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Genre: Drama/Telemovie
Starring: Chen Shu Cheng, Scott C Hillyard
Director: Fang Jiafu
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2008



- NG Shots
- Photo Gallery



Languages: Mandarin
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Sound: -
Running Time: 1 hr 20 mins
Region Code: PAL ALL
Distributor: InnoF
orm Media




Kang is a spoilt and rebellious city kid. When Kang's mother travels overseas and leaves him with her father, Old Mo, Kang is quick to come into conflict with his old-fashioned grandfather and his shabby living conditions.

No matter how spoilt and unreasonable Kang is, Old Mo remains forgiving and patient. Through his grandfather's boundless patience and devotion, Kang learns to embrace humility and cement the unyielding bond between grandfather and grandchild...by fulfilling a long forgotten regret of Old Mo.


Before we start, let’s get the facts right. "A Promise" is a telemovie so don’t go expecting fancy editing, sound mix and cinematography. In other words, technically speaking, it’s similar to those Mediacorp television serials you watch every night.

Mediacorp veteran actor Chen Shu Cheng is Old Mo, an elderly man whose estranged daughter left her only son, Xiao Kang under the care of Mo when she has to travel overseas. But Kang is a typical city kid, he plays Nintendo, feeds on fast food and watches not just TV but cable TV. How can you expect him to live with Mo in a small smelly flat whose diet consists nothing but plain porridge with fermented toufu and peanuts.

The structure of "A Promise" is lifted ungraciously from an acclaimed 2002 Korean movie, "The Way Home". In the latter, a spoilt kid is left under the care of his grandmother who resides in the countryside. The movie explores several aspects of life including unconditional love, filial piety among others which most of us pathetically has forgotten over the years.

"A Promise" tries to duplicate the magic while it never really achieved what "The Way Home" does, the performances from Chen Shu Cheng and Scott Hillyard (Xiao Kang) is what makes the whole telemovie work. Hillyard who crafts his acting career at a young age in countless of Kids Central productions is a natural as the spoilt Kang. The craggy-looking Chen and Hillyard carve a love-hate relationship in this 80 minutes feature and impresses with a lively banter about 'dust' at the beginning of the movie to prove their chemistry onscreen.

Unfortunately, there’s a melancholy subplot of Mo’s unrequited puppy love which really drags the show and comes with a cheesy Hokkien theme song that keeps playing in the background whenever the narrative surfaces.

If given a better polish with deeper character developments, "A Promise" should warm your heartstrings but the scuttle ending sadly makes it a forgettable event. Aunties and uncles who are accustomed to their daily dose of television serials shouldn’t have problem lapping this up. There is worse stuff on television.


The DVD comes with 3 minutes of NG shots and a photo gallery which is accompanied with the Hokkien theme song yet again.


With a decent video and sound transfer, the DVD comes with the original Mandarin track and English, Chinese subtitles. 



Review by Linus Tee


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This review is made possible with the kind support from InnoForm Media


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