Film & DVD Review
Shek Kam Shui (Stephen Chow) was a guy who sponged on a restaurant's owner and grew up in the village. He became good friends with Ng Dai Tai (sandra Ng). However, their relationship was deprecated by Tai's father. Hence, they eloped and moved into the city and led a new life of their own. Kam Shui has the opportunity to be a diamond sales representative and was highly appraised by his senior, Nancy (Shooky Kwan). The affair between Nancy and Kam Shui finally turned the red light on the marriage between Dai Tai and Kam Shui. After two years, Kam Shui's feeling regretful for what he did, and returned to the old humble place to find Dai Tai.
Love Is Love is an earlier (1990) Stephen Chow comedy which places him in the part of a man trying to be successfull so that he can give his wife a good life. Most of his better films, in my opinion, were made later in his career, but viewing films like Love Is Love can give you a look into the develpment of his comic style, and show you how much he has progressed since his early days.
"Duh... what does that say?"
As you can possibly guess from that first paragraph, I did not find Love Is Love to be in any way, shape or form a great film. There are some laughs, but they are few and far between, and alas they are not side splittingly funny.
Chow is Shek Kam Shui, and young man working in a village outside Hong Kong as a poorly paid chef. He has aspirations to become rich so that he can marry his girlfriend, Ng Dai Tai (Sandra Ng), who happens to be his boss' (Shing Fui On) daughter. As Shek is only a poorly paid chef, and not able to support or give his daughter a good life, when he finds out about the two of them, he fires him and sends him away. Being in love with him, Ng Dai Tai elopes with him to Hong Kong.
"I'd watch it woman... I'm about to try to steal your purse!"
In Hong Kong Shek is sure that he will be able to make it big, so looks for a job which has a good future, and at the same time Ng gets whatever job she can to get some extra money. Living in the cheapest of places, the two struggle to get by, until one day when Shek gets an interview to be a diamond sales representitive. He is offered the position, but must pay HK$20,000 as a security bond. Not having that sort of money, he thinks all is lost, but Ng takes a job as a hostess where she gets that money easily, but pretends that she has one Mark 6 (lottery).
With his new job, Shek works extremely hard, performing all tasks asked for by his hard to please supervisor, and usually working overtime to get the job done. Through a series of chance meetings with the top boss' daughter, Shek is highly appraised and is promoted to supervisor, where he starts to earn significantly more money, allowing him and Ng to move out of their cheap appartment and into a much more plush one.
"Ha ha! With my hand here, you can't see the camera!"
In spending more time with the boss' daughter, it becomes clear that she has an interest in him, and believing that Ng is his sister, she all but tells her that she is interested. As the two become closer, and now that Shek is mixing with more posh type business people, Ng and Shek begin to seriously drift apart. With things not going well in their marriage, and after Shek is offered a position as the boss' daughter's assitant in Singapore, Ng and Shek split up, and don't see each other for over a year...
That is pretty much all the story. There are no twists or turns, and really it isn't that great a story, or film, which is why I wasn't too bothered about recounting most of it.
"That upright posture can't be good for you! Slouch, like me!"
So what is it that is wrong with Love Is Love? Well firstly it is a comedy, and as such, should really be funny. There were unfortunately very few scenes where I laughed, and even as I write this I can't remember a single one of them. That is not a good sign for a comedy. The film only has a few rather heavy drama scenes to carry it through then, and again these are not that great. The character development is not done to a degree that I found myself caring for any of them, and as such when things are going wrong, I didn't really care. I was completely detached from the film, and it failed to stir any emotions whatsoever.
Acting wise it was alright I guess. There was nothing that great which caught my eye, and nothing which I thought was that awful. Granted it is hard to judge the acting given that I don't understand much Cantonese, but the body language and movement is what I base my opinions on.
"Sitting on the dock of the bay... "
There really isn't that much else to say about this. It isn't a great film at all, if anything it is rather boring, so probably is only one for Stephen Chow enthusiasts!
Audio & Subtitles
The audio track is a Cantonese mono track. It sounded alright to me. Again nothing great, nothing terrible. I haven't listened to that many mono tracks (that I'm aware of), and imagine there is a distinct restriction on what fancy stuff you can pull of with it. Love Is Love doesn't appear to try anything fancy at all. On the plus side, all speech was perfectly intelligible at all times, and wasn't drowned out by any background noise.
"Now that is a nice shadow effect on the walls."
The english subtitles were positioned on the film print allowing widescreen TV owners to zoom in on the letterboxed print. They were bold white with a back border, making them legible on light backgrounds. There were a reasonable number of spelling mistakes and quite a few grammatical errors too. All in all, not that great subs.
The film print was a strange one. At no point was it amazingly sharp, the colours looked decent enough throughout, but in some scenes there was a very large amount of speckles on screen, and I mean a very large amount. However, in most other scenes the print looked fine to me, with very little speckling or any other sort of defect. It must have just been the section of print that was filmed on for particular takes, as the very bad scene that I have in mind, it was only bad for one camera angle, when the camera angle changed it was fine. Anyway, it could have been better.
I've seen on any dvd to date.
"Listen love, I think you made too much food for just two of us!"
DVD & Extras
For extras you get the usual Universe sort of stuff. There are star files (in english and chinese) for Stephen Chow and Sandra Ng, the trailer, and a few trailers for other films. Nothing that great.
"It is much more fun to act like kids!"
There really is no reason for me to recommend Love Is Love. All involved have been in much better films. As a comedy, it isn't funny. As a drama, it isn't that good or involving. As a film, it just blends into the background of thousands of films as another rather crap film.
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