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The Private Eye Blues
Chinese: 非常偵探
Jacky Cheung negotiates in The Private Eye Blues
Year: 1994
Director: Eddie Fong Ling-Ching
Producer: Teddy Robin
Action: Dion Lam Dik-On, Pang Bei-Lei
Cast: Jacky Cheung Hok-Yau, Kathy Chow Hoi-Mei, Mavis Fan Hsiao-Shuan, Chan Fai-Hung, Wong Tin-Lam, Chin Ho, Bat Leung-Gum
The Skinny: Off-kilter detective thriller/comedy with a terrific star performance from Jacky Cheung, who makes a convincingly downtrodden detective.
by Kozo:

Offbeat and decidedly different, this talky thriller is a genuinely enjoyable Hong Kong film with a moody star performance from Jacky Cheung. He’s a down-and-out PI who tails a runaway girl from Mainland China. Little does he know that she’s an ESP project from the state and her absence is making the higher-ups mighty nervous. Problems arise when she goes officially missing. Everything goes to hell as everyone and their brother wants this girl, and is willing to trash Jacky’s apartment, family, and life to find her.

Style-wise, the film is shot with an almost art film-like quality, utilizing single camera set-ups, hand-held camera, long takes, and moody lighting to get across the jaded world of Jacky’s private eye. His performance is spare and perfect for his “stiff-necked” character, and he’s aided by a spunky, obnoxious, yet effective performance from newcomer Fan Hsiao-Shuan, who manages to both steal or doom the picture (depending on your tolerance of spunky ESP types). Kathy Chow turns in effective support as Jacky's estranged wife.

You can tell a lot of thought went into this motion picture. The comedy is deadpan and ironic, and director Eddie Fong relies more on his actors than cutting or montage to get his message across. The ultimate tone of the film is sardonic, and the sly references to 1997 are funny too. However, when the end rolls around, the filmmakers try to do too much in too little time, with mixed results. The film manages to pack a sad AND a happy ending in; such emotional dexterity only risks audience alienation. Still, this is definitely a worthy watch for its cool style and uncommon storytelling. (Kozo 1995/1997)


image courtesy of Fitto Mobile Laser Co., Ltd. Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen