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Super Fans


(left) Kevin Cheng and Charlene Choi, and (right) Leo Koo in Super Fans.

Chinese: 甜心粉絲王  
Year: 2007  
Director: Eric Kot Man-Fai
Producer: Y.Y. Kong
Writer: Anselm Chen
Cast: Charlene Choi Cheuk-Yin, Leo Koo Kui-Kei, Kevin Cheng Ka-Wing, Sammy, Hui Siu-Hung, Eric Kot Man-Fai, Vincent Wong Ho-Shun, Steven Cheung Chi-Hung, Bob Lam, Natalie Meng Yao,
The Skinny: A promising premise ruined by dull, pedestrian execution. First Love - The Litter on the Breeze showed that Eric Kot had talent as a director, but in Super Fans, he seems to be phoning it it. Produced by one of the leading karaoke club chains in Asia. 'Nuff said.
by Kozo:

Wong Jing had something to do with Super Fans - his Jing's Productions company gets a screen credit - but we won't be blaming the film's resulting lack of quality on him. We won't even blame the film on director Eric Kot, though he should obviously shoulder some of the responsiblity. And blaming the mess that is Super Fans on Charlene Choi would be wrong because A) it'd earn us the ire of her rabid fan base, and B) she's actually okay in the movie. No, we have a new candidate for scapegoat here: Neway, one of Hong Kong's leading karaoke chains, who've decided to throw their hat into the cinema production ring with Super Fans. We're talking about a company whose bread and butter is getting people to sing along to innocuous, manufactured pop songs. A company like Neway probably wants a safe motion picture. With Super Fans, they got safe. They also got bad.

Taller Twin Charlene Choi stars as Sussie, a toothy Hong Kong girl who's a mega fan of dancer/singer Sum Lee (a smarmy Sammy). She's such a super supporter of Sum that she'll even disguise herself to sic cockroaches on rival singer Yee (TVB star Kevin Cheng) during a shopping mall concert. Yee is competing with Sum for the "Kowloon Award", a fancy name for a fake award meant to represent one of the trillion awards given to pop stars on a yearly basis. Through a series of wacky circumstances, Sussie is able to join Sum's team as an assistant, meaning she can gaze at her number one idol all the time. However, as you'd expect, Sum is a complete bastard. He's a preening, egotistical star who isn't above cheating to come out on top. Sum is also a massive horndog; he has his way with his manager and even a rival female popstar. One day, when Sussie is left alone with Sum, the expected happens. You know what we mean: he's horny, she's super-cute, plus she idolizes the guy. Wouldn't you expect Sum to try to have his way with Sussie? And wouldn't you expect a rabid groupie like Sussie to give in?

Sorry, that might happen in a more edgy or realistic motion picture, which Super Fans most definitely is not. Sussie manages to get away from Sum's annoying embrace and swears never to be a fan again, which could qualify as a plot twist if the film actually had a real plot. Not surprisingly, the paper-thin story that comprises Super Fans is hackneyed and - there's that word again - safe. Super Fans is a complete snoozer of a movie, possessing a storyline that's only interesting if you close your eyes and imagine another film entirely. Nothing challenging occurs in the film; bad guys act like jerks and get their comeuppance, and good guys get rewarded for their decency and kindness. Sum is a creep who deserves to be smacked around, while rival Yee is a victimized sweetheart, whose only detriment is that he's kind of boring. Sussie eventually befriends Yee in an entirely unrealistic manner. In order to make amends, she delivers his favorite dessert to his flat, whereupon he lets her in and they bond over tasty Hong Kong desserts. Did you get that? She walks into his building and is immediately invited into his home. Wow. In the world of Super Fans, a screaming fan can simply walk up to a star and become their instant buddy. Besides being a comedy, Super Fans is apparently a fantasy too.

A fantasy may be what director Eric Kot had in mind, because Super Fans is the furthest from reality one can get. Besides fantastic notions like giving fans instant access to pop stars, there's also the issue of the film's set pieces, which are played in such a broad, unrealistic manner that it seems Eric Kot doesn't give a crap about them. Early in the film, there's an incident at a shopping mall that's shot in fake slow motion (the actors pretend they're moving slowly, instead of the filmmakers overcranking the film), and even ends in a couple of comic and completely glossed over deaths. There's also a lame fight scene that's startling in its sarcastic irony. These scenes are supposedly integral to the plot, but Eric Kot seems uninterested in the film's story, and employs sarcastic gimmicks just to get those scenes overwith. Kot seems more concerned with the film's central love story, between Sussie and longtime friend Shui (Leo Koo), who dotes on her unconditionally despite her disturbing fan-mania. Director Kot actually manages to wring some familiar emotion out of these scenes. Leo Koo makes a decent lovelorn dope, and Charlene Choi manages to project some genuine-seeming emotion beneath the omnipresent spunk and cuteness. There's some recognizable, and even welcome emotion on display in Choi and Koo's numerous scenes together.

However, the scenes between Choi and Koo are also quite dull, leading to inevitable boredom and the ultimate feeling that one could care less if these two got together. Mix that with the uninteresting popstar storyline and you have a film that's as disposable, inconsequential and unnecessary as could possibly be. Super Fans is manufactured tripe, and whatever minor effort Eric Kot and company inject into the proceedings isn't enough. A few throwaway gags are amusing, and there's definitely ripe territory here for satire. But nobody seems to want to do anything besides play it safe; nothing in Super Fans offends, disturbs, challenges or affects. It's like someone decided to make a film about a potentially disturbing topic - extreme idol worship - and then decided to neuter it completely, turning it into a predictable and rather mundane romance with pretty people in the leads. The kicker to all of this is the fact that Super Fans was released around the same time as the alarming Andy Lau fan brouhaha, where one single girl's 16-year obsession with Andy Lau resulted in her family's bankruptcy and ultimately her father's suicide. Ouch. When compared to that sobering reality, Super Fans is practically insulting in its complete lack of edge. Asking the film to channel some real-life harshness may be a tad much, but the alternative - a film that's cloying and utterly weightless - is hardly preferable. As it is, Super Fans is simple, safe and completely superfluous. (Kozo 2007)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Kam & Ronson
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

images courtesy of Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen