Film review: Rhapsody of Kidnapping – Hong Kong captive comedy doomed by amateur plot

Paul Sze’s debut film about three tech company founders who resort to kidnap struggles to amuse with unsophisticated jokes and an unbelievable storyline

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 January, 2018, 7:00pm

1.5/5 stars

An amazing case of Stockholm syndrome sits conveniently at the heart of this utterly unconvincing captive comedy, written and directed by first-time Hong Kong filmmaker Paul Sze Pak-lam. While largely inoffensive and even sporadically amusing, Rhapsody of Kidnapping is so thoroughly detached from reality that it’s likely to satisfy only the most undemanding viewers.

The first contrivance takes place at a business meeting right at the start, when tech company founders Star (Justin Cheung Kin-seng), Eric (Eric Kwok Wai-leung) and Chow (Chui Ho-cheong) simply hand over their latest invention to a sleazy tycoon, Kong (Tony Ho Wah-chiu), before thinking to guarantee a single dollar of payment in return.

Film review: Suburbicon – George Clooney tackles racism and violence in messy noir comedy

When it transpires that Kong is flat-out taking their invention as his own, the debt-ridden trio decide to consecutively take hostage the businessman’s wife (Christine Ng Wing-mei), his mistress (Alycia Chan Yuen-hang), his love child (Jennifer Yu Heung-ying) and her grandma (Bonnie Wong Man-wai) for a huge ransom – only to learn that the heartless Kong has instead hired an assassin to take most of them out.

Essentially daring the audiences to suspend their disbelief for the entire runtime, Sze’s film mistakes amateur plotting for comedy, extracting only a tiny bit of fun from a potentially intriguing premise. As things stand, you may well have stopped caring long before the hapless kidnappers and their incredibly accommodating hostages take their final revenge on Kong. A forgettable farce.

Rhapsody of Kidnapping opens on January 18

Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook