TOO COOL TO KILL (这个杀手不太冷静) (2022)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Xing WenXiong
Cast: Ma Li, Wei Xiang, Chen MingHao, Zhou Dayong, Huang Cailun, Ai Lun
Runtime: 1 hr 50 mins
Rating: PG13 (Some Violence)
Released By: mm2 Entertainment
Official Website: 

Opening Day:
 24 February 2022

Synopsis: Wei Cheng Gong (Wei Xiang) was convinced by actress, Mi Lan (Ma Li) to pursuit his acting dream and accidentally got himself into dangerous scam. However, he was lucky to unconsciously apply his convincingly "excellent" acting talent and luck to get himself out of troubles. Eventually, he felt confused when he realised the "acting journey" was just a lie. What should he do?

Movie Review:

Stories about mistaken identities make for great comedy. If done well, the silly setups and the unintentional consequences are bound to make people laugh, and in the process, worry that the lie will fall through. This is very much the essence of this Mainland Chinese comedy which was released in its home country over the Lunar New Year period. Given its fun genre, it was no wonder the film made a healthy profit during the festive season.

A remake of The Magic Hour, a 2008 Japanese movie directed by Kōki Mitani, this Chinese version does a decent job of keeping viewers entertained for 110 minutes. The protagonist is Wei Cheng Gong (Wei Xiang in a role that’s easy to like), a struggling actor who has been playing extras in movies. The literal Chinese translation of the character’s name means “yet to succeed”, which pretty much sums up his showbiz career.

When an established actress Milan (Ma Li channeling effortless charm) and her director brother Miller (Ai Lun) get into trouble with mobsters, the duo come up with an ingenious plan to get Cheng Gong to pretend to be a legendary hitman, convincing him that it is part of a blockbuster that requires him to give the performance of his life.

And you can expect the kinds of sequences that follow – with Cheng Gong committed to his role as a vicious hitman (cue exaggerated expressions that we often see in gangster movies), while Milan and Miller trying hard to not blow their cover by pretending that every real life situation (with real guns!) is a movie set. It is amusing to watch the scenes play out as you wonder when Cheng Gong will realise he is part of a big con job (and you know it will eventually happen).

The actors play their characters well, and thanks to the well paced editing, there are enough funny scenes throughout the movie to keep viewers engaged. There are a number of laugh out loud moments, when Cheng Gong takes his ‘performance’ so seriously, and the rest of the characters have to keep up without the antagonists finding out. Those familiar with how movies are filmed will identify with these sequences, as you chuckle at how Cheng Gong is obsessed with close up shots (so that he can show off his ‘acting’) and wondering why there is no need for second takes. The use of green screens in many movies now is also made fun of.

Amidst the laughs, there Is also a heartwarming sequence involving Cheng Gong’s parents who are ecstatic about their son’s big break acting opposite Milan. As the scene progresses, a nice twist happens and you’ll be reminded of the noble role our parents play in our lives.

The movie also celebrates filmmaking, and not just in the form of inspired scenes of John Woo films, Western spaghetti flicks and the iconic sequence in Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen’s Singing in the Rain (1952). How Cheng Gong is told to improvise his role without a script, and how he will not see the production crew, is possibly a thing for many actors now as they take on what some may deem as method acting. And it is possibly widely accepted now too, and may even win actors some awards. 

Movie Rating:

(An enjoyable and agreeable comedy that is high on laughs)

Review by John Li

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