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Feel 100% II
  |     review    |     notes     |     availability     |     also see      |    

From left to right: Miriam Yeung, Niki Chow, Daniel Chan, Eason Chan and Joey Yung.
Year: 2001  
Director: Joe Ma Wai-Ho  
Producer: Manfred Wong  
Cast: Eason Chan Yik-Shun, Miriam Yeung Chin-Wa, Daniel Chan Hiu-Tung, Joey Yung Tso-Yi, Niki Chow Lai-Kei, Eric Kot Man-Fai, Matt Chow Hoi-Kwong, Sammy
The Skinny: Director Joe Ma's return to the Feel 100% series is a welcome one. Thanks to a fresh new cast and Ma's sure direction, this sequel-in-name manages to surpass some stumbling blocks to provide a surprisingly accomplished Gen-X comedy. In its own way, it's every bit as good as the first one.
by Kozo:
     After a two-year directorial absence, Joe Ma returns with the series that made him: Feel 100%. Based on a popular Chinese comic book, the series details the lives and loves three young, urban HK friends: Jerry, Hui-Lok and Cherrie. Ma's original 1996 flick was a surprise hit and starred Ekin Cheng as Jerry, Eric Kot as Hui-Lok, and Sammi Cheng as Cherrie. There was 1996 followup titled Feel 100%...once more, but the original cast played different characters, and the film proved less popular.
     Ma rectifies that by returning to original characters Jerry and Hui-Lok, though he leaves Cherrie out of this one. Jerry (Eason Chan) and Hui-Lok (Daniel Chan) are best buds who room together. Their friendship is paramount, though Jerry spends just as much time hitting on the ladies and acting smarmy. The somewhat shy Hui-Lok manages to find love-at-first-sight with pretty bartender Felicia (Niki Chow), leaving Jerry feeling lonely. Luckily, Hui-Lok's sister Hui-Foon (Miriam Yeung) is visiting, and it's obvious she bears unrequited affection for Jerry. Being the glib jokester that he is, Jerry much prefers to pursue Hassle (Joey Yung), a virginal genius who tries out first love as a sort of personal experiment. Without much reference, she decides to use Jerry as her test subject.
     Hassle's deal is quite typical of Joe Ma-directed youth love-fests. She verbalizes and examines love from an incredibly clinical point of view, which is far from exciting or even interesting. Having people dissect their emotions and personalities can be borderline annoying, as real people are seldom that sensitive or self-effacing. On the other hand, Ma manages to find the middle ground between such pretentious self-examination and the more spontaneous, charming aspects of youthful romance. His characters may debate on and on about their experiences with love, but it's ultimately action and emotion that carry the day. Our heroes find their feelings challenged, their situations shifting, and their relationships tested. Despite the bouncy, candy-colored look and feel of Joe Ma's Gen-X romance world, there's some genuine sentiment and even surprise hidden in there.
     Part of the reason for the film's success is in its generous balance of comedy and drama. The comedy can occasionally be odd and annoyingly quirky, but it never strays from the characters' personalities. Likewise, the drama feels consistent with character and performance. Ma does a good job of reining in serial overacters Eason Chan and Joey Yung. Yung displays a surprising charm, and Chan fits the immature Jerry extremely well. As in the first film, Jerry is a guy who acts smarmy and glib to mask his own fears at intimacy and growing up. That message is a typically hackneyed one, but the way it's handled here is not. Ma even wrings a less-wooden performance out of Daniel Chan.
     Then there's Miriam Yeung, who's become HK Cinema's new box-office darling. It's ironic that her ascent began with this film, as Sammi Cheng (to whom Yeung is often compared) began her screen dominance in Joe Ma's original Feel 100% movie. Yeung's performance here is unpolished, but her rough, yet endearing manner makes Hui-Foon extremely appealing. Jerry must eventually decide whether or not he will return Hui-Foon's long-unrequited love, and despite the predictability of the plotline (this isn't a tragedy we're watching) the outcome doesn't feel false at all.
     Not that Feel 100% II is an award-caliber movie. It's a commercial youth romance that features pretty people, and its loose plot and post-modern dialogue can prove sometimes ineffective. However, the film possesses a fun, cheery charm, and characters and situations that can endear. After some rather uninspired efforts (including Afraid of Nothing the Jobless King and He Comes from Planet K), Joe Ma returns to form. Let's hope he retains it. (Kozo 2001/2002)
Notes: • Feel 100% has since been made into a successful web-broadcast television series, which is currently running (circa Summer 2002). Daniel Chan now essays Jerry, while singer Alex Fong Lik-Sun plays Hui-Lok. Niki Chow takes on the character of Cherrie, while Rain Li Choi-Wah shows up as Fong-Fong (who was played by Gigi Leung in the original film). Sadly, the series is only available without English subtitles.
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
Various extras including trailers, deleted scenes, making-of, mini-concert and more
Also see: Feel 100% (1996)
Feel 100%...once more (1996)

images courtesy of Mei Ah Laser Disc Co., Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen