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Looking for Mr. Perfect
"Wait a minute...I know this chick from The Transporter."

Mr. and Miss Perfect: Andy On and Shu Qi in Looking for Mr. Perfect.
Chinese: 奇逢敵手  
Year: 2003  
Director: Ringo Lam Ling-Tung  
Producer: Johnnie To Kei-Fung  
Action: Li Chung-Chi  
Cast: Shu Qi, Andy On Chi-Kit, Simon Yam Tat-Wah, Lam Suet, Chapman To Man-Chat, Isabel Chan Yat-Ning, Raymond Wong Ho-Yin, Hui Siu-Hung, Ruby Wong Cheuk-Ling, David Wu, Crystal Tin Yui-Lei, Lai Yiu-Cheung
The Skinny: This action-comedy from the usually dour Ringo Lam is unrepentantly silly and surprisingly entertaining. Looking for Mr. Perfect is far from perfect cinema, but its got enough playfulness and panache to make for some fun time-killing.
by Kozo:

Ringo Lam switches gears with Looking for Mr. Perfect, an action-comedy that's as far from his celebrated crime thrillers as you could possible imagine. Instead of the usual cop-criminal dichotomy and male bonding rituals, we get mistaken identity, silly sound effects and Simon Yam as a Celtic-dancing bad guy. You heard that correctly: Yam plays a purple-suited bad guy who makes like The Lord of the Dance before unloading with a flurry of semi-acrobatic kung-fu kicks and assorted fruit throwing antics. That's right, he throws fruit too. It's that kind of movie.

Shu Qi stars as Grace, a Hong Kong cop who longs to meet the perfect guy. Unfortunately, her current romantic status consists of two sparring suitors (including Raymond Wong Ho-Yin) who comically attempt to one up each other. Grace keeps them both on a string, but isn't really enamored with either. Instead, she has a recurring dream of a white-suited Prince Charming, who'll arrive out of the supposed ether and sweep her off her feet.

Not coincidentally, Grace does run into a white-suited fellow: Aman, played by Black Mask 2 star Andy On Chi-Kit. They cross paths when she travels to Malaysia with pal Joey (the elfin Isabel Chan), but Aman is more than meets the eye. His real name is Alex, and he's a mercenary-type on assignment. Here's the deal: Alex is investigating Grace and Joey because he suspects that they may be trying to buy a stolen missile guidance system. Here's why: Joey is a model who's in Malaysia to shoot a print ad, and her agent Bobby Chan (Lam Suet) is the broker for the stolen missile system. Here's why it doesn't make much sense: Grace and Joey spend all their time acting like boy-crazy young chicks and NOT international terrorists. Still, Alex and his partner (Hui Siu-Hung) decide to make following these girls their chief pastime. Everyone who'd like the same job, please raise your hand.

Before knocking this film for its daffy divergence from reality, it should be noted: this is just a movie. Looking for Mr. Perfect mines the same action-comedy territory as half-a-million other movies of no true consequence. Presumably, we're supposed to take it easy and let photogenic stars, pretty locations, and a modicum of funny stuff make up for the fact that the film has a total absence of narrative, characterization, and actual filmmaking. It's the same devil's bargain that Wong Jing proffers every time he makes a film, except this time it's Ringo Lam asking for your signature and official seal. Should we sell our soul and go along for the ride? Is it even possible?

Surprisingly enough, the answer is yes. Looking for Mr. Perfect will never win any awards, and further scrutiny could only reveal it to be a completely empty cinematic experience. On the other hand, it possesses a breezy charm and a lack of pretension that makes it head and shoulders above something like Summer Holiday. Grace's search for "Mr. Perfect" is actually only a minor factor in the film. Though she longs for her dream guy, her success or failure with that quest never seems to factor into the film's abundance of antics. Occasionally she looks wistful, but never does the camera linger for seven minutes on her pouty lips while some sappy song plays in the background. Nor is there one of those manufactured "break up and make up" sequences where the girl and the guy go their separate ways, only to reunite for a tearfully contrived finale. Oddly, Looking for Mr. Perfect seems to be the wrong title.

So, if the film's not about the search for Mr. Right, what the heck is it about? Well, it's about mixed-up identities, mistaken sexuality, wacky sound effects and over-the-top antics. Simon Yam is Poon, the nominal bad guy of the piece, who dances up a storm every time he's about to fight someone. Alex is an acrobatic mercenary-type who uses casual athleticism and his beefy physique to beat the bad guys and charm the ladies. Grace's two weirdo suitors follow her to Malaysia, and she also bumps into her informer Chapman To, who's in Malaysia to pick some pockets. Joey gets all misty over her new boss David Wu. And, Alex engages in a tag-team kung-fu fight with Poon and his moll (a quiet Ruby Wong), where fruit, umbrellas, portable artillery and the soundtrack to La Bamba come into play. This is one weird movie.

But it's also a pretty amusing one. Unlike Wong Jing, Ringo Lam doesn't forcefully shove the comedy and hijinks down your throat. He handles things in an effectively mellow way that's playful, if not a little too silly. The stars range between photogenic and amusing, and Shu Qi displays enough requisite sex appeal to entertain the masses. Even the rocklike Andy On is blandly likable. And the fight sequences have enough offhand panache and fun energy to compensate for their essential silliness. By the time Looking for Mr. Perfect is all over, it'll either win you over with its screwball likability, or lose you with its over-the-top antics and occasionally too-cloying cuteness. This is one lightweight movie, and in no way qualifies as a must-see experience. But it isn't really crap, either. (Kozo 2003)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
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image courtesy of Mei Ah Entertainment Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen