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SET OFF (Chi ri qi cheng)


Genre: Comedy
Starring: Fan Wei, Ju Wenpei, Liu Hua
Director: Liu Jiang
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2008







Languages: Chinese
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: -
Sound: -
Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East




Wanting to make a fortune in Cyprus, Cui (Fan Wei) is forced to come back to Beijing to divorce his wife. Soon after he has landed, his Cyprus restaurant is about to be sold by his partners, and he must fly back to Cyprus. But on his way to the airport, he meets a drunken girl Xia (Ju Wenpei) who coerces him to take her home. Not only is he locked out of her apartment without his shirt, cell phone, and even his passport, he finds himself embroiled in a deadly chase involving a wad of US cash...


There’s this thing about bringing together two people who can’t stop bickering with each other. Yes, this is a tried and tested formula which is easy to spot from afar, but there’s something which somehow works for movie couples like that - always. Remember Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder in Tim Burton’s Edward Scissorhands (1990)? What about Belle and the Beast in Disney’s animated classic Beauty and the Beast (1991)? How about looking no further than Kermit and Miss Piggy in The Muppets?

Okay, that was a bit far fetched, but you get our point. This Mainland Chinese movie adopts the familiar concept of bringing together two people who never thought that they can survive with each other’s presence. But at the end of the 100th minute of this Liu Jiang directed drama; you’ll be getting a conclusion which, well, can only summed up as something which you hear yourself saying: “I saw that coming the moment the movie began”.

The story’s protagonist is a bummer but kind hearted (aren’t they all the same?) man who owns a Chinese restaurant in Cyprus. As fate would have it, he returns home to Beijing and finds his wife cheating on him, and horrors of horrors (we choose to believe that this is a made for movie plot development only), bearing the child of his best friend. Fate sure is cruel to him when he realizes that his business partner is selling the restaurant. Problem number three comes in the form of a girl whom he meets while on his way to the airport, and this feisty girl seems to be nothing but trouble

Liu’s debut film is marketed as the first film to be made under China Film Group’s Young Filmmaker funding project. The theatrical release is regarded to be as phenomenal as another Mainland Chinese production, Ning Hao’s Crazy Stone (2006). And what makes Liu’s film good enough to warranty a DVD release in Singapore? The sleeper hit phenomenon is evident from Cha Muchun and Wang Li’s sharply smart script which boasts of intelligent dialogue and everyday situations made interesting by the movie’s dramatic presentation. Above all, the low budget feel of the movie makes this a winner.

Fan Wei (A World Without Thieves, If You Are The One) plays the male protagonist with such great affection that you’d be empathizing with the trouble he keeps running into. Ju Wenpei plays the pesky female protagonist who somehow does not fall into the category of being irritating.

One thing about watching Mainland Chinese movies (forget blockbusters like Curse of the Golden Flower and House of Flying Daggers) is that you’d find yourself enjoying the simplicity of things, and wondering how nice it would be if life is really about meeting someone who can create drama by bickering with you non stop, and ultimately have things work out nicely.


This Code 3 DVD contains no extra features.


There is nothing to complain about the disc’s visual transfer, and the movie is presented in its original Chinese language.



Review by John Li


Other titles from Scorpio East:

. Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden?

. Marigold

. Beast Stalker

. My Best Friend's Girl

. The Reef

. Connected

. Painted Skin

. 12 Lotus

. The Coffin

. The Luckiest Man

. Forget Me Not

. The Black Swindler

. Rule #1

. Dance of the Dragon

. Money No Enough 2

. Chaos

. Midnight Eagle

. The Leap Years

. Ancient Chinese Sports

. There Will Be Blood

. The Nanny Diaries

. The Magic Gourd

. Death Proof

. Dead Air

. A Tale of Mari and Her Puppies

. My Wife is a Gambling Maestro

. Fatal Move

. An Empress and the Warriors

. Ah Long Pte Ltd

. Talking Cock The Movie

. 2 Faces of My Girlfriend

. Lust Caution

. 881

. Brothers

. Ratatouille

. The Invisible

. The Lookout

. Alone

. Bar Paradise

. China Vampire

. Hooked On You

. Underdog

. Keeping Up With The Steins

. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

. High School Musical 2: Extended Edition

. Pixar Short Films Volume One

. Who Slept With Her?

. The Jungle Book

. Disney Princess Enchanted Tales

. Meet The Robinsons

. Goal II: Living the Dream

. Hanna Montana

. Meet The Robinsons

. Wild Hogs

. Breaking And Entering

. Jump In

. Primeval

. Forest of Death

. The Fox and the Hound 2

. The Fox and the Hound

. Dumbo

. One Last Dance

. Protege

. The Curse of the Golden Flower

. A Battle Of Wits

. Rain Dogs

. Heavenly Mission

. Exiled

. Operation Undercover

. Diary

. Fatal Contact

. Singapore Dreaming

. Rob-B-Hood

. On The Edge

. The World's Fastest Indian

. Dragon Tiger Gate

. Unarmed Combat

. Crazy Stone

. Election 2

. We Are Family

. I Not Stupid Too

. The Shoe Fairy

. 2 Becomes 1

. 49 Days


. Dragon Eye Congee

. A Chinese Tall Story

. Perhaps Love


. Election

. The Myth

. Wait 'Til You're Older

. The Maid


This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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