Starring: Juno Mak Chun-lung, Stephy Tang Lai-yan, Gordon Lam Ka-tung
Director: Wong Ching-po
Category: IIB (Cantonese)
Inspired by cartoons and memories of 1980s after-school TV viewing, this live-action comedy-drama is in dire need of a team of superhero scriptwriters to bring its scattered ideas into focus.
The high concepts bandied about by director Wong Ching-po certainly have the potential to entertain, and occasionally do, but the underlying premise of misfit youths harnessing their inner powers to fight dastardly criminals is needlessly obscured by a weak plot and poorly defined characters. Let's Go! has the disjointed feel of stapled-together episodes related chiefly by the presence of morose waiter Siu Sheung (Juno Mak Chun-lung, below, who also co-produced the film).
Flashbacks reveal his childhood love of the 1980s Japanese cartoon Space Emperor God Sigma, and the family tragedy that changed his life at the age of eight, along with his views on battling for justice.
Now a taciturn adult, Siu Sheung and his kung fu skills fuel the fight-for-justice league fantasies of oddball pal Big Bird (Wen Chao). It's a storyline that cries out for over-the-top treatment but is undercut by the filmmakers' inability to make the pair's friendship believable.
Big Bird is soon dropped, though, for another subplot in which Siu Sheung joins tough guy Kwong Shing (Gordon Lam Ka-tung) and a squad of bodyguards protecting tycoon gangster Hon Yu (veteran kung fu star Jimmy Wang Yu). Romance unconvincingly enters the picture via the introduction of sassy shoplifter-cum-rocker Annie (Stephy Tang Lai-yan).
Later in the movie, the lighthearted tone is replaced by ultra-violence as righteousness combats evil. Big Bird is back, his re-entry lacking in logic as are many of the narrative's unfolding twists and turns. Gratuitously flashy technique and excessive bloodletting to the contrary, the segment drags on till an unexpectedly upbeat conclusion.
It is the film's occasional moments of gentle humour that show Let's Go! to best advantage. Annie's first dinner with Siu Sheung's mum (Patricia Ha Man-chik), for instance, or the scene wherein three unlikely musketeers - Siu Sheung, Big Bird, and Annie - joyfully spray-paint their justice league's logo. A highlight is the characters' karaoke rendition of Leslie Cheung's Emperor God Sigma theme song, a sequence that calls upon Hongkongers' collective memory in such a way that it strikes the movie's most resounding note. Not enough, alas, to transform Let's Go! into a 'kick-ass' saviour of purely local cinema.
Let's Go opens today