ROB N ROLL (临时劫案) (2024)

Genre: Crime/Comedy
Director: Albert Mak
Cast: Aaron Kwok, Lam Ka Tung, Richie Jenn, Cheung Ho Yee, Lam Suet, John Chiang, Loi Hoi-pang, Nina Paw, Nancy Wu, Michael Wong, Paulyn Sun, Calvert Fu, Leung Chung-hang, John Chiang, Jr
Runtime: 1 hr 38 mins
Rating: NC16 (Some Violence)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 8 February 2024

Synopsis: Two perplexed middle-aged losers, Robby (LAM Ka Tung) and Fai (Richie JEN) are good friends. Fai is an honest man. His wife left him with an elderly home business. Fai has tried very hard to keep it running until the owner increases the rent crustily. Taxi driver Robby, who is timid and unreliable, always neglects the conflicts between his mother and his wife. Robby always lives paycheck to paycheck without a financial plan, so he is at a loss what to do. Two robberies involving the money exchange stores across the street encourage Robby and Fai to get a gun and rob the same. It is a destiny to meet the ruthless bandit Mui (Aaron KWOK), who acts wicked, scheming and chivalrous. 

Movie Review:

Even before you watch the movie, a bucktoothed Aaron Kwok is going to first capture your attention regardless from the poster or promotional trailers, a far cry from his usual suave, charming self. Yes, the Heavenly King might be known for his good looks and slick dance moves but in Rob N Roll, his performance as a robber and professional wrestler from a certain Southeast Asian country will leave you gasping for more.

Kwok plays Brother Tin, a vicious robber who tries to escape the police after a major heist in temple street. Unfortunately, his henchman lost a bag of loot after encountering some patrol policemen. The bag of money happens to land inside the boot of a taxi belonging to Robby (Gordon Lam), a down-and-out taxi driver who has a long list of financial and domestic issues.

Before that, Robby’s buddy, Fai (Richie Jen) approached him to stage a robbery in order to raise money for his debt-ridden nursing home. And thus the two buddies ended up trying to buy a gun from a bumbling man played by Lam Suet. Tin on the other hand has to find the loot in order to repay his debts to a middleman nicknamed Uncle Shrimp (veteran John Chiang). While the whole fiasco is going on, a tough policewoman (Maggie Cheung Ho-yee) and her partner is hot on the heels of Tin.

Despite the overly busy narrative and numerous characters, assistant director turned director Albert Mak manages to keep things flowing seamlessly and thoroughly engaging. It’s not just a simple plot of retrieving some missing stolen cash or a brotherly love affair between Robby and Fai or a rousing action police and robbers flick. The truth happens to be all of the above, nicely packaged and packed in an efficient 98 minutes.

Liked a generous Santa Claus, the screenplay keeps on giving. There’s also a money exchange robber who gets embroiled in the cash grab scheme and Charcoal (played by Michael Wong), a triad boss who gets his finger shot off in a genuinely funny scene.

But nothing can take away the presence of Kwok who commands the screen with his portrayal of the quirky yet ruthless robber. Brother Tin will always expect everyone to say thanks to him and he lives by his code of not letting his buddy suffer if the latter gets shot. These little oddities gave Tin a loveable, memorable edge over the typical villain. Not forgetting the guy has a tragic backstory as well.

In all fairness, Gordon Lam and Richie Jen has their moments as two squabbling buddies struggling to live in the pressurised society. Perhaps there is an eagerness to drop in some social awareness of the poor and suffering but the story keeps falling back to Tin and the two unfortunate friends. Don’t get us wrong though, it’s a good thing by the way.

Strictly speaking, Rob N Roll is not an action flick though it has an explosive, gun-toting prologue. It reminds one of an old Johnny To’s flick with the various, wacky characters but Mak and his screenwriters have no intention to mimic the master filmmaker. On the contrary, this is certainly an exhilarating update to the formulaic Hong Kong Cinema with its excellent casting and storytelling.

Movie Rating:




(With a top-notch performance by Aaron Kwok, Rob N Roll is an enjoyable dark comedy with some guns and robber elements thrown in)

Review by Linus Tee


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