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Summer I Love You
Year: 2002
Candy Lo and Richie Ren
Director: Banny Lo Kam-Cheung
Producer: Derek Yee Tung-Sing
Cast: Richie Ren, Candy Lo Hau-Yam, Cherie Kong Chi-Nei, Michelle Wong Man-Wah, Mona Koo Kam-Wa, Joe Cheung Tung-Cho, Yam Ho, Yung Cheung
The Skinny: This romantic drama takes a while to get going, but once it does the stars and the situations are suprisingly affecting. Still, the sometimes flat-footed and predictable storyline can get in the way, and massive suspension of disbelief is necessary.
by Kozo:
     Massive suspension of disbelief is required for Summer I Love You, a romantic drama/fantasy starring Richie Ren and Candy Lo. Lo is Ching, who's been depressed for two years following an auto accident where she was the driver and her two friends were passengers. Now the only survivor, she wastes her time on the ICQ, chatting meaninglessly with complete and total strangers. One stranger, named Lek, senses her lonely and isolated existence and asks her to visit his island resort in Thailand. Without much hesitation, she agrees and hops on a plane to meet her new Internet buddy.
     Lek turns out to be a wheelchair bound hunk embodied by romantic comedy regular Richie Ren. He was also in an auto accident years ago, but he's emotionally recovered and lives life happily despite his handicapped ways. He wants to help the pretty, but distant Ching, and does his best to draw her out of her shell. Helping him are a variety of hackneyed and annoying island types, including the cutesy old couple, the fat pal, and the jealous hottie. Ching is resistant at first, but Lek's charm and easygoing manner win her over. She begins to smile again, but not before the required tragedy rears its ugly head. Lek's condition worsens, threatening to paralyze him fully.
     Luckily, licensed quack Dr. Lai (Joe Cheung) has a daring medical procedure which may fully cure Lek. He's discovered unnamed microorganisms which could repair Lek's nerves. However, the microorganisms first need a human host to incubate, and Dr. Lai is nervous of any possible side effects. Realizing that her life is incomplete without an attempt to help Lek, Ching decides to help him no matter what. And, if the cost of her resolve is being victimized by an illegal medical procedure, so be it.
     That's the skinny for this scenic romantic drama which touches on some very familiar — and even annoyingly clichéd — themes. For the first thirty minutes, there are ponderous speeches about forgiving yourself, the power of laughter, and eveything else short of the benefits of good oral hygeine. For awhile, the story by Banny Lo (who also directed) feels like a checklist from a twelve-step screenwriting course. The annoying side characters don't help much, and Candy Lo is dour to a fault. All the film has is the scenic location and Richie Ren's patented easygoing charm.
     But, when the film finally reaches its big twists, things begin to get interesting. The situations that Ching and Lek are subjected to are extremely fictional, but the actors bring enough emotion to make things affecting. The stars share a good chemistry, and Lo continues to be a welcome presence despite her subdued character and dubbed voice. If one can get by the flat-footed beginning and highly dubious premise, then the film can be worthwhile.
     Still, one actually has to get by the premise. Summer I Love You possesses a plot that's a little too outlandish and manufactured to fit its gorgeous scenery and obvious feel-good platitudes. Dr. Lai's risky medical procedure is a massive plot device designed to create all the film's necessary tension, which is why it's so hard to take. With only a pseudo-scientific fabrication to keep the lovers apart, the most common response could be: "Yeah, right!" The film has some decent moments and good stars, but if the movie loses you, then you probably won't be happy. You have to really, really buy Summer I Love You to find it truly affecting. (Kozo 2002)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Media Asia / Mega Star
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
image courtesy of Mega Star Video Distribution, Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen