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Summer Breeze of Love


Tsui Tin-Yau, Charlene Choi, Gillian Chung and Dave Wong in Joe Ma's Summer Breeze of Love.

Year: 2002
Director: Joe Ma Wai-Ho
Cast: Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Gillian Chung Yun-Tung, Dave Wong Kit, Roy Chow Wing-Hung, Tsui Tin-Yau, Wong Yau-Nam, Monica Lo Suk-Yi, Andrea Choi On-Kiu, Hui Siu-Hung, Matthew Chow Hoi-Kwong, Lee Fung, Wyman Wong Wai-Man
The Skinny: Passable fluff that should delight the target audience, which happens to be twelve to fifteen year-old girls and their respective boyfriends. Popstar chasers and fans of girl group Twins should likewise be engaged, but unlike some of Joe Ma's other youth romances (i.e., Feel 100% I or II), the film doesn't amount to much more.
by Kozo:
     The insanely popular girl group Twins continue their assault on the Hong Kong media world. After hit songs, music videos, advertisements, public appearances and likely restraining orders, Twins members Charlene Choi and Gillian Chung have brought their cute mugs to the big screen. Summer Breeze of Love marks their first onscreen collaboration, and lucky for them it's directed by Hong Kong's reigning king of youth romance: Joe Ma Wai-Ho.
     Recent high school grads and best buds Kiki (Choi) and Kammy (Chung) embark on their last summer with a goal in mind: to find their first boyfriends. Kiki gets swept off her feet by bad boy Fung (Tsui Tin-Yau of Gimme Gimme and boy band Shine), but the road to romance is rocky. Fung is a total player, and usually travels with an entourage of females all vying for his attention. Optimistically, Kiki thinks she may have a shot. Meanwhile, Kammy's brother (Roy Chow) has designs on Kiki, but he's a seemingly slow dude who spends all his time playing video games and looking spaced out. It's likely that the vivacious Kiki won't even look his way.
     Kammy's prospect is shy forty-year old Danny (Dave Wong), who's divorced and lives with his mother. Kammy pursues Danny in a frighteningly direct manner, but her intentions and emotions are always pure-hearted and innocent. Having an eighteen year-old admirer like Kammy would likely be the dream of many forty-year olds, but Danny is unsure of returning her naked affections. His deal is a supposed lack of confidence which prevents him from hooking up with someone less than half his age. Kammy's deal is simple: she just wants to be with him.
     Ah, the wonders of youth romance. Joe Ma's track record in this genre has been remarkably good. His Feel 100% movies have managed to be both silly and yet subtly affecting, and even his overwrought First Love Unlimited had its share of charm. Summer Breeze of Love doesn't disappoint in the charm area, as it features some amusing "first love" moments which should charm anyone with a pulse. Both Choi and Chung are suitably adorable, and their performances are guileless if not noteworthy. And the tone is pleasant and light.
     Still, the film just feels less successful than Ma's other efforts. Like his other films, Summer Breeze has a typically loose plot. Characters come and go, and many details that occur are simply of the "ha ha, that was funny" variety. It's the inevitable trial of growing up that ties Ma's films together, and this film attempts that too. However, the situations here feel canned and without the spontaneity of the Feel 100% movies. Those films, while overtly silly, managed a surprising honesty, but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
     Kammy's story is particularly unsatisfying because it oversimplifies a May-December romance as a simple issue of confidence and pure-hearted affection. The film would have us believe that Kammy's love for Danny is genuine and real, and that Danny simply lacks the confidence to be with the right person. Still, a lot of other issues are conveniently ignored, i.e. what do Kammy's parents think? And what about her brother? Doesn't he find something wrong with Kammy blindly chasing a forty year-old guy? And no offense to Dave Wong and Gillian Chung, but let's face it: their pairing up is just creepy.
     Kiki's storyline works better, only because the situation feels more real than Kammy's. And Roy Chow turns in an engaging performance as her would-be "dope" suitor. His character is well-suited to this genre of film, as he's someone who you immediately root for. It feels natural to want he and Kiki to get together - which is exactly what's lacking in the Kammy-Danny romance.
     But who really cares about the above? Despite Joe Ma's accomplished pedigree in this genre, the target audience for this fluff couldn't care less about his ability to make or break a youthful romantic comedy. It's likely that everyone who went to see this movie just wanted to see twenty-foot high projections of Gillian Chung and Charlene Choi's incredibly adorable mugs. And, if that's what you're looking for then Summer Breeze of Love could be the greatest film EVER. You're not going to care if the acting is slightly vapid, or if the inevitable falling out between Kammy and Kiki is as compelling as headcheese. That's stuff that concerns demanding moviegoers. And really, most demanding moviegoers wouldn't be interested in seeing this movie anyway. (Kozo 2002)
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
 image courtesy of Deltamac Co., Ltd. Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen