Pearl of Flowerland is sent to Mainland at a young age to
learn her ceremonials duties. Her mother, the Queen Mother
misses her daughter very much that the King orders his sister,
the princess, to return home. However, the princess has fallen
in love with General Wing of the Mainland army and is reluctant
to part from him. As their boat approaches the Flowerland
border, Pearl & Wing save the life of a girl named Ying,
who seeks to throw herself into sea after running away from
an arranged marriage. Pearl, Wing and Ying are attacked by
pirates and Pearl falls overboard in the ensuing chaos. On
arrival in Flowerland, the King mistakes Ying for his sister,
while Pearl is saved by Ying's father, Million.
Hong Kong Lunar New Year movies aren’t really movies. In the past, it was about seeing action superstar Jackie Chan jump from building to building, fighting off baddies in unrealistic situations. With him gradually moving away from such violent shows, the other kind of Lunar New Year movies emerge as the predominant choice audiences turn to. It’s the kind of movies which stars gather to act in an ensemble movie which story does not really make much sense. Somehow, these well known stars always seem to have all the fun in such productions. To see it from another perspective, this phenomenon is also probably about how these stars still manage to pocket a substantial amount of salary for breezing effortlessly through these Lunar New Year movies.
Louis Koo. Ronald Cheng. Sandra Ng. Raymond Wong. Lynn Xiong. Angelababy. Lee Heung Kam. Lam Suet. Mimi Chu. These are stars you have seen from a dozen other Hong Kong movies like Accident (2009), Kungfu Cyborg: Metallic Attraction (2009), On His Majesty’s Secret Service (2009), Ip Man (2008) and Sparrow (2008). For this Lunar New Year movie, they have come together to act silly and nonsensical, hoping to make you chuckle and laugh. Do they succeed? It really depends on your tolerance for gibberish comedy which does not really serve any artistic merit in the arena of filmmaking.
We have to obligatorily touch on the story of this movie directed by Herman Yau (Turning Point) and Raymond Wong (better known for his producer roles in movies like Dragon Tiger Gate and Ip Man). The rather incoherent and inconsequential plot tells the tale of a princess who goes home, only to be involved in a situation of mistaken identities. Somewhere along the way, there is an Emperor, a businessman, a general and a whole lot of other supporting characters involved. There’s also a little of cross dressing, a little of archery and a little of catwalk modeling involved in these 92 minutes of irrelevant slapstick humour.
The easiest way to milk those laughs is to make popular and cultural references to things today’s audiences are familiar with. That’s why we get that a lot in this movie. There’s a joke about puns on modern brand names. There’s a spoof of Donnie Yen’s much adored fighting sequence in Ip Man. There is a silly but rather amusing catwalk scene featuring model Xiong. The laughs are haphazard and are littered all over the show without much thought. But if there’s a market for this during the Lunar New Year period, who are we to complain?
Besides, the set designs and outdoor locations look relatively impressive, especially when placed against the somewhat ridiculous wardrobe the cast has to wear. The cast doesn’t seem to be bothered though, seeing how they waft their way through the entire movie. They even break into a song at the end of the show, wishing you a Happy Lunar New Year. It may be out of tune, but it will probably leave a smile on most people’s faces.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
This Code 3 DVD includes a Trailer for the movie.
There are no complaints about the movie’s visual transfer, which is presented in a terribly dubbed Mandarin dialogue.
by John Li
Posted on 19 April 2010