Agent Mr Chan film review: Dayo Wong plays superspy in zany parody on net idol culture
Stand-up comedy star may finally end his run of box-office bombs with this pop culture parody full of funny moments and a killer cameo from Sammi Cheng – playing herself
Hong Kong stand-up comedy star Dayo Wong Tze-wah looks to end his bizarre record of box-office flops with this wacky Lunar New Year offering. While it begins with a James Bond-like title sequence and swiftly establishes Wong’s character as a world-renowned superspy, Agent Mr Chan soon switches gear to reveal its more titillating core as a pop culture parody, with many of its most biting observations reserved for girlie internet idols and their fanatical male followers.
Twenty years after a covert mission led him to deceive the fiery policewoman Heung (Charmaine Sheh Sze-man) into a fake relationship and wedding, the peace-loving secret agent Mr Chan (Wong) again crosses paths with the woman he once cruelly jilted – although Heung, by now police commissioner, holds all the power she needs to torture her ex on a regular basis.
As a string of public figures – from a cross-dressing official (Lawrence Cheng Tan-shui) to Sammi Cheng Sau-man, in the best cameo of the bunch, appearing as a version of herself – start behaving uncontrollably in public, Heung secretly enlists Chan to investigate the cause. What follows are some of the film’s funniest moments, as Chan acclimates himself to infiltrate an overzealous community of idol-chasing geeks.
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Far more effective as a satire on this milieu of seductive internet idols and their desperate fans than as an espionage spoof, this feature debut by long-time assistant director Jeff Cheung Ka-kit does ultimately surprise with its climax, which seeks unconvincingly to project the good nature of porn-obsessed nerds.
If nothing else, Agent Mr Chan can at least lay claim to being one of Wong’s less embarrassing outings on the big screen.
Agent Mr Chan opens on February 15
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