GANGSTER PAY DAY DVD (大茶饭) (2014)
SYNOPSIS: Kwai, the ex-gang boss and his sworn brother Leung run some downcast small business to live a down-to-earth life. The situation is worsened when his sauna and karaoke parlor are successively provoked and threatened by his former gang brother, Bill who's now working as a hatchet man for a real estate company. On Kwai's mother's funeral day, Kwai got stuck in a traffic jam. Then he walks into a tea cafe where he meets Mei who'll be another important woman in his life. Kwai can't get her away from his mind every day. So he then starts to crazily court her. Coincidentally, Bill and his men show up again as he must also see to the forced removal of Mei's tea cafe. Kwai leads his gang to fight back Bill's intrusion. When it seems to everyone that Mei could be esteemed as Kwai's girlfriend. Mei finally reveals a secret that she has known Leung earlier and Leung is the one she loves. Kwai decides to step down and wish them happiness. However Bill mistakingly kills Leung in order to claim the tea cafe. It completely ignites Kwai's revenge. He swears to start a gang war on Bill at all costs.
Despite having an intimidating Anthony Wong and equally scary character actors Chan Wai Mun and Ng Chi Hung in this triad theme drama, Gangster Pay Day ends up pretty much a mild, nostalgic nod to the old days of Hong Kong cinema rather than an all-out violent gangster flick.
Ex-triad boss Ghost (Anthony Wong) and his buddies, Uncle Two (Chan) and B (Ng) runs a karaoke bar and massage parlor for a living. While it’s decent living, business is slow and Ghost’s young protégé, Leung (Wong You Nam) proposes to look into other business ventures. At the same time, Ghost’s cousin Bill (Philip Keung) offers to sell drugs on his premise and suggesting to him to give up his properties to make way for a real estate development creating unnecessary problems for the retired Ghost.
It might seems like bloodshed is about to erupt at any point of time but director Lee Po Cheung and his fellow scriptwriter Lily He prefers to craft a heartwarming, occasionally funny story about true love and retired triad members. On an impulse visit to a tea house, Ghost is mesmerized by the young owner, Mei (Charlene Choi) and thus the movie spent a good hour depicting Ghost’s clumsy attempt in wooing Mei with Uncle Two and B trying their hands at making pineapple buns no less.
Although it’s kind of wrong in having Anthony Wong wooing Charlene Choi (the former is old enough to be Choi’s father in real-life), the results are often entertaining and comedic. Veteran acclaimed actress Carrie Ng even appears as Ghost’s trusty ex-wife, Pui making the entire viewing experience even easier. If there’s one actress that really surprises us this time, it’s pop star Charlene Choi who shed her usual cutesy bubbly image to play a subdued tea owner who is pressured to take over the shop from her dying father and balancing her romance with the troubled Leung.
The tone of the movie only starts to turn somber and serious in the last twenty minutes or so however I’m not going to spoil things for you. Let’s just say things expectedly don’t really turn up well for Bill. In the end, Gangster Pay Day makes for a comfortable, relaxed watch even the first few opening minutes feature a character getting his head smashed by endless wine bottles. Apparently the movie makes us crave for more adventures of Anthony Wong and his followers and of course, pineapple buns and egg tarts.
Both the DVD visual and audio function liked a mild TV feature. If you can’t stomach such weak technical specs, then this title might not be your cup of tea.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee