12 GOLDEN DUCKS (12金鸭) (2015)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Matt Chow
Cast: Sandra Ng, Louis Koo
RunTime: 1 hr 23 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Sexual References)
Released By: Shaw & Clover Films
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 19 February 2015

Synopsis: Chow Sum knows the art of wooing and pleasing the ladies since young. He lives off his female companions and leads a lavish lifestyle. Things are good until he is cheated by an ex-love. Soon, Sum ends up with a huge debt and flees to Thailand. Desperate and without any support in Thailand, he ends up working as an escort in a bar. Unwilling to live his life in the limbo in a foreign land, Sum summons his courage and looks set to work his mojo upon returning to Hong Kong!

Movie Review:

Louis Koo, Nicholas Tse, Simon Yam, Joey Yung, Anthony Wong, Vicki Zhao, Eason Chan, Chrissie Chau, Michelle Chen, Dada Chen, Joyce Cheng, Fiona Sit, Isabella Leong.

If you are a fan of any of the abovementioned celebrities, you wouldn’t mind catching this Lunar New Year movie directed by Matt Chow, which happens to be the one with the highest classification rating amongst the lot. Rated NC16 (Sexual References), this is a spin off from the popular Golden Chicken franchise where the very hardworking Sandra Ng plays Kam, a prostitute with a heart of gold.

From what we’ve been reading, Ng has many friends in Hong Kong showbiz, which explains why you’ll be served with a generous serving of cameos in this movie. Koo is a hunky gym trainer, Tse is a suave businessman, Wong is a magnanimous gentleman and Chan is a lecherous hairdresser.

Not that these characters matter, because the star here is obviously Ng, who plays a gigolo named Future (really?) who had his way with women during his younger days. When his charisma fails him in the economic downturn, it is up to him to lead a motley crew of three other gigolos (played by Philip Keung, Wilfred Lau and Babyjohn Choi) to tease and entertain their female clients.

Whoever came up with the concept for Ng to play a man should be given credit for, err, arousing attention. Complete with a prosthetic chest and sculpted abs, the veteran Hong Kong actress pulls off the role well. Seeing Future strut his stuff on the big screen is enough to draw guffaws. In fact, as the 83 minute movie progresses, this reviewer found it a little disturbing to repeatedly see Ng’s (realistically made) manly torso and nipples. Film festival juries, please take note to give the makeup team some credit during the award season.

While the previous Golden Chicken movies (2002’s Golden Chicken, 2003’s Golden Chicken 2, 2014’s Golden Chickensss) had an impressive dosage of heart, the filmmakers seem to be more focused on playing up slapstick jokes and exaggerated performances. The movie also suffers in the “lost in translation” department, like many other Hong Kong movies which would be better appreciated in their original Cantonese dialogue.

While this movie doesn’t touch the heart, standout performances come from Ivana Wong (it’s still quite difficult to understand how a hilarious performer started out in the industry as a singer with an angelic voice) as a Thai speaking mama san for gigolos, as well as veteran actor Lo Hoi Pang as a gigolo who compares himself with heartthrob Eddie Peng. It’s also heartening to see Yam as a retired gigolo who dresses himself up in flashy outfits – fans of Hong Kong cinema would know that in his heydays, the actor was a regular in “duck” movies.

There are a few noteworthy touches in the movie worth mentioning: a homage to Koo and Carmen Lee’s roles as Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nu in Return of the Condor Heroes, a jibe at Hong Kong TV channels TVB and ATV’s viewership ratings and the industry’s obsession with charity shows.      

One doesn’t step into the cinema expecting high art – this comedy does its job to entertain, and it accomplishes its task adequately. 

Movie Rating:

(Sandra Ng and her friends manage to ramp it up to deliver an adequate dosage of fun in this serviceable comedy)

Review by John Li

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