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I Love Hong Kong
I Love Hong Kong     I Love Hong Kong

(left) Tony Leung Ka-Fai and Eric Tsang, and (right) Aarif Lee and Fala Chen in I Love Hong Kong
Chinese: 我愛HK 開心萬歲  
  Year: 2011  
  Director: Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Chung Shu-Kai

Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Sandra Ng Kwun-Yu, Anita Yuen Wing-Yee, Stanley Fung Shui-Fan, Aarif Lee, Fala Chen, Mag Lam Yan-Tung, Bosco Wong Chung-Chak, Wong Cho-Lam, JJ Jia, 6 Wing, Kate Tsui Tsz-Shan, Joyce Cheng Yan-Yi, Jess Sum Cheuk-Ying, Evergreen Mak Cheung-Ching, Liu Kai-Chi, Patrick Tang Kin-Won, Ron Ng Cheuk-Hei, Wu Ma, Patrick Tam Yiu-Man, Kenny Wong Tak-Bun, Raymond Wong Ho-Yin, Lam Suet, Otto Wong Chi-On, Eddie Peng Wai-On, Tin Kai-Man, Emily Kwan Bo-Wai, Siu Fei, Clorinda Chan, Lee Fung, Kiki Sheung Tin-Ngor, Macy Chan Mei-Si, Hui Siu-Hung, C. Kwan, Jim Chim Sui-Man, Samantha Ko Hoi-Ning, Michelle Loo, Louis Yuen Siu-Cheung, Raymond Tso Wing-Lim, Siu Yam-Yam, Koni Lui Wai-Yee, Miu Kiu-Wai, Peter Lai Bei-Tak, Wong Ching, Felix Wong Yat-Wah, Lai Yiu-Cheung, Maggie Cheung Ho-Yee, Alfred Cheung Kin-Ting, David Lo Dai-Wai, Guk Fung, King Kong, Ha Chun-Chau, Maggie Siu Mei-Kei, Michael Tse Tin-Wah, Mak Ling-Ling, Tyson Chak Hoi-Tai, Susan Tse Suet-Sum, Oscar Leung Lit-Wai, Christine Kuo, Jeanette Leung Tsang-Kwok, Bob Lam

The Skinny: Probably not as good as last year's 72 Tenants of Prosperity, but I Love Hong Kong still manages to entertain thanks to its positive spirit and super-huge parade of TVB stars. International audiences need not apply, but TVB fans should probably get their checklists ready. Featuing a parody of Johnnie To's The Mission. Really!
by Kozo:
Eric Tsang and TVB join forces once again for their 2011 Lunar New Year special, I Love Hong Kong. Like the duo’s last collaboration, 2010's 72 Tenants of Prosperity, I Love Hong Kong pushes familiar emotions, numerous products and TVB’s roster of actors to extensive, potentially annoying effect. However, the film does earn some credit for wickedly skewing local brands, with fixtures like restaurant chain Café de Coral and real estate investment trust The Link getting the raspberry. The result is a film that crassly advertises while also amusingly satirizing commercialization. For a populist film like I Love Hong Kong, such double dealing is nearly a feat. The movie itself? Just fine for Lunar New Year fare. Hey, we take what we can get.

Tony Leung Ka-Fai stars as Shun, who grew up in public housing before making it big with his own toy manufacturing business. However, his business is in the crapper thanks to the financial crisis, and his family of five (including hot actor Aarif Lee and TVB singing sensation Mag Lam) are forced to move into Shun’s old family flat with his father (Stanley Fung). The cramped quarters are not pleasant, but everyone makes the best of it, banding together to terrorize a nosy housing inspector (Evergreen Mak) while going about their regular jobs. Since Shun is down-and-out, his wife (Sandra Ng) goes back to her old beautician job, which has since evolved into a cynically-run, state-of-the-art slimming clinic, while his kids deal with their change in social status. Shun is further tested by the return of old friend Lung (Eric Tsang), who once betrayed the community. Will Shun forgive his old pal in time for the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival?

I Love Hong Kong gets plenty of mileage from its juxtaposition of past and present Hong Kong. Sporadic flashbacks tell the tale of young Shun (Bosco Wong) and young Lung (Wong Cho-Lam) during a simpler time, when the future seemed much brighter. The years since have made Shun more pragmatic, but don't worry – good times are just around the corner. Lung has seemingly returned with the angels on his side, helping everyone and their kids (literally) rediscover the joy of family, friendship and community. Besides comparing the past and present, I Love Hong Kong goes the extra mile to point out how past values were really kickass, while the present just isn’t as cool. Not that the present is really that bad – people just need a gentle reminder that the heart of all life can be found in colorful public housing estates instead of in sterile brand name shopping malls. Eventually the locals are threatened with modernization and urban renewal, but that’s cool, because family and friends can help you solve everything. Yay!

The messages behind I Love Hong Kong have been seen in about a zillion other films, most especially last year’s 72 Tenants of Prosperity. Both films feature evil real estate developer subplots, and both push local community and good neighbor values over mass commercialization and selfishness. The anti-commercialization themes are slightly disingenuous, as the filmmakers crassly push brands like the Itacho Sushi restaurant chain and Kee Wah bakeries - both of which conveniently feature Eric Tsang as their main spokesperson. There’s also TVB promotion aplenty, and even some choice barbs directed at rival TV station ATV. Thankfully, TVB does prove to be a good sport (that is, when compared to their usual self-aggrandizing media tactics) with some jokes directed at itself and its stars and dramas. Also, the flashbacks give the filmmakers chances to slyly poke fun at past Hong Kong pop culture. One could hardly call this accomplished satire, but the self-referential jokes are amusing, and for an audience familiar with TVB and living in Hong Kong, I Love Hong Kong has its joys.

For international audiences, I Love Hong Kong will mean very little – which is understandable, as universal aspects of filmmaking go largely ignored by everyone involved. Proper storytelling, character development, etc. – these things do not exist in I Love Hong Kong. Extended gags kill storytelling momentum, lessons are delivered through obvious speeches, and actual acting is rare. However, this is a Lunar New Year comedy, so all the above is supposed to be compensated for by comfortable emotions, familiar faces, pretty stars and clever gags – and if real filmmaking enters the picture, it’s just a bonus. Well, there’s no bonus here, but everything else is delivered efficiently and even pleasingly. There are even some unexpected gags (including a funny parody of Johnnie To’s decade-old masterpiece The Mission), and the proceedings never really get pretentious, annoying or insulting. Given the forces (product placement, quickie box office, TVB, Eric Tsang) behind I Love Hong Kong, that’s practically a success. So we’ll call it one. (Kozo 2011)


DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
CN Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese/Mandarin Language Track
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc

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image credit: TVB Copyright ©2002-2017 Ross Chen