SYNOPSIS: Passion Island - a place where individuals with different goals met, weaving colorful stories as their paths intertwined…Simon and Johanna divorced years ago, citing different values and goals in life. Johanna, an environmentalist believes Simon is brewing something vicious at the expense of the environment and return to Passion Island to disrupt his project; Yu is working hard to revive the love between him and his estranged wife, Feli. Their relationship deteriorated ever since Feli met with a serious accident, making her paralyzed from waist down, crushing her dancing career. Yu is adamant to mend their differences through this vacation in Passion Island; Jennes is a lovely guide addicted to dramas, and one could call her a hopeless romantic. Sparks flew when she met Chuell, a Korean in Passion Island trying to make sense of an incident that involved his missing car…
There is a purple weed that grows on the titular ‘Passion Island’ which features in the narrative. The weed is apparently some form of hallucinogen, and concern enough for some Environmental Protection Agency to send an undercover agent named Joanna (Joan Chen) to investigate it. Of course, there’s also the fact that Joanna used to be married to the owner of the island, Simon (Simon Yam). Such a fantastical concept requires the right dexterity for execution; unfortunately, director and co-writer Kam Kwok Leung has none of that, so much so that what results is akin to a train wreck, or in this context, a beached whale.
Yes, among the other stupid things that happen, the beaching of a whale and the consequent stir it causes for the denizens of the island counts as one of the worst. Add to that some purple mist from the said plant, a Korean looking for his missing car and you get one of the worst movies of the year, an utterly incomprehensible, perfectly understandable reason to release a whole string of expletives. We’re not even going to give Kam the benefit of the doubt that he was attempting some meta-fiction or perhaps a rare fantasy movie for the Chinese movie industry; there is no way to explain away the sheer awfulness of his film.
The only thing we are keen to find out is how Kam managed to persuade some of the finest actors and actresses of Chinese cinema to participate in this turd. Indeed, just what possessed Simon to ham it up as the self-absorbed owner of the island, prancing around in his laire without the decency of pants. Just what came over Joan Chen to return to the big screen playing a spiteful ex-wife that makes a transformation akin to a giggly teenager in the throes of puppy love? Or what about Francis Ng, who acts as a hapless lover to Fan Li’s frustrated paraplegic eager to get her hands on that purple weed as a possible cure? Worse and worst of all is Chang Chen’s faux Korean-star act, an utterly worthless addition to his resume that requires him to act pouty and petulant most of the time?
Don’t even get us started on the plot or the storytelling for that matter – the former is non-existent and the latter inexplicable, the whole movie consisting of a series of loosely connected characters in random scenarios conceived with the coherence of a toddler’s babbling. For all its impressions of being a fun romantic comedy-drama set in some sunny tropical island, the experience of visiting ‘Passion Island’ is a unique kind of torture we’d never wish on anyone. Skip this one entirely, and file this as one of the biggest misfires of the year, reason enough to never let Kam Kwok Leung – his status as some kind of cultural figure be damned – never make another film yet again.
Just a Photo Gallery and an equally godawful Trailer.
The Dolby Digital 2.0 audio does a decent delivery of the dialogue, while visuals are clear but not often sharp enough.
DVD RATING :
Review by Gabriel Chong