it inflicted
on innocents from other reputable information centers:
From the well-respected Love
“is this really the crap that audiences
want to see? It also furthers the decline of cinema as an art form.”
From the rough and tumble guys at City
“I should have heeded Ben Poppel's advice
and avoided this turd as if it were, well, a turd.”
And at Hell
“is the worst HK movie I've ever seen. In
fact, I'd have to think about it, but it may be the worst movie I've ever
seen period (I still haven't seen Dream of a Warrior, yet, though).”
Editors note: nothing could be as bad as Dream of a Warrior.
And finally, I turned to my good friend Tim
Hong Kong Movie Page. Kinder than most, but still:
“Scriptwriting is uniformly disappointing
and never adequately builds on its initial subject matter and the narration
that begins the film is quickly ditched. Character backgrounds are minimal
and technobabble verges on nuisance.”
So the weight of these comments bore down heavily
upon me as I finished opening the case – to find inside . . . a DVD – not
just a DVD but one of The Wesley’s Mysterious File! I put it in my player
and stepped back a safe distance and hit the play button and waited for
the inevitable horror like a locked kneed virgin in a “Scream” movie. Eighty-seven
minutes later and it was over and the true horror struck home – I wanted
to ignore it but it sat there like a toothless gnome grinning at me. I
had to admit it to myself – this turd, this decline in the cinema as an
art form – had entertained me quite a bit in a very strange way! What to
do – keep it to myself like a deep dark dirty secret forever festering
within my soul or free myself by admitting it as if at an Alcoholics Anonymous
meeting. This review is my answer. I am free.
Upfront though I should confess that I have a
liking for “B” sci-fi films and lately have been gobbling up such 1950’s
gems as This Island Earth, Target Earth and World without End (check out
Lisa Montell!). Now if you think WMF is bad, I challenge you to get through
Superman and the Mole Men in which the Mole Men consist of midgets adorned
in a bathroom furry rugs and a piece of rubber pasted to the top of their
heads. It is wretchedly bad by most cinematic standards, but I enjoyed
it immensely and Lois Lane has never looked so good as portrayed by Phyllis
Coates – and when it came out in 1951 did people cruelly pounce on it like
a wounded animal – no I don’t think so – people were so much gentler than.
Poor Wesley – if this was the NFL a penalty would have been called for
In fact, this is close to a perfect “B” sci-fi
film full of stiff dialogue, wooden characters, end of the world catastrophe
looming, cheesy special effects, beautiful babes in distress, ugly aliens,
alien sex, gigantic plot holes and a hero with glasses on. There are not
nearly enough heroes in movies that wear glasses and I think that’s a shame.
All in all, it’s much too serious to be taken seriously. The film is also
chock full of ideas (maybe someone else’s but what the heck, lets not be
picky) that they spew at you in rat-a-tat fashion like a berserk madman
with turret syndrome. It’s fun, it’s nutty, it looks good and the women
– human or alien - sparkle – and few to none brain cells will be lost in
the process. What more does any discriminating moviegoer want? It is true
that one of the few goals in my life is to see every one of Hsu Chi’s films
(everyone should have at least one lofty aim) – so this was inevitable
and as it turned out much less painful than say The Blacksheep Affair or
Skyline Cruisers – in fact it was goofy, frantic, silly fun that I think
. . . was what it was trying for.
Everyone seems to zero in on the fact that the
Chinese actors in the film speak a lot of bad English – is this a crime?
Was it a crime for Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu to speak bad Japanese in Kill
Bill? So what if two of the characters are FBI agents and can’t speak proper
English (I think it’s a positive sign that the FBI is reaching out from
its pool of white English speaking males – if they had done so with Arabic
who knows what might be different today) or if Andy Lau’s character actually
spoke fluent English as a child (witnessed in a flashback), but seems to
have gained a thick accent as he grew older or that the Aliens speak better
Chinese than these characters do English – it is a polyglot world and I
think this film is taking these socio-cultural changes into account. And
in the final analysis I actually understood them better than I usually
do that English twerp, Hugh Grant. And for my money, Hsu Chi looks adorable
in any language.
Andy Lau is Wesley (or Wisely - a famous literary
Chinese hero who has been the subject of a few other films*) and he looks
like a Chinese Buddy Holly in his square frames and tight tailored suits.
At one point Hsu Chi tells him “Don’t look so cool”, but he can’t help
it – he is Andy Lau. He is a member of AAA – better known to most of you
as Alien Analyzing Agency – which is a top secret group at the United Nations
that keeps track of aliens on earth – over 100 different kinds of them
so far – one of whom lives in my building I am sure. Andy is located in
San Francisco where the liberal lifestyles make it perfect for relocated
aliens not being noticed by the neighbors. He becomes involved in helping
the FBI Double X unit shoot down a particularly nasty critter, but is saved
himself by the Blue Blooded alien that comes in the fine form of Rosamund
Kwan not looking anywhere near her 600 years of age – the last 200 spent
on earth. She and her brother (Samuel Pang) came to look for the Blue Blooded
Bible, but got separated upon entry and are still looking for one another
– why they simply haven’t placed an advertisement for a Blue Blooded Alien
is never made clear.
Hsu Chi and Roy Cheung are part of this Double
X unit – but the head of the agency betrays both them and Wesley as he
is hoping to harness the powers of the Blue Blooded Alien for American
world domination (I thought we already had that?). I am not exactly clear
what these powers are but they look as if they would be very handy at parties,
family get togethers, Bar Mitzvahs and when the cable doesn’t work. Now
into this fray come two more aliens – the Warlock Toxin Clan – who are
truly nasty ones – you can tell because they are played by Mark Cheng and
Almen Wong, who seems to have slipped on the villainess mantle as of late.
They take on human form but have these very cool tentacles that can suck
the matter out of people. They are also intent on taking over the world
and only Wesley and the Blue Blooded Bible stand in their way. Even while
trying to save the world, that devil Wesley still finds time to flash his
best Andy Lau smile and seduce Rosamund. Since she bashfully admits that
she doesn’t have a place to put "it" – they opt for alien sex, which consists
of cocooning feet above their bed with lots of mental foreplay and replay
and small circles of lights flying out the door. I remember when I was
much younger and had that kind of sex. There are also deep humanistic messages
in this film, but I will leave that to you to figure out – just take this
to bed with you tonight – there are good aliens as well as bad ones – sort
of like us humans.
So clearly this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea –
in fact apparently hardly anyone’s – so please don’t listen to me. Not
that anyone should really listen to anyone’s reviews – everyone sees films
differently. I often wonder if perhaps life forms in another galaxy might
be reading these reviews and they have formed Hsu Chi fan clubs up there
– all of them wearing these huge rubber lips and emitting high pitched
signals. Hold on. I see a cluster of lights forming outside my window as
I write out the last few sentences of this review – it seems to be solidifying
into something recognizable – oh my god – it looks just like Rosamund Kwan.
I guess I’ll be having some fun tonight. Thank goodness I changed my sheets
yesterday – not that we will really need them – I just hope my ceilings
are high enough.
My rating for this film: 6.5
* Seventh Curse, Bury Me High, Legend
of Wisely and The Cat.