Shot-on-video HK Cinema takes another bullet thanks
to The Trouble-Makers, yet another quickie product
from those cheap bastards at B&S Films. Terence
Yin stars as Szeto, who rents a room in a Sai Kung home
from landowner Lam Suet. His new roommate is the comely
Clary (Maggie Q), who can't find a job and offers to
be Szeto's housekeeper, cook, etc. Szeto agrees because
Clary is totally hot, and because he's one of those
insanely nice guys that could never exist in the real
world. Soon Clary is causing all sorts of trouble: sleepwalking,
torturing Szeto at night with a vacuum cleaner, and
acting possessed by spirits. Szeto is freaked, but soon
comes to suspect that it all might be a scam by his
landlord to swindle him out of his security deposit.
He (and best pal Sam Lee) attempt to turn the tables,
but things spiral out of control, leaving Clary in a
state of emotional and physical shock. What follows
is a weak parody of Three: Going Home, where
Terence Yin attempts to nurse a wheelchair-bound Maggie
Q back to health. Presumably, this is all supposed to
The Trouble-Makers was
brought to you by Aman Cheung, who once upon a time
made cheap and cheesy exploitation with Wong Jing. Now,
he simply makes cheap crap with B&S Films. Finding
something to truly recommend about The Trouble-Makers would be like justifying the career of Carrot Top; you
could try, but after awhile you'd just be kidding yourself.
The script is filled with boring exposition, and the
plot is so full of holes that it defies description.
The characters engage in an escalating series of con
games, but the results are hardly inspired or even entertaining.
Adding to that is the acting, which is just awful. Terence
Yin is effective in smarmy supporting roles, but as
a nice-guy leading man he's bland and emotionally wooden.
Maggie Q is equally wooden and obviously dubbed, and
possesses zero star quality. She looks fine, but as
a professional model, that's to be expected. And Sam
Lee and Lam Suet, two of HK's most welcome supporting
actors, aren't particularly engaging either. A fly crawling
on your wall might generate more excitement.
If anything could be said
about The Trouble-Makers, it would be that it's
not as bad as Aman Cheung's Summer Dream. That
shot-on-video travesty was insultingly terrible. The
Trouble-Makers is just terrible and mildly annoying.
Judging from the quality of most direct-to-video HK
features, it seems that the bar for passable filmmaking
has been set alarmingly low. If one were to judge all
video features with such reduced expectations, then
perhaps good things could be said about some of them.
Zero creativity and filmmaking craft would be expected
when watching these flicks, and awards could be handed
out for "Video Movie that Sucked the Least."
Sadly, The Trouble-Makers would never be in the
running for that award. (Kozo 2003)