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Hardcore Comedy
Hardcore Comedy

William Chan and Dada Chen attempt some Hardcore Comedy.
Chinese: 重口味
Year: 2013
Director: Henri Wong Chi-Hang, Chong Siu-Wing, Andy Lo Yiu-Fai
Producer: Ng Kin-Hung, James Yuen Sai-Sang, Derek Kwok Chi-Kin
Writer: Henri Wong Chi-Hang, Andy Lo Yiu-Fai
Action: Yick Tin-Hung, Derek Kwok Chi-Kin
Cast: Kelvin Kwan Chor-Yiu, Michelle Wai, William Chan Wai-Ting, Dada Chen, Oscar Leung Lit-Wai, Christine Kuo, Siu Fei, Pauline Suen Kai-Kwan, Siu Yam-Yam, Cheung Laap-Gei, Joey Leung Cho-Yiu, Louis Cheung Kai-Chung, Alice Chan Wai, Charlie Cho Cha-Lei, Timothy Cheng Tse-Sing, Lam Man-Chung, Henry Lo Chun-Shun, Hyper BB, C. Kwan, Jimmy Wong Shu-Kei, Heidi Li Jing-Yi
The Skinny: Moderately diverting omnibus that's about 66% less hardcore than advertised. Hardcore Comedy possesses some laughs and even some charm, but the whole thing is never as inspired as it wants to be. A mixed and also missable bag.
by Kozo:

An in vogue “made-in-Hong-Kong” offering from Ng Kin-Hung’s conveniently-titled Local Productions, Hardcore Comedy succeeds at being reasonably local while whiffing on some of its other implied promises. The main one: that this is a “hardcore” midnight movie that pushes the boundaries of taste in an entertaining and irreverent manner. Composed of three 30-minute segments that cross over needlessly, Hardcore Comedy does occasionally move into raunchy Vulgaria territory, but the sum of its crassness is far less than one would expect from a movie with this English-language title.

The film kicks off with a Vulgaria-like warning about its supposed off-color content, followed by a chaotic Kowloon street chase that mixes up the principals from all three of its segments. The opening happens to be the climax of the first segment “Shocking Wet Dream”, from first-time director (and frequent visual effects supervisor) Henri Wong. Students Chin-Man (Kelvin Kwan) and Yue-Ching (Siu Fei) unfortunately (or not) have their dorm room set up in a local brothel, where they rub elbows with prostitutes daily. When the comely Bowie (Michelle Wai) moves in next door, Chin-Man begins having wet dreams about her. Meanwhile, the two guys offend an abusive john (Cheng Tse-Sing) who’s also a policeman.

The most off-color of the three segments, “Shocking Wet Dream” delivers fun details (the two otakus are named after local softporn starlets), plus background nudity and multiple masturbation scenes, handily earning the film its Category III rating. There are some laughs in the buttons being pushed, but Wong’s segment is oddly paced and can’t weave its naughty gags, unlikeable characters and romantic self-flagellation into a consistent whole. Also, the niche local references will likely puzzle international audiences – and perhaps even less geeky Hong Kongers. This is deliberate nonsensical filmmaking – basically knowing, dirty mo lei tau – but defter direction and better comic timing would have helped it really take flight.

At least “Shocking Wet Dream” fulfills the “hardcore” requirement of Hardcore Comedy, because the other segments don’t. The second segment, “Run on Drugs”, tells of too-nice Kit (William Chan), who lives in his pink hatchback after breaking up with his girl. He’s agrees to a drug delivery run to pay the bills, during which he meets sassy party girl Moon (Dada Chen). Together, the two embark on mushroom-fueled misadventures and nascent romance. Directed by Chong Siu-Wing and written by longtime James Yuen Sai-Sang collaborator Lo Yiu-Fai, “Run on Drugs” offers little edginess besides its drug theme and a glimpse of a used condom. William Chan does do a minor Magic Mike dance in his skivvies, but that’s fan service not hardcore material.

What “Run on Drugs” does provide is a breezy, multi-genre tale that resembles Hong Kong films of years past. The premise is pleasant, and the film’s vision of nighttime Kowloon is attractive. The acting is odd, though. Overacting and mugging are abundant, and William Chan behaves too bizarrely to be a likable or sympathetic protagonist. There’s also an over reliance on explanatory dialogue, and story development is unconvincing. “Run on Drugs” might have been better as a 90-minute feature rather than a 30-minute short, as it needs more time with its characters to really give them shape. As is, it’s just a fast and implausible rush to an unimaginative end.

Third segment “Can’t Stop the Killing” also goes the multi-genre route. Lo Yiu-Fai writes and directs this tale of sushi chef Pang (a solid Oscar Leung), who must off a triad boss (Louis Cheung) as payment for a gambling debt. Pang has 24 hours before he meets his likely end, so he spends that time trying to reconnect with his estranged father (Charlie Cho) and former sweetheart (Christine Kuo), while delivering an excessive amount of voiceover. The voiceover is sadly necessary, because Pang’s story is so elaborate that there’s really no other way to get all the details out. Also, the film’s emotions, while generally pleasing, are far too familiar. There’s nice stuff in “Can’t Stop the Killing”, but you’ve seen it elsewhere and usually in a better film.

“Can’t Stop the Killing” is also the tamest of all three segments, with only small snippets of content bringing the film any edge. Ultimately, the “hardcore” aspect of Hardcore Comedy amounts to little more than an unfulfilled tease. The unexpected upside is that the last two segments successfully recall the multi-genre charms of Hong Kong Cinema past, and the production is certainly solid. The references to local culture, both popular and niche, also earn the film some cred, as do the references and cameos citing Hong Kong’s past exploitation films. False advertising aside, Hardcore Comedy is an OK B-film with flaws that can be forgiven if one simply takes it as the inessential curiosity that it is. Lowered expectations can be enormously helpful. (Kozo, 12/2013)

Availability: DVD (Hong Kong)
Region 3 NTSC
Mei Ah Entertainment
16x9 Anamorphic Widescreen
Cantonese and Mandarin Language Tracks
Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS 5.1
Removable English and Chinese Subtitles
*Also Available on Blu-ray Disc
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