Director: Tian Yusheng
Cast: Peng Yuchang, Wang Talu, Wei Daxun, Zeng Mengxue
Runtime: 1 hr 47 mins
Released By: mm2 Entertainment
Opening Day: 26 September 2019
Synopsis: Gao Yuan (Peng Yuchang), a high school student, diagnoses with muscular dystrophy and learns that his life is running out of days. He decides to achieve his only wish of being a true man before he dies. Knowing that, his best friends, Xu Hao (Wang Talu) and Zhang Zhengyang (Wei Daxun), struggle to make Gao Yuan’s last wish come true.
This is an odd movie about friendship. We are introduced to three dudes who became best friends because of their love for basketball. One of them becomes unwell and is bed bound. It turns out that he is suffering from muscular dystrophy and, well, won’t have much time to live. Sounds like a melodrama? Wait till you hear what happens along the way.
There is this scene with him lying on the hospital bed while the camera moves from his head down. We were expecting to see him waking up from a wet dream. Luckily for us, he only wetted the bed, signifying that this movie won’t go into anything too raunchy. We still weren’t quite sure what direction this is going to head.
Enter the sick guy’s parents, who, of course, want the nothing but the best for their son. The father sees a documentary on TV and comes up with a wild idea of strapping his son to his back while running marathon. As you’d expect, things don’t end in a happy state and there is this sequence when the boy is stuck in a drain. This becomes a piece of sensational news. Yet, we don’t feel anything tearjerking about this. It feels strangely like a comedy, considering how the film is progressing.
Need more examples of why this Mainland Chinese production feels weird? The two healthy friends want to fulfil a promise of going to the beach with their sick buddy. After some heartwarming moments with a traffic police who helped pave the way, the three guys find themselves in the waters and alas, the unwell one drifts away. The scene plays out like a gag, which feels a little inappropriate.
If you are wondering, it doesn’t stop there. The 107 minute movie goes on with a series of plot developments which turn out like a series of oddball gags. It involves the two friends trying to get a girlfriend for their buddy who wants to experience falling in love. This forms the basis of the movie, and while the extent they go to get a girl is impressive, the situations are goofy more than anything.
When the movie finally gets serious, it works. There is a extended scene where you hear the dying character’s voiceover and you may shed a few tears reflecting on how the loved ones in your life are perhaps the very reason you stay alive. The closing sequence of real life friends also brings the movie to an apt conclusion.
This might have been a more engaging viewing experience if the jokes didn’t feel out of the place. And if the main cast of Peng Yuchang (he is endearing enough to carry off the main role though), Wang Talu (he tries to emote in some scenes, but they don’t work very well) and Wei Daxun (his curly hairdo and slapstick acting is a tad distracting) didn’t seem like they were having too much fun on set.
(If you aren’t distracted by the bag of oddball gags, this is actually a heartwarming tale about the things you’d do for friends)
Review by John Li