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Love Generation Hong Kong
Year: 1998
Lee Ann dreams of better films
Director: Wong Jing
Cast: Leon Lai Ming, Carina Lau Ka-Ling, Shu Qi, Lee Ann d'Alexandry d'Orengiani, Mark Cheng Ho-Nam, Mark Lui Chun-Tak, Fast Beat, Slow Beat, Lee Lik-Chee, Aman Cheung Man, Matthew Chow Hoi-Kwong
The Skinny: A forgettable romantic comedy from Wong Jing's assembly line.
by Kozo:
     Given the same name as the wildly popular Japanese drama, this romance from Wong Jing implies a compelling love story. Well, there’s sort of a story, but it really isn’t that compelling. Leon plays Bill Kei (an obvious pun on Bill Gates), a junior investor who predicts the 1998 Asian Economic Crisis back in 1992. He’s a poor fellow who’s struggling for success along with his longtime girlfriend Maggie (Carina Lau). However, she sees their love as a dead end. Fearful of holding him back, she dumps him, leaving him with nothing but a desire to reunite with her. 
     Bill vows to succeed in business at the urgings of best buddy Sunny (Mark Lui) and Sunny’s younger sister Moon (newcomer Lee Ann). Flash-forward six years to 1998 and Bill is a mega-tycoon, presiding over millions and dating a Chinese actress/Japanese idol named Joey (Shu Qi, in what could possibly be a Joey Wong parody). When he crosses paths with Maggie again, he sees this as the chance he lost; now he must woo her or forever regret it. However, she’s engaged to HK’s top triad boss Wo Ping (Mark Cheng), and he still can’t shake Joey. Then there’s the case of Moon, who’s now his personal assistant.
     The first half of the film is a decent set-up, but the film can’t follow through as contrived plotting and poor character development drag everything down. Despite the fact that their characters could have been seen as cheap, manipulative, and gold-digging, Carina Lau and Shu Qi manage to give some weight to their dangerously stereotypical characters. It’s a credit to their acting abilities that both were able to pull decent performances out of their parts. Faring the best is Mark Cheng, who’s excellent as the tough-talking, but eminently likable Wo Ping.
     Amazingly, the most unsympathetic character is Bill Kei himself, played with extraordinary stiffness by Leon Lai. Is the audience actually supposed to root for an annoyingly prideful, selfish guy like Bill Kei? Making matters even worse is the fact that Moon is supposed to love him, too. Her character is the most difficult to understand in the film, partly due to Lee Ann’s obvious dubbing. She’s an extremely beautiful young woman, but she appears to be acting through gauze.
If you must watch something called Love Generation, make sure it's the Japanese drama and not this forgettable trifle. (Kozo 1998)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Universe Laser & Video Co., Ltd.

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