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  Publicity Stills of "Ming Ming"
(Courtesy from GV)

Genre: Drama
Director: Susie Au
Cast: Zhou Xun, Daniel Wu, Tony Yang and Jeff Chang
RunTime: 1 hr 46 mins
Released By: GVP
Rating: TBA
Official Website: http://www.mingmingthemovie.com/

Opening Day: 26 April 2007

Synopsis :

Ming Ming is a 21st century matial arts princess and lady Robin Hood who steals for love. Her Prince Charming is D, a maverick fighter and irresistible rogue who posted his challenge to his swarms of female admirers – give him 5 million dollars and he’ll run away with his benefactress.

Ming Ming loses no time to rob Underworld boss Cat. While fleeing from Cat’s henchmen, Ming Ming runs into Nana. Not only is Nana a virtual look-alike of Ming Ming, she is also one of D’s girlfriends. Ming Ming makes Nana the scapegoat for her theft. However, Ming Ming’s secret admirer Tu mistakes Nana for her, and becomes her guardian angel.

Just as this identity mix-up is taking place, D disappears from Shanghai without a trace. The only clue he leaves behind is a cryptic phone message. The two girls search all four corners of the sprawling city but are left dismayed and disappointed. Even more dejected is Tu, who realizes that he means nothing to his goddess.

As the four lost souls weave in and out of each other’s lives in the maze-like metropolis, the dark forces of Cat are closing in on them.

Movie Review:

When the first couple walks out of the theatre 20 minutes into the movie, you start to wonder whether there is anything wrong with it. When the second couple walks out of the theatre 20 minutes later, you begin to wonder whether you should give this Hong Kong production the benefit of the doubt.

When the next couple walks out another 20 minutes later, you know your judgment is affirmed.

The plot is almost a dead giveaway that this movie will not go down well with the mainstream audience. The female protagonist Ming Ming is a “martial arts princess” who shoots marbles to injure her opponents. Yes, you read correctly: marbles.

The cool fighter meets her prince charming who tells her that he will run off to Harbin with anyone who can give him 5 million dollars. Yes, you read correctly: Harbin.

So begins Ming Ming’s quest to rob 5 million dollars to be with the man of her dreams. Along the way, she meets a mysteriously effeminate baddie, a girl who looks exactly like her (it’s the same actress with a different wig, silly), and a hoard of other inconsequential characters.

To be fair, Mainland actress Zhou Xun does make the show bearable, but unfortunately only to a certain extent. The glowing Golden Horse and Hong Kong International Film Festival winner displays a coolness that makes us want to believe in the fantastical virtual world that is presented on screen. Her throaty accent, her confident swagger and her ice-cold look – these are the best parts of the 106-minute movie.

The rest of it is a self-indulgent visual piece that begs you to gape in awe at its technically-impressive fast-paced editing.

Director Susie Au may be a veteran music video director, but seeing flashy effects and showy camerawork cannot quite sustain the film’s credibility. It also does not help that the Au’s script (co-written with Angela Lau and Louisa Wei) is pompously constructed, with the ostentatious voiceover narrations that do not engage nor touch viewers in any way.

What a pity then, considering that the movie features some capable actors, ranging from the brooding Daniel Wu as the Prince Charming, the youthful Tony Yang as an accomplice on the run, the creepy Jeff Chang as a villain with a past and the gorgeous Kristy Yang as, well, a Shanghai woman whose role can be removed without affecting the plot.

So, what’s left of this film which had great potential to excite the Hong Kong filmmaking scene?

Sadly, there’s only the beautiful Zhou, and whoever’s left in the theatre one hour into the movie.

Movie Rating:

(Even the luminous Zhou Xun cannot save this prolonged MTV from being one of the most pretentious Hong Kong productions ever)

Review by John Li

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