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Genre: Comedy
Starring: Charlene Choi , Jim Chim , Anthony Wong, Eric Tsang, Chapman To, Sandra Ng , Michelle Yip
Director: Hing-Ka Chan, Patrick Leung
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2007




- Trailer




Languages: Chinese & Cantonese
Subtitles: English/Chinese
Aspect Ratio: -
Sound: -
Running Time: 2 hrs
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East




Undercover cops whom have infiltrated gangs are often killed during missions due to their 'poor acting abilities'. Constable Man Long Chan (Jim Chim), is handpicked to enroll incognito into a Performance Arts Academy as an experiment in upgrading police acting abilities. Man Long befriends fellow classmate Dani (Charlene Choi) who is an aspiring actress. After a mission failure that causes Man Long to almost give up on acting, he meets a stage janitor (Anthony Wong) who illuminates his acting path...


All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players. Do you learn acting from drama school, or do you lean more by opening your eyes to life?

That part is just about the best in Simply Actors, as it unleashes a slew of recognizable actors and actresses in star studded cameo appearances, when Anthony Wong, as a theatre janitor, takes Chan Man-long (Jim Chim) under his wing ala Morpheus strolling down the streets with Neo, giving the latter a lesson in the ways of the Matrix. Here, the lesson is in how to act, given that Man-long has the propensity of nauseatingly exaggerating himself.

As the story goes, Man-long is a police constable who's been assigned to do undercover duties. However, the police force has been slighted by the underworld for sending in moles with bad acting skills, meaning they do not look a bit convincing as gangsters, and are soon detected and dispatched. To cut down the number of casualties in their tour of duty, the top brass decides to experiment with sending their chosen cops to a Performing Arts school, and from there, hope that they'll pick up the tips and tricks of being convincing performers.

The synopsis sounds good, but I thought it had some shades of Stephen Chow's earlier work King of Comedy, or at least it had opportunities for Jim Chim to act the clown under various circumstances, staged or otherwise. There were plenty of signs in the first 10 minutes that highlight the potential of the offbeat comedy that this could have become (check out that rooftop scene), but alas the narrative got bogged down by too many minor sub plots strung together in quite an episodic manner, which made its almost 120 minute run time seem like 3 hours.

There were too many supporting characters (not the cameos) coming into and going out of the movie, that they serve to frustrate, and developments being picked up and let go faster than you can say "Lights, Camera, Action!". There's the introduction of the supposedly main chief baddie, the drug lord Crazy Sam (whom I'm not going to reveal who plays him as it's a pleasant and hilarious surprise), Man-long's inability and drifting from his longtime girlfriend, the coveted roles of Romeo and Juliet in the school's stage play, and I'm not sure why directors Chang Hing Kai and Patrick Leung decided to bring in Lam Suet for the final act that extends it in quite mediocre terms (read: Unfunny).

It becomes a little too indulgent in having to extol the virtues of good acting, bringing in Eric Tsang to teach the class of pompous, arrogant, pretentious pupils (again, the generalization it makes in the context of comedy). The bulk of it though, remains the interaction between Man-long and fellow classmate Dani Dan (Charlene Choi, one half of the pop group Twins), who's a Mainland Chinese actress in the Category 3 (soft porn) industry, who's looking to improve on her acting chops in order to get herself better roles. But wait, if you're thinking her character will get raunchy, just be reminded that there's nothing more but an artificial, exaggerated enhancement of her assets with the help of a maximizer.

Charlene Choi's chemistry opposite Jim Chim could probably be the best thing in the movie, because in real life, the former's the protege, and it's quite reel mimicking real when you see them sharing experiences and trying their best to excel in their course. But unfortunately, too much of a good thing is harmful, especially when it interferes with pacing, and decides to junk comedy for more drama, dragging on like a never ending television series that seem to plod on.


Nil, despite what the sleeve says about having bundled a Making of feature (unless it's an easter egg so well hidden). There're only 2 trailers bundled which auto starts when the DVD is popped into the player, one being "881" and "Alone". These can be skipped with your "title" key.


Visual transfer is somewhat soft, with some graininess detected in some scenes. Overall still reasonably good, and at worse it may be akin to watching a VCD. While the DVD offers a total of 4 audio formats, 3 of which are Cantonese and 1 Mandarin, the selection of audio format options 3 and 4 (Cantonese DTS and Mandarin 5.1) seemed to be swapped. But no frets and you can toggle the audio option on the fly anyway when your desired audio format doesn't seem to work.



Review by Stefan Shih


Other titles from Scorpio East:

. Ratatouille

. The Invisible

. The Lookout

. Contract Lover

. Bar Paradise

. China Vampire

. Hooked On You

. Who Slept With Her?

. The Jungle Book

. Disney Princess Enchanted Tales

. 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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