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Sky of Love

Ken Chu (left) and Gigi Leung (right) connect Ditto-style in Sky of Love.
Year: 2003
Director: Teng Hua-Tao  
Cast: Gigi Leung Wing-Kei, Ken Chu, Tong Dawei, Tao Hong (To Hung), Liu Zi (Lau Chi)
The Skinny: China-HK remake of the Korean film Ditto is as pleasantly told as the original, but it's more ham-handed and strangely enough, lacks heart. Otherwise, it's nearly a shot-by-shot remake. This film can be summed up in one word: unnecessary.
by Kozo:
     Yet another member of Taiwan boy band juggernaut F4 gets a big screen push in Sky of Love, a conspicuously close remake of the 2000 Korean film Ditto. Ken Chu is Jia Hui, a university student in 2003, who gets a ham radio call from Xiao Jia (Gigi Leung), a fellow university student who he assumes lives somewhere nearby. Sadly, he's mistaken. Xiao Jia actually exists in 1981, and their ham radio connection is some amazing cosmic coincidence that allows the two to bicker needlessly and then later compare notes on their respective times. It also allows the two the opportunity to dissect the meaning of love, and how it relates to both of them. Xiao Jia is sweet on her class monitor Wen Tao, while Jia Hui has an obnoxiously pushy girlfriend/nemesis who pesters him constantly. Eventually, lessons are learned and growth is achieved, but not before the big twist which shouldn't be a shock to anyone who saw Ditto.
     If you're going to take the time to check out Sky of Love then you should most definitely see Ditto first. And then, after seeing Ditto, you should debate whether or not it's even necessary to check out Sky of Love. The short answer: probably not. Sky of Love, while set in China and possessing of some cultural differences that may make it more accessible to Chinese viewers, is still a total copy of Ditto. Not only was the basic plot lifted, but scenes, plot development and even dialogue are copied wholesale. The big differences: the film is shorter by about 18 minutes, and as such goes by comparatively quicker. Also, the film ends in a somewhat downbeat manner, whereas Ditto managed to be bittersweet and even touching. Sky of Love also leans a lot more on the present-day romance between Jia Hui and his nutty girlfriend, which could be interesting if you happen to enjoy watching Ken Chu a whole lot more than Gigi Leung. If not, then that's another strike against the movie. If you're counting, that's like strike nine, which means a whole inning in baseball.
     Those unfamiliar with the story behind Sky of Love might find some enjoyment in its pleasant, languid storytelling and the tried-and-true buttons pushed by director Teng Hua-Tao. The premise of the film is certainly interesting enough, and the innocence with which love is portrayed is probably made-to-order for some cinema romantics. Those who don't realize that there's a superior picture out there might find Ken Chu's "I am dead inside" performance to be fittingly self-centered, or Gigi Leung's big-eyed sweetness to be affectingly enjoyable.
     Then again, Leung isn't really a step up from Ditto's Kim Ha-Neul, and Ken Chu would be smacked around in a charisma competition with Ditto's Yoo Ji-Tae. If anyone reading this review thinks that it's unfair to so soundly trash Sky of Love thanks to the existence of Ditto...well, tough. It's the way of the world; you shouldn't copy someone else and not expect some comparison. As it is, Sky of Love is only recommended for Ditto completists, and there's even a Japanese remake called Scent of Time for those who must see every film with the same ham radio hook. If you're really pushing it, you can see the American film Frequency, which featured a son chatting with his dead father via a ham radio—except they used their powers to fight crime instead of debate the existence of love. Maybe Sky of Love shouldn't have gone so far as to have its protagonists change history, but something to make it different from—or even as good as—Ditto would have been nice. (Kozo 2004)
Notes: Sky of Love was sync-shot in Mandarin, so if you watch the film you should make sure NOT to turn on the dubbed Cantonese soundtrack. True, Gigi Leung does handle her voice in both languages, but given the choice, who really wants to hear words that don't match the actors' mouths? Besides employees of Miramax, that is.
Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 0 NTSC
Mei Ah Laser
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Mandarin and Cantonese Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles

images courtesy of Copyright 2002-2017 Ross Chen