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Golden Chickensss
Golden Chickensss

Sandra Ng and Nick Cheung living large in Golden Chickensss.


Year: 2014
Director: Matthew Chow Hoi-Kwong
Producer: Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu
Writer: Matthew Chow Hoi-Kwong

Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu, Nick Cheung Ka-Fai, Eason Chan Yik-Shun, Ivana Wong, Michelle Wai, Jinny Ng Yeuk-Hei, Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Ronald Cheng Chung-Kei, Donnie Yen Ji-Dan, Chapman To Man-Chat, Chin Kar-Lok, Lo Hoi-Pang, Monna Lam, Rainky Wai, Michelle Loo, Fiona Sit Hoi-Kei, Elena Kong Mei-Yi, Wyman Wong Wai-Man, Anthony Wong Chau-Sang, Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Edison Chen, Shawn Yue, Alex To Tak-Wai, Hins Cheung King-Hin, Derek Tsang Kwok-Cheung, Donald Tong Kim-Hong, Raymond Wong Bak-Ming, Jim Chim Sui-Man, William So Wing-Hong, Eddie Cheung Siu-Fai, Eman Lam Yi-Man, Hiro Hayama, Carl Ng Ka-Lung, Andy Lau Tak-Wah

The Skinny: Satirical and sometimes riotously funny Lunar New Year film that brings back Sandra Ng's iconic Golden Chicken character. The local references may be too esoteric for non-Hong Kongers, but the perverse gags and agreeable sentiments make this a crowd-pleasing winner. Co-starring everyone that Sandra Ng knows.
by Kozo:

Hey, remember that girl from ten years ago who was positive, hard-working and, oh, a prostitute with an unhealthy fixation on Andy Lau? Eleven years later she’s back and like fine wine, she seems to have aged splendidly. Sandra Ng returns to her iconic and award-winning role of Kam, the happy hooker with the chest of silicone and a heart of gold, for Golden Chickensss, which is an actual sequel even though continuity to the previous two Golden Chicken movies is barely existent. At this point, all you need to know is that Kam is a prostitute (or “chicken” in Cantonese slang) who loves her job and will continue doing it with determination and a glowing respect for her customers. Word up, Kam. If only people in jobs unrelated to the sex trade had your sterling work ethic. At the very least, I wouldn’t get screwed at the drive-thru.

Samson Chiu, director of the first two films, is replaced in Golden Chickensss by writer-director Matt Chow, but the changes go deeper than who’s credited on the poster. The first two Golden Chicken films were Hong Kong history panoramas, using famous (or maybe infamous) local historical events as signposts on Kam’s journey of personal growth. Recent Hong Kong history has arguably been as tumultuous as it was back in 1997-2003 (the one-two punch of the Handover and SARS is hard to top) so the filmmakers simply use Kam as a vehicle to comment on life in fast-moving Hong Kong, with social, political and technological changes high on the checklist of topics. Stuff like the proliferation of mobile phones, the changing service industry, and local unrest get parodied, which makes for fun and scathing gags but little narrative cohesion. It’s all good, though; Sandra Ng is in expected divine form, and the commentary is pointed and frequently funny.

The film opens with vignettes that jokingly tell the origin of prostitution using movie parodies, ribald humor and big-name cameos. From there, we’re brought up to speed on Kam’s life; Kam has moved up from self-employment to mama-san, and keeps a stable of younger prostitutes played by Michelle Wai and Monna Lam, among others. The outlier is Woo Loo (singer Ivana Wong, wearing fake teeth), an ugly duckling who constantly screeches about her desire to make money no matter the personal cost. Woo Loo is played for laughs, thanks to her wonky mainland accent and abnormal enthusiasm, but Matt Chow’s script gives her hidden facets and ultimately makes her a winning character. Credit should be given to Ivana Wong, who shows surprising abandon and range as Woo Loo, but the character is pure Golden Chicken in that she’s portrayed with humanity, heart and respect despite the fact that she’s “just a chicken.”

Golden Chickensss mixes bawdy comedy with appreciable heart, and is most affecting when it empathizes with sex workers and their customers. By conventional societal standards, most of these characters would be frowned upon, but rather than judge, the filmmakers attempt to make the characters’ occupations and perversions relatable. Woo Loo is one such example, and her connection to an equally hard-working “duck” (slang for a gigolo) played by Ronald Cheng is affecting. During a side trip to Japan (where the girls learn cutting-edge Japanese sex service techniques), Shawn Yue shows up as an otaku who wants others to smell his body odor, while Lo Hoi-Pang plays a husband who wants to please his ill wife (Michelle Loo) by fulfilling her dream of sleeping with Louis Koo. The final solution is to fool her with an extended meta-joke (Koo cameos as a mainland Louis Koo lookalike who hails from the fictional province “Bumfuk”). It’s all quite ridiculous but the film laughs along with its characters and does a good job of convincing the audience to do the same.

The star appearances are naturally a highlight, and many are funnier if you know their media context. Louis Koo’s turn as his own lookalike is a terrific self-parody and Ivana Wong’s screen debut is a surprising subversion of her public image. A bigger surprise is an appearance by Alex To as a male counterpart to Kam (a big deal because of To’s lengthy past relationship with Sandra Ng). The appearance by Edison Chen, whose 2008 celebrity sex scandal rocked the Hong Kong entertainment industry, is especially notable because, wow, someone in Hong Kong actually chose to work with Edison Chen again! The biggest star turn is Nick Cheung as gangster Gordon, Kam’s former flame and an ex-con who has difficulty adjusting to Hong Kong’s changes. There’s satire and poignancy in Gordon’s struggle, and his story dovetails nicely with one of the series’ key themes. Gordon may be initially lost, but through humility and resilience, he’ll find his way, just like Kam and the Hong Kong people always have.

Golden Chickensss climaxes on a high note, but threatens to wear out its welcome with a protracted curtain call that exponentially increases the local references. In true Lunar New Year movie style, many actors show up to take a bow and sing a song, while Tony Leung Ka-Fai cameos in a parody of activist/politician Leung Kwok-Hung, who’s also known as “Long Hair” because of his, uh, long hair. Actually, the film’s political stance is worth studying, as it implies equivalence between political activism and cynical opportunism, but it also reinforces that global audiences may not appreciate Kam’s adventures as much as Hong Kong’s increasingly marginalized majority. Locals obviously do like it – Golden Chickensss ran away from its competitors during the 2014 Lunar New Year – and the film still charms with the way it portrays its perverted protagonists and perversion in general. Globally, Golden Chickensss may not strike the same chord, but for Hong Kong audiences this is howling, hopeful populist fun. (Kozo, 2/2014)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Edko Films Ltd.
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Original Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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