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I Love Hong Kong 2013
I Love Hong Kong 2012     I Love Hong Kong 2012

(left) Alan Tam and Veronica Yip, and (right) Michael Tse and Bosco Wong in I Love Hong Kong 2013.
Chinese: 2013我愛HK恭囍發財  
  Year: 2013  
  Director: Chung Shu-Kai
  Producer: Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Peter Tsi

Alan Tam Wing-Lun, Eric Tsang Chi-Wai, Veronica Yip Yuk-Hing, Bosco Wong Chung-Chak, Kate Tsui Tsz-Shan, Michael Tse Tin-Wah, Joyce Cheng Yan-Yi, Stanley Fung Shui-Fan, Hui Siu-Hung, Wong Cho-Lam, Jacqueline Chong Si-Man, Chris Lai Lok-Yi, Wilson Chin Kwok-Wai, Anthony Chan, Bennett Pang Kin-San, Danny Yip Chi-Keung, Liu Fan, Tin Kai-Man, Natalie Meng Yao, Alfred Cheung Kin-Ting, Evergreen Mak Cheung-Ching, Alvina Kong Yan-Yin, Otto Wong Chi-On, Eddie Peng Wai-On, Bob Lam, Tommy Wong Kwong-Leung, Samantha Ko Hoi-Ning, Goo Ming-Wah, Pierre Ngo Ka-Nin, Koni Lui Wai-Yee, David Lo Dai-Wai, Siu Yam-Yam, Gill Mohindepaul Singh, Siu Fei, 6 Wing, Ma Tai-Lo, Joe Junior, C. Kwan

The Skinny: The low point for TVB's recent run of Lunar New Year comdies, meaning it's better than their non-seasonal efforts (The Fortune Buddies, The Jade and the Pearl) but worse than all the other I Love Hong Kong movies. TVB fans may still have fun spinning this on the DVD player while they're playing mahjongg and eating KFC — all at the same time. Veronica Yip appears for 10 minutes. Whoopee.
by Kozo:
Historically, TVBís Lunar New Year films have been surprisingly enjoyable, managing populist entertainment with unique Hong Kong character and charm. Their latest production, I Love Hong Hong Kong 2013, offers more locally-targeted laughs and another cast stuffed with TVB-players. Whatís missing: satire and surprise, two factors that made TVBís previous Lunar New Year films winning and mostly superior to their direct competition: the star-packed Allís Well Ends Well films produced by Raymond Wong Bak-Ming. Over the last few years, TVB won the Lunar New Year movie battle but this year they come up short.

As in their previous Lunar New Year films, TVB brings in a name lead and this year itís Alan Tam, plus the side bonus of an appearance by the long-retired Veronica Yip. The forever-young Tam stars as Sung Chi-Hung, proprietor of the Happy Reunion dim sum restaurant. Wife Yeung-Yeung (Yip) wants Sung to sell the restaurant and move the family to Canada, but Sung is too attached to the restaurant and wonít give in. Heís also insanely kind to his neighbors and employees, and charges his customers too little. Youíd think family should be first for a super-nice guy like Chi-Hung but no, the Happy Reunion Restaurant trumps all.

As loving families do, the entire Sung brood hoodwinks Chi-Hung into thinking that he must sell his restaurant, which he does to longtime archenemy Ha Shek-Sau (Nat Chan Bak-Cheung). Feeling like crap, Chi-Hung thinks of jumping to his death and letting his family and restaurant go on without him. But an afro-sporting angel (Eric Tsang) stops Chi-Hung from jumping, whereupon Chi-Hung begins to tell the angel the story of his youth, when a young Chi-Hung (Bosco Wong) squared off against a young Shek-Sau (Michael Tse) for the hand of a young Yeung-Yeung (Kate Tsui). Somewhere during this drawn out flashback, some point will be made about why Chi-Hung shouldnít become street pizza.

That point eventually gets made during an obvious Itís a Wonderful Life riff, but that sequence is barely five minutes long and only occurs at the very end of the film. Unlike the Frank Capra classic, I Love Hong Kong 2013 doesnít feature multiple ghosts who show up to structure the flashbacks. Instead the film cuts immediately to the droning tale of Chi-Hungís past and stays there, detouring so far from the present that Alan Tam and Veronica Yipís roles become barely more than cameos. Thanks to its interminable running time, the adventures of young Chi-Hung ultimately become little more than a collection of random gags, dull musical sequences, and endless moments where the terribly-coiffed Bosco Wong mugs for the camera.

The extended flashbacks also prevent the filmmakers from adding topical humor which was a large factor in the success of previous TVB Lunar New Year films. Without satire, I Love Hong Kong 2013 becomes an exercise in nostalgia, which ultimately limits its appeal. TVB fans should still enjoy the numerous TVB cameos, but the performances are never that appealing, and the jokes peter out quickly. There are some highlights, including game performances from Michael Tse and Joyce Cheng, plus some local HK entertainment in-jokes. There are lowlights too, especially Alvina Kongís blackface-like portrayal of a Southeast Asian domestic helper. Granted, itís a reference to her TVB appearances but thatís not really an excuse.

Like its predecessors, I Love Hong Kong 2013 ends up pushing decency and kindness over cynical selfishness, but without smart satire to balance out the schmaltz, all the preaching feels routine and tiresome. This is a film thatís only for TVB diehards and even then the biggest TVB fan would probably disapprove of the scads of product placement, provided most prominently by Itacho Sushi, Kee Wah Bakery and electronic payment provider EPS. Raymond Wongís Hotel Deluxe wins the 2013 Lunar New Year movie battle, but TVB will likely regroup anyway for I Love Hong Kong 2014. Even if audiences donít clamor for it, Itacho Sushi and Kee Wah Bakery probably will. (Kozo, 2013)


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