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Paper Marriage
Year: 1988
Maggie Cheung and Sammo Hung
Director: Alfred Cheung Kin-Ting
Cast: Sammo Hung Kam-Bo, Maggie Cheung Man-Yuk, Alfred Cheung Kin-Ting, Joyce Godenzi, Billy Chow Bei-Lei, Dick Wei, Chin Kar-Lok, Philip Ko Fei, Meg Lam Kin-Ming
The Skinny: Unlikely pairing of Maggie Cheung and Sammo Hung proves to be a successful marriage of disparate genres. An enjoyable eighties Hong Kong film.
by Kozo:
     Director Alfred Cheung takes the unlikely couple of Sammo Hung and Maggie Cheung and manages to wring an affecting action-comedy out of it. Sammo Hung is Bo, a Chinese immigrant who lives in Canada and exists in a series of odd jobs, including being a test subject for the local psychology school. When he enters massive debt at the racetrack, heís forced to enter into a fake marriage for a promised payoff.
     His paper wife is Jade (Maggie Chueng), who only wishes to get a green card so she can live in Canada with her longtime boyfriend Peter (Alfred Cheung).nHowever, once the ceremony takes place Peter runs off with the dough, leaving Jade with Bo. Making matters worse, Bo is a woman-hater who resents his ex-wife (Joyce Godenzi) for leaving him. With the debt hanging over them, Bo and Jade form an unlikely friendship as each attempts to earn enough money to pay off the debt. Bo returns to his fighting roots and participates in underground boxing. Eventually he even has to face his ex-wifeís new boyfriend (Billy Chow) in the ring.
     The plot ultimately involves the two HK immigrants finding some semblance of romance, though their quest to regain their self-respect is equally important. Still, this is an eighties HK movie so thereís also a large kung-fu climax and female mud wrestling thrown in for kicks. By film's end, we should be tuning in to see Jade and Bo get together, but instead we're treated to a hunt for a cache of lost drug money and a huge action sequence set in a large indoor mall in Edmonton.
     Both Maggie Cheung and Sammo Hung turn in amiable performances, with Cheung earning extra points for the infamous mud wrestling sequence. Director Alfred Cheung manages to inject the film with only small doses of soul-searching in between the comedy, which makes the romance more subtle and affecting. This is an enjoyable little film thatís far-fetched but manages to contain something akin to real human feeling. And for a Hong Kong film, that's extremely rare. (Kozo 1999)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Universe Laser
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

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

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