Kang is a spoilt and rebellious city kid. When Kang's
mother travels overseas and leaves him with her father, Old
Mo, Kang is quick to come into conflict with his old-fashioned
grandfather and his shabby living conditions.
No matter how spoilt and unreasonable Kang is, Old Mo remains
forgiving and patient. Through his grandfather's boundless
patience and devotion, Kang learns to embrace humility and
cement the unyielding bond between grandfather and grandchild...by
fulfilling a long forgotten regret of Old Mo.
Before we start, let’s get the facts right. "A
Promise" is a telemovie so don’t go expecting fancy
editing, sound mix and cinematography. In other words, technically
speaking, it’s similar to those Mediacorp television
serials you watch every night.
veteran actor Chen Shu Cheng is Old Mo, an elderly man whose
estranged daughter left her only son, Xiao Kang under the
care of Mo when she has to travel overseas. But Kang is a
typical city kid, he plays Nintendo, feeds on fast food and
watches not just TV but cable TV. How can you expect him to
live with Mo in a small smelly flat whose diet consists nothing
but plain porridge with fermented toufu and peanuts.
structure of "A Promise" is lifted ungraciously
from an acclaimed 2002 Korean movie, "The Way Home".
In the latter, a spoilt kid is left under the care of his
grandmother who resides in the countryside. The movie explores
several aspects of life including unconditional love, filial
piety among others which most of us pathetically has forgotten
over the years.
Promise" tries to duplicate the magic while it never
really achieved what "The Way Home" does, the performances
from Chen Shu Cheng and Scott Hillyard (Xiao Kang) is what
makes the whole telemovie work. Hillyard who crafts his acting
career at a young age in countless of Kids Central productions
is a natural as the spoilt Kang. The craggy-looking Chen and
Hillyard carve a love-hate relationship in this 80 minutes
feature and impresses with a lively banter about 'dust' at
the beginning of the movie to prove their chemistry onscreen.
there’s a melancholy subplot of Mo’s unrequited
puppy love which really drags the show and comes with a cheesy
Hokkien theme song that keeps playing in the background whenever
the narrative surfaces.
given a better polish with deeper character developments,
"A Promise" should warm your heartstrings but the
scuttle ending sadly makes it a forgettable event. Aunties
and uncles who are accustomed to their daily dose of television
serials shouldn’t have problem lapping this up. There
is worse stuff on television.
The DVD comes with 3 minutes of NG shots
and a photo gallery which is accompanied
with the Hokkien theme song yet again.
a decent video and sound transfer, the DVD comes with the
original Mandarin track and English, Chinese subtitles.
Review by Linus Tee