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Chinese language cinema

Film review: Never Too Late – Alex Fong, Cecilia So venture into the supernatural in Patrick Kong romcom

The plot is a bit of a stretch, So is miscast as a bitchy type and Fong plays his most pathetic role yet as a masochistic boyfriend, but this romantic comedy cannot be dismissed as just another corny Kong film

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 12:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 October, 2017, 7:11pm

2.5/5 stars

Break-ups are tough. But if there’s a silver lining to the split between pop idols Alex Fong Lik-sun and Stephy Tang Lai-yan in early 2016, it’s that their collaborator, Patrick Kong Pak-leung, must finally get creative – the writer-director-producer coasted through much of his career with banal relationship dramas that relied on the couple’s popularity with younger viewers.

Since Anniversary (2015), the pair’s last film together, Kong has overseen Tang’s solo outing in last year’s L for Love, L for Lies Too , an off-kilter comedy drama which plunged her into the realms of gambling fraud and gangland violence. With its extended detour into supernatural fantasy, the new film Never Too Late, starring Fong, proves as much of a schizophrenic tale.

While Kong let Tang retain her dignity as a single woman in L for Love, he has here cast Fong in his most pathetic role yet, as a boyfriend so incredibly masochistic, he has become a viral joke on social media. Nicknamed “ass-licking slave” by his police buddies, Lam Ka-wah (Fong) must skilfully try to win over his cheating, gold-digging and physically abusive girlfriend (Samantha Ko Hoi-ning).

Film review: L for Love, L for Lies Too – Stephy Tang ponders break-up in off-kilter romcom

Except he won’t. Instead, Lam’s docile image is wiped clean when his human flaws are put next to the more unearthly concerns of Boey (Cecilia So Lai-shan of She Remembers, He Forgets ), a fiery beer girl who has become a wandering spirit after a car accident. As Boey helps Lam deal with his two-timing ex, and he helps her investigation into her predicament, love blossoms – albeit not quite believably.

Ultimately, Never Too Late is a pleasant surprise because it isn’t just another corny Kong romcom. As one of Hong Kong’s best young actresses, however, So is miscast in a bitchy part – much like Louisa Mak Ming-sze was in L for Love. It’s also regrettable to see Kong’s misogynistic streak continue – after Lucky Fat Man – as Lam’s victory over his ex is finally defined by his courage to slap her hard.

Never Too Late opens on October 12

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