Lost in Hong Kong Review: Xu Zheng’s action comedy has a dark sense of humor
Nailing the right tone is essential for any comedy. If your humor is too dark or too silly. You run the risk of alienating your target audience. Especially if you’re trying to make an action comedy. ‘Lost in Hong Kong’ from Writer, Director, and star Xu Zheng is a solid follow up to his previous effort ‘Lost in Thailand’. But because the humor can feel a bit dark and glum to some people. It may be tough to get into. On the other hand, if you’re someone who enjoys a darker than average sense of humor. ‘Lost in Hong Kong’ should put a devilish smile on your face.
Nearly twenty years ago Xu Lai (Xu Zheng or Tu Tranh) was a bright-eyed art student with pie-in-the-sky dreams of becoming a world-famous artist. He had raw talent and even had the loving attention of the beautiful Yang Yi (Du Juan) to keep his artistic side inspired. Unfortunately, just when everything was going well for the two lovebirds.
Time moved on and so did the heart-broken Xu Lai. Today he’s not an artist but in fact, designs bras for a living. He’s also married but to the baby-obsessed Cai Bo (Zhao Wei). Xu Lai tries to convince himself that he’s happy in a loving marriage. But the fact that they haven’t conceived a child has put a lot of strain on their relationship. But a vacation to Hong Kong visit Cai Bo’s family may be the ticket he needs to spark up his dreary life.
Now that he’s in such close proximity. Xu Lai takes the opportunity to look up Yang Yi and reconnect with his former flame. What should have been an easy meeting is sidetrack when Cai Bo’s brother Lala (Bao Bei’er) tags along. With his video camera for a documentary project he’s working on. At the same time, a murder mystery involving a world-famous movie director. And a pair of corrupt police investigators puts another kink in Xu Lai’s plans. What should have been a relaxing time and possibly a pleasant reunion for Xu Lai and Yang Yi quickly spirals out of control as the pair find themselves caught in one death-defying situation after another.
Lost in Hong Kong (Lac Loi o Hong Kong) has a dark sense of humor. Not the sort of dark humor that makes fun of depraved acts or violence but instead is a movie whose humor comes from looking down at Xu Lai’s life of mediocrity and how pathetic he appears. On the surface of things. Xu Lai’s current life versus the one he planned for himself really isn’t all that bad.
It’s just not the one that he wanted and it makes him depressed and sour to be around. That is what is suppose to be actually funny about this movie. Xu Lai’s mediocrity and averageness and then his getting caught up in a murder plot is supposed to support the film’s sense of humor. To be honest it took me quite a bit of time to get into the film’s stabs at humor. This isn’t really a movie that shoots for the easy belly laughs.
Depending on how you like your humor served to you. You’re either going to love ‘Lost in Hong Kong’ or you’ll end up thinking that it’s just an okay action comedy. This is a movie that I can see a number of people not really taking to it. Because of the tone of the comedy (phim hai huoc). It’s kind of hard to actually laugh at Xu Lai’s home life so the first chunk of the film can feel a bit laborious.
However, once the main story kicks in and Xu Lai and Yang Yi reconnect and their circumstances become more and more over the top, the film becomes a nice fish-out-of-water adventure comedy. And even those people who weren’t happy with the movie at the outset should come away charmed by this flick. It takes a little getting use to. But I enjoyed ‘Lost in Hong Kong’ and the flick put a nice smile on my face.