Publicity Stills of "My Kungfu Sweetheart"
(Courtesy from Eng Wah)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Wong Jing
Starring: Cecilia Cheung, Leo Ku, Yuen Wah, Yuen Qiu
RunTime: TBA
Released By: Eng Wah
Rating: PG

Opening Day: 29 January 2006

Synopsis :

Weaned on tales of Kung Fu Masters and villainous fighters, young Phoebe, never expected her parents to be members of the legendary Kung Fu Academy, located on Cloud Mountain. The startling revelation occurred on the night an assassination attempt was made on her life. Determined to be like her parents, she enrolls in the Academy.

She graduates several years later, and assumes a life of normalcy with a corporate job at Lams’ Corporation. Here, she befriends Dragon. At a meeting with Lam’s Corporation’s business rivals, a massacre occurs. The business rivals turn out to be the villianous traitor of the Academy, Mr White (aka White Eyebrows) and his henchmen. Dragon escapes severely hurt. Phoebe takes him to the Academy for treatment. The Academy’s 18 Golden Warriors heals him, and imparts martial skills to him. Together with Phoebe, and her parents, they defeat White Eyebrows with their newly acquired skills, “True Love Kung Fu”.

Movie Review:

No, there wasn't any lion dance sequence in My Kung Fu Sweetheart as the poster suggested, but there sure was one cheesy human-sized condor, the same one that accompanied Yang Guo and Little Dragon Girl from Return of the Condor Heroes.

Welcome to the fantasy martial arts world of (in)famous Hong Kong director Wong Jing, who has, in the 80s and 90s, brought to us many "Mo Lei Tao" (nonsensical) movies, and have collaborated with Stephen Chow in many of his earlier comedic outings, fueled with countless sexual innuendos.

With the sex obviously toned down (there are still some recreated for cheap laughs), Wong Jing seemed to have lost his Midas Touch, and the first 10 minutes of the film somewhat resembled a cross between Mortal Kombat and the recent Sky High.

Reuniting Yuen Wah and Yuen Qiu after their successful outing in Stephen Chow's Kung Fu, here they play a married couple, who in secret are highly skilled martial arts exponents. When their daughter Phoenix (Cecilia Cheung) has matured, they bring her to Hua Mountain to have her train at the Kung Fu Academy. There she meets other martial arts experts, while discovering the roots of an evil exponent called Pai Mei ("White Eyebrows"). In the spirit of competitiveness, she makes a mortal "enemy" in another student called Rouge.

Anyway, it's Mo Lei Tao galore as she graduates from the Academy, goes back to Hong Kong, and lives life as a mousy secretary, falling in love with her manager Dragon (played by Leo Ku), while trying to reconcile her feuding parents - Yuen Wah and Yuen Qiu bringing back their chemistry here. And as always, every character will be related to every other character, as
we go one big round to the inevitable final showdown.

Those who are not weaned on martial arts stories might find it a challenge to understand the jokes, especially since those stories provide the fuel for the laughs, ranging from the ridiculous looking condor, to the essence of the martial arts manual. Even the characters' names are not spared, with two renowned writers Louis Cha and Gu Long thrown into the mix as well.

But it's a Wong Jing movie, so plot (what plot?) doesn't really matter as scenes are made up and stuck together, that they don't flow or make logical sense anyhow. And yes, toilets do make an appearance, you can never discount that. However, it's lacking the punch in the delivery of its punchlines, probably because most scenes seemed contrived, or the current batch of actors can't match up with those from the good old days, and maybe since it's dubbed in Mandarin
too that some jokes were found wanting.

No doubt it says "Kung Fu" in its title, don't expect any ground-breaking action sequences or effects to spruce up the fights. But if you prefer something light-hearted from the usual actioners like Fearless, or none too melodramatic moments from local fare I Not Stupid Too, then perhaps this movie might serve as your alternative this festive season.

And as always, the director will cast himself as a minor character amongst many other throw-away characters in the movie. See if you can spot him!

Movie Rating:

(Good for sporadic laughs, but serves more as a nostalgic trip down memory lane on the potential of what a good Wong Jing flick can bring.)

Review by Stefan Shih


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