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Timeless Romance
|     review    |     awards     |     availability     |
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai and Tats Lau
Year: 1998
Director: Jeff Lau Chun-Wai, David Lai Dai-Wai
Action: Corey Yuen Kwai
Cast: Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Theresa Lee Yi-Hung, Chiu Ngan-Suk, Tats Lau Yi-Tat, Spencer Lam Seung-Yi, Bat Leung-Gum
The Skinny: This wildly uneven multi-genre film from director Jeff Lau manages to bring back fond memories of years past.
by Kozo:
     This throwback HK flick harkens back to an era where chaos and rapid-fire shenanigans were all the rage. Sadly that isn’t the case anymore, and it renders Timeless Romance an uneven but amusing enterprise. Jeff Lau’s multi-genre comedy/action flick steals heavily from Wong Kar-Wai, giving us lots of voice-over and existential musings about love and identity. 
     Tony Leung Chiu-Wai is a cop who falls for a dead woman (Korean actress Chiu Ngan-Suk) - who became so when she was raped by the boss of a couple of lowly gang members (Theresa Lee and Tats Lau). After the boss double-crosses our plucky pair, Leung finds himself drawn into a strange encounter with the reincarnated soul of Kwan, a refugee from the era of the Three Kingdoms. This provides an opportunity for all our heroes to travel through time, and at the end of the tunnel is the reincarnated dead woman - who’s now a general. Leung now has a chance to win his true, timeless love - even though the set-up for such a heartfelt payoff is zero to nonexistent. 
     This sort of wackiness was successful in the eighties, but it seems strangely out of place here. Leung is decent, but he apparently sleepwalked through the role. His chemistry with Chiu Ngan-Suk must have been left on the cutting room floor - if there ever was any chemistry to begin with. She’s a pretty face, but provides nothing but blankness. That these two find romance is totally uncompelling. It would have been better if a higher-caliber actress had been the female lead, but the role is incredibly underwritten anyway. 
     On the plus side, there are a lot of funny situation jokes, but they’re muted amid a bizarre, uneven story that taxes even Jeff Lau. There are too many characters to follow - knowledge of the time period would help, otherwise figuring out what’s going on may be a difficult chore. There are flashes of familiar HK charm buried in the film, and that provides for an amusingly average experience. (
Kozo 1998)
Awards: 5th Annual Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards
• Recommended Film
• Winner - Best Screenplay (Anonymous)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Mei Ah Laser Disc Co., Ltd.

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