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The Troublesome Romance
Chinese: 麻煩三角錯
Alex To and Joey Man
Year: 2002
Director: Wing Chow
Cast: Alex To Tak-Wai, Joey Man Yi-Man, Grace Yip Pui-Man, Ronnie Cheung Ho-Lung, Anita Chan Wing-Yin, Raymond Tso Wing-Lim, Shing Fui-On
The Skinny: Sophomoric story and direction derail this well-meaning drama about second chances and other touchy-feely stuff. Shot on video, which doesn't automatically mean a movie is bad. This one is, though.
by Kozo:

In a random stab at reviewing shot-on-video productions, a copy of the drama The Troublesome Romance was unceremoniously loaded into the DVD player. Upon reflection, it may be a while before we attempt this again.

Alex To stars as Doctor Kwok, a burnt-out surgeon who's in pain after watching his wife (Anita Chan) die on the operating table. She actually had a sizable insurance policy on her life, so the standard insurance types suspect Kwok may have botched the operation purposely. Contemplating suicide, Kwok befriends mouthy teen Wi (Grace Yip), who's thinking suicide of her own. Somehow the two form some form of friendship, which is further complicated by Wi's social worker Miss Chan (Joey Man). She wants to help Wi and is suspicious of Kwok's motives. However, Miss Chan has her own problems, namely an evil boyfriend (Raymond Tso) who uses naked pictures of her as blackmail. What are the chances that these beaten-down Hong Kongers will help one another?

Writer-director Wing Chow's drama is well-meaning, but so filled with convenient plot devices and annoying coincidences that it becomes cloyingly manufactured. The storyline - which mines your standard themes of second chances, appreciating life, etc. - could have been cooked up by a high school filmmaker wannabe. The acting doesn't help much. Alex To and Joey Man acquit themselves well despite the clunky dialogue, but Grace Yip is blindingly awful. Partial fault could go to the script, which gives her some truly awful lines and requires her to screech nearly all of them. And, special credit must be given to Anita Chan, who shows up as Kwok's departed wife and recites line upon line of insipid Yoda-inspired wisdom.

For a shot-on-video production, The Troublesome Romance is better looking than some of its bretheren, but it's clear that this is a video film. The film is loaded with annoying zooms, obvious jittery handheld shots, and tinny synthesizer music that sounds like fodder for a TVB serial. Most of the stuff here would work better on television, anyway. The cloying hokiness is not far from the usual content of TVB's hit dramas, and with sufficient time to know the characters such emotional excess can usually be forgiven. However, in a ninety minute movie it just doesn't work. (Kozo 2002)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Modern Audio
Shot on Video
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
English and Chinese Subtitles

image courtesy of Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen