Director: Wong Hing Fan
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Miriam Yeung, Alex Man, Cheung Tat Ming, Nina Paw, Cya Liu, Zeno Koo, Kathy Wu, Gaga Wong
Runtime: 1 hr 54 mins
Rating: PG13 (Smoking Scenes)
Released By: Golden Village Pictures and Clover Films
Opening Day: 17 September 2020
Synopsis: Once a star in his finance firm, Bowen (starring Aaron KWOK) now spends his nights in a 24-hour fast food joint, where he encounters other "roommates" who are in a similar predicament: a mother (starring Cya LIU) with her daughter who has taken out high-interest loans to cover her mother-in-law's debt, an old man (starring Alex MAN) who is too afraid to go home, a young runaway (starring Zeno KOO), a young singer (starring Miriam YEUNG) living in a temporary shelter. Together these accidental roommates must strive to lift one another out of rock bottom.
This reviewer is probably not wrong to say that most guys would yearn to be like 54 year old Aaron Kwok. Not only does he sing and dance like he is in his twenties, he is also an award winning actor.
Not too long ago, this writer rewatched The Storm Riders (1998) starring Kwok as the ultra dashing Striding Cloud. It is nice to see how he has improved by leaps and bounds in acting, while maintaining his suaveness. In the last two decades, the artiste has won numerous acting awards. His performances in movies like Divergence (2005), After This Our Exile (2006) and Port of Call (2015) have been recognised at the Golden Horse Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards.
This debut feature film by Wong Hing Fan is clearly an acting showcase for Kwok. He plays Bowen, a high rolling finance executive who was imprisoned for embezzlement. After getting out of jail, he is too ashamed to go home to his ill mother and long suffering sister. Instead, he joins a group of homeless people who spend their nights in 24 hour fast food restaurants. The 114 minute film explores their sad stories, and sees how Bowen tries to keep everyone’s fighting spirits up.
Beneath Bowen’s moustache, goatee and untidy hair, we know there is a very good looking man in the form of Kwok. The actor gives it his all in this movie, and you can feel that the character is all out to ensure the survival of his friends. He seeks employment for the jobless, buys toys to cheer a little kid up, and is always there to listen to others’ troubles. As life’s harsh realities go, you know his kindness may not result in a happy ending.
Elsewhere, the ensemble cast also delivers impressive performances. There is an underpaid nightclub singer (Miriam Yeung) who has a heart of gold, a pitiful widow (Cya Liu) who works non stop to pay her nasty mother in law’s debts, her young daughter who has the least worries compared to the adults, an old man (Alex Man) who sits in the fast food restaurant pinning for his dead wife’s return, a teenager (Zeno Koo) who ran away from home, and a chatty caricature artist (Cheung Tat Ming who won a Best Supporting Actor at the recent Hong Kong Film Awards) whose greed gets in the way of an honest living.
While some actors get more screen time in this drama, everyone scores in Wong’s impressive direction. You’ll feel for all of them, and be thankful for what you have in life. The story is based on Hong Kong’s “McRefugees”, homeless people sleeping in 24 hour McDonald’s joints. Besides free bento boxes for the less fortunate, they also get food stocked by others in refrigerators which are situated on the streets. They shower in public toilets, and take on odd jobs in the wee hours of the morning to get more income. This is the perfect setup for a melodrama, and there are several bleak moments in the movie which may get your tear ducts leaking.
The title of the movie is a play on the fast food restaurant’s jingle “I’m Lovin’ It” – another point worth pondering is why McDonald’s did not endorse this movie. In any case, Wong has delivered a heartfelt piece of work showcasing some of the best performances in Hong Kong cinema.
(This emotionally charged Hong Kong movie showcases impressive performances by the ensemble cast, and may leave you reflecting on the struggles faced by those less fortunate than us)
Review by John Li