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On Fire
Year: 1996
Francoise Yip
Director: Clarence Fok Yiu-Leung
Cast: Francoise Yip Fong-Wah, Louis Koo Tin-Lok, Chu Kin-Kwan, Ng Man-Tat, Annabelle Lau Hiu-Tung, Law Kwok-Fai, Wong Ying-Kit, Money Lo Man-Yi, Jamie Luk Kin-Ming, Siu Yam-Yam
The Skinny: Ugh. You'd think every movie with popular star Louis Koo would make it to DVD. After seeing this film, it's clear why it's been forgotten. Better yet, every existing print should be destroyed.
by Kozo:
     Complete and utter crap! And no, this is not an overstatement. A pre-tan Louis Koo stars as Michael, a go-nowhere wannabe triad slacker who does nothing of any real importance. Chu Kin-Kwan is Saam Bat (Sam Beck in the subtitles), his dopey buddy who also does nothing of any real importance. Their defining characteristic: an obsession with hot actress Yip Fong-Wah (Francoise Yip Fong-Wah). The two sign as movie extras to get close to their idol, but circumstances occur which make it seem like she's just a stuck-up actress-type who disdains her fans. In retailiation, they decide to beat her up, but not before retarded superfan Mikey (an insufferable Ng Man-Tat) shows up and turns the whole fiasco into a double-kidnapping. In addition to Yip Fong-Wah, they drag along her assistant Nancy (Annabelle Lau), who gets chained up like a dog and acts like one to boot (don't ask). Then lots of useless antics and violence against women occurs. If you're smart, you'll take a nap or destroy the VCD, VHS tape, or whatever offending media format bears your copy of On Fire.
     To be blunt: this movie is really, really bad. Not only is it abhorrently misogynist, it's also directed and written like nobody really cared about the actual production. Yes, such lazy filmmaking was standard operating procedure during 1996, a time period that coincides with the last years of Hong Kong's insane filmmaking boom, but it's hard to imagine that you'd care this little about what you work on. The film does have a few noteworthy asides, i.e. the occasional references to real-life sexual scandals, and a nasty look at what can go on in the entertainment circle. The fact that Francoise Yip plays a burgeoning starlet with her exact same name, and is subjected to all sorts of backroom indignities and horrid treatment by her management, makes the film sort of a sick curiosity. Is this how new starlets are treated by their slimy backers? Is blackmail and sexual harrassment really this regular in the biz? And would Louis Koo pay to get every print of this film collected up and summarilly destoyed? Note to Louis: that would be a fine idea. (Kozo 2004)

image courtesty of Universe Laser and Video Co., Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen