Like most typical HK flicks, this remake of The Bodyguard from comedy director Lee Lik-Chee has an identity crisis from
the get go. The film canít decide whether itís a comedy or
a thriller, so it switches between the two awkwardly. However,
whatís left proves to be surprisingly enjoyable.
Leon Lai is Lai, a New Territories
cop who longs for new challenges in the urban areas of HK.
He ends up leaving his mom Ha Ping and devoted cousin Sandra
Ng (in a thankless role) and journeys to the city, where he
gets assigned to guard up-and-coming singer Cindy (Sammi Cheng),
which bothers him for lots of reasons. Among others, he hates
the idea of babysitting a spoiled star and worse, he has to
pretend heís gay to fit into her all-gay entourage (Wyman
Wong, Vincent Kok, and Joe Cheng).
Of course, Cindy turns out to be
an absolute angel, so Lai falls hard and fast for her. Truth
to tell, it isnít hard to see why. Sammi Cheng turns in a
nuanced, engaging performance that surprises. In contrast
to the hyperactive antics of most newbie HK starlets, Cheng
possesses a natural, magnetic charm that carries the film
beyond its conventional HK multi-genre trappings. Whatever
enjoyment the film brings results from the interaction between
her and Leon Lai, who departs from his usual personality-less
acting. Heís amazingly likable and even sympathetic, and his
wooden acting seems quite fitting for his character.
The film also is a fun spoof of HKís
entertainment industry. Sadly, the whole thing devolves into
an obsessed fan story, complete with letters in blood and
pictures of Cindy pasted on the wall. Most HK films devolve
when plot gets in the way, which is surprising because in
American films itís the lack of a story that usually kills
a flick. HK Cinema is unparalleled in its ďmoments,Ē and
Killing Me Tenderly has some very good ones. Most of them
happen to involve Sammi Cheng. (Kozo