Yip’s films seem to be getting worse and worse, though that’s
a relative measure. His third film is an overstuffed, heavy-handed,
but entertaining UFO comedy-drama about aroma therapist Athena
(Kelly Chan), who’s stuck in a depressing rut ever since SDU
boyfriend Andrew died. However, all is not lost as a wayward
angel (Takeshi Kaneshiro) comes crashing through her skylight
and proceeds to change her life.
The film has its attractive
elements, but the little details are so cloying that you just
want to slap someone at the production company. Kaneshiro
(nicknamed “Angel”) is dying, but he needs to love to subsist.
Sure, average physical love helps out in a pinch, but its
true love that nourishes our photogenic star. In time, it
seems he could get it from Athena (as many male audience members
would like to, I’m sure), but the obstacles are many. Athena
just can’t get over Andrew, and then there’s flaming gay neighbor
Eason Chan, who should take sedatives before acting. He loved
both Andrew and now Angel, but unlike Andrew, Angel ain’t
no switch hitter. Eventually Angel decides he wants to love
Athena. His desire is not just to heal himself, but to heal
her of the heartbreak that threatens to destroy her and apparently
Hong Kong at large.
Okay, my description of the film
is borderline derisive, but I’m probably speaking from a position
of enlarged expectations. Quite frankly, I expected the most
from this film, as it paired the lovely Kelly Chan with the
charismatic Takeshi Kaneshiro under the direction of one of
HK’s best new directors and the aegis of HK’s premier quality
production house. The result bears many hallmarks of both
Riley Yip and UFO, but the mix is quite forced. There’s just
too much verbal exposition, and much of it involving awful
UFO clichés which should have been retired a few years ago.
At least the performances are better than
par. Kelly Chan is ethereal and sexy, though I’d love to see
her play a sweet, loveable girl instead of these high-maintenance
beauty queens. Kaneshiro gets back on track with a role that
allows him to use his boyish charisma, which has been sorely
missing from films like Downtown Torpedoes and Tempting
Heart. In the end, I would recommend this film for its
stars and for its production design which is absolutely beautiful.
Near the end of the flick Athena and Angel journey to Europe
and as they stroll through fields of lavender you may be able
to forget that you were jerked around for 90 minutes prior.