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One Night in Taipei


Ili Cheng and 6 Kwan meet One Night in Taipei.



Year: 2015
Director: Wilson Chin Kwok-Wai
Producer: Wilson Chin Kwok-Wai

Kelvin Kwan Chor-Yiu, 6 Wing, Sharon Hsu, Ili Cheng, Ada@Onetwofree, Born Li@Onetwofree, Barbie Liu, King Kong, Riva Chang, Mandy Tao, William Liao, Sophia Wang, Ya Tou, Jack Kao

The Skinny: Taiwan iteration of the Lan Kwai Fong formula condenses all the shenanigans into one evening and amps the comedy. However, the result is unimpressive and worse than some – though not all – of the LKF films. Not recommended to anyone outside its presold audience.
by Kozo:

Wilson Chin, the creator of the Lan Kwai Fong movies, returns with a variation on his Hong Kong youth clubbing formula, except set overseas in Taipei. At first glance, One Night in Taipei is an improvement on the Lan Kwai Fong movies in that it ditches shallow melodrama for a high-concept storyline that takes place in one evening. Sure, a movie about the wacky misadventures of club-hoppers isn’t ambitious, but a funny and sexy commercial comedy sounds like a fine idea compared to the series’ usual “meet person, have sex, find meaning” plotlines. Then the actual movie happens and the rolling of eyes and gnashing of teeth begin.

One Night in Taipei stars Lan Kwai Fong veteran Kelvin Kwan as Caprio, a Hong Konger in Taipei looking for his girlfriend May (Barbie Liu), who’s touring with her gal pals and cousin Sky (6 Wing). Caprio is carrying a ring so that he can propose to May, but Taiwan guy Jingua (Ada of music duo Onetwofree) bumps into him and the ring falls down a storm drain. Jinghua offers to help Caprio retrieve the ring, but he has to perform at a club first, and the two are soon joined by Sky and dudebro Hui (Born Li, the other half of Onetwofree), making this a quartet of heroes out to challenge the Taipei night. So begins an evening of dashing through clubs and ogling hot women, with occasional time outs to look for the ring. Will they find the ring and deliver it to the fires of Mordor before Middle Earth is forever lost?

Spoiler: They never make it to Mount Doom, which sucks because a movie about four dudes trying to drop a ring into a volcano sounds like a fantastic idea. One Night in Taipei offers a story about men who act like idiots while running all over Taipei meeting other people and getting all moony over various women. Every guy has his object of affection, but the main story is Caprio’s. He wants May but she avoids him while proclaiming loudly, “I want to get laid by men!” Caprio may be May’s beta male, but he meets a beta female in Ting (Sharon Hsu), who waits on sunglasses-wearing lothario Feilum (William Liao) to the detriment of her self-esteem. Naturally, Caprio and Ting find a kinship but only after lots of sparring.

There’s a lesson in the Caprio-Ting connection, but it’s average teen film stuff that you might have seen in an eighties movie co-starring Anthony Michael Hall. Attempts at positive emotions are all well and good, but they feel disingenuous when surrounded by outdated sexism and homophobia. One Night in Taipei presents a world where women wear only bikini tops and cynically make use of their bodies for cash. Our four heroes also wander into a private party hosted by the gay Fenglan (King Kong) and his S&M gear-wearing muscle bros, and the scene sets back the sensitive depiction of homosexuals about ten years. There’s also female-on-male non-consensual sex achieved via party drugs – oh, joy! Party going youth: One Night in Taipei is not a film you want as representation of your lifestyle.

Granted, the film makes everyone look bad, from women to gays to straight guys, so it’s an equal opportunity offender. At one point, the film even likens all-night partygoers to mindless zombies, so maybe what Wilson Chin is going for is a satirical takedown on youth party culture. If that’s the case – that the filmmakers are attempting to slyly comment on shallow millennials – then we should applaud them for trying. Still, I think they fail at it, meaning One Night in Taipei gets a thumbs down no matter the intentions. At least the film surprises, e.g., when the characters feed each other human fecal matter, it’s completely and totally unexpected. Because it should be.

One Night in Taipei does serve a particular audience who might like portions of the film and not care if the whole thing disappoints. Fans of eye candy get all the lead girls in bra tops and/or T-backs, from Sharon Hsu to Barbie Liu to short and sexy Ili Cheng. Also, fans of Onetwofree might enjoy the moment where they’re forced to passionately kiss one another. At least, one hopes they will. For people who like Kelvin Kwan and 6 Wing: They’re in this movie so go for it. Those who have decided to see One Night in Taipei no matter its quality or critical reception need not be dissuaded – the film likely provides what they’re looking for. Those on the fence: you may wish to be more prudent about your movie spending. (Kozo, 3/2015)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region All NTSC
Panorama (HK)
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also available on Blu-ray Disc
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