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Summer Dream
Year: 2002 "Yay! We got paid!"
Cheung Tat-Ming and Iris Chai
Director: Aman Cheung Man
Producer: Cheng Pang, Jackie Ma Hok-Ming
Cast: Cheung Tat-Ming, Edmond Leung Hon-Man, Iris Chai Chi-Yiu, Andrea Choi On-Kiu, Carey Yan, Tasha Ho, Tse Hoi-Kin, Tiffany Cheung
The Skinny: As exciting as a dull pain in your lower back, and probably half as much fun. This movie will not stem my aversion to direct-to-video Hong Kong films.
by Kozo:
     Watching your tires get rotated would be a helluva time compared to the ultra-fluffy direct-to-video snoozer Summer Dream. Lung (Cheung Tat-Ming), Foo (Edmond Leung) and Pau (Carey Yan) are three out-of-work buddies who journey to Thailand to get some much needed R-and-R, presumably from the unemployment line. Right away they get their money lifted, which leads them to a cheapo hotel that costs 450 baht a night. Luckily, there are also four relatively attractive Hong Kong females staying there, which means potential booty for our boys.
    Sadly, the film posits a facsimile of reality, meaning that the guys need money to woo the females. To that end, they enlist the help of Kung (Iris Chai), a Thailand-born Chinese who works as a cleaning lady. She helps by getting them odd jobs, leading to the possibly fatal sight of Cheung Tat-Ming and Edmond Leung pole dancing in a Thai go-go bar. Luckily, our heroes are able to charm the ladies, which seems as likely as the Los Angeles Clippers winning an NBA Championship. Kung also falls for Lung, creating the inevitable heart-tugging conflict of who Lung will choose: Andrea Choi or Iris Chai. Considering that Lung is played by Cheung Tat-Ming, you'd think that he'd be grateful simply to have a choice.
     Former Wong Jing crony Aman Cheung directed this mist, which I would love to say is on video because of a low budget. Wrong. This movie is on video because it's not worth the necessary cost to put on film. Thanks to video, the crew can consist of five people, with one person doing multiple duty as sound man, caterer and fluffer, and even then they were wasting their money. This is one incredibly lackluster flick, and features a story that couldn't qualify as a summer camp skit, let alone an actual feature film. At seventy-seven minutes, it's already well below feature length, and this is with many long, drawn-out sequences of people frolicking in the surf, riding jetskis, or pole dancing in go-go bars. Yes, the pole-dancing sequence goes on for way too long, which could threaten your eyesight and/or future prospects of having a family. There's also a sidetrip to a Thai boxing match, where Edmond Leung attempts to win some cash by taking on somebody smaller and presumably less famous than he is. It's a Hong Kong Cinema lover's paradise.
    There are one or two moments when Cheung Tat-Ming appears to act, which is only noteworthy because I'm searching for something positive to say. It's sad that a direct-to-video film earns such scorn, but it'd be near-impossible to see this film for anything other than what it is: unnecessary. With nonexistent acting, no discernible creativity, and insipid romantic subplots, you can't really say anything else. One day, there will hopefully be a Hong Kong direct-to-video production that was created due to a necessary low budget. That film will have an excellent script, a noticeable heart, and be worthy of some consideration due to its laudable creativity. With that film, a director will be discovered who actually tries to tell new and exciting stories. That director will not be named Aman Cheung, and the movie will not be called Summer Dream. (Kozo 2003)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Shot on Video
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Universe Laser and Video Co., Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen