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Those Were the Days
Chinese: 精裝難兄難弟 "Don't make me use this finger!"
Shu Qi does the Black Rose thing
Year: 1997
Director: Cho Kin-Nam
Producer: Nat Chan Bak-Cheung
Cast: Dayo Wong Chi-Wah, Gallen Law Ka-Leung, Francis Ng Chun-Yu, Nat Chan Bak-Cheung, Maggie Cheung Ho-Yee, Shu Qi, Joyce Chan Yin-Hang, Monica Chan Fat-Yung, Teresa Mak Ka-Kei, Law Kar-Ying, Yuen King-Tan, Cheung Tat-Ming, Lee Siu-Kei, Vincent Kok Tak-Chiu, Lee Kin-Yan, Lawrence Cheng Tan-Shui, Alvina Kong Yan-Yin, Ha Ping, Ng Chi-Hung, Michael Tse Tin-Wah, Jason Chu Wing-Tong, Peter Ngor Chi-Kwan, Louis Yuen Siu-Cheung
The Skinny: This movie adaptation of TVBs popular Old Time Buddy TV series has a killer concept but questionable execution. It's also too esoteric for anyone but the native Hong Kong resident who happened to watch lots of old TV shows.
by Kozo:

Based on the popular TVB show Old Time Buddy, this film parodies Hong Kong's golden age of film. Gallen Law, Francis Ng, and Maggie Cheung Ho-Yi return from the TV show, while Jessica Suen is replaced by Shu Qi as Shu Fong-Fong.

The film offers a new twist, though. The main protagonist is now a famous HK director named Wong Jing Wai (Dayo Wong), whos sent back in time to 1967 as penance for his new-wave snobbery. There he must help the four Cantonese stars achieve their legendary status - and only after he makes a movie that someone likes can he return to the present.

Knowledge of Cantonese movies from the sixties is a must for full understanding of this flick. For example: knowing that Gallen Law is parodying Lui Kei (the same actor that Tony Leung Ka-Fai parodied in La Legendary Rose Noire) adds to the funny factor, but having to be explained that little fact does nothing for the film. Sadly, Trivial Pursuit-like knowledge seems necessary, because without it the film would be revealed as a cheap, crude, and poorly directed mess (which it very well may be).

The modern HK Cinema fan can get some enjoyment from the Wong Kar-Wai asides, which reimagines the HK auteur's filmography featuring the stars of old. Special credit goes to Law Kar-Ying's portrayal of Kwan Tak-Hing, the famous actor who played Wong Fei-Hong. Having Wong Jing Wai put him in a gay kung-fu flick (a dig at Happy Together) is the film's best joke.

However, that joke is only one of plenty that litter the film, and it's probably the most accessible. Speaking from a non-native Hong Kong perspective, this movie is a probable head-scratcher, but Hong Kong audiences who get the jokes may be able to escape with a good time. (Kozo 1997)

Notes: • Dayo Wong's character Wong Jing Wai is an obvious parody of HK auteur Wong Kar-Wai, as imagined by polar opposite director Wong Jing. The character actually made an earlier appearance in a 1994 Wong Jing flick called Whatever You Want, in which he was played by Tan Lap-Man.
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of the Hong Kong Film Critics Society Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen