Lost in Hong Kong 《港囧》(Xu Zheng, 2015)

Xu Zheng is lost once again and this time he’s still trying to find his way through the thick layer of preconceptions which also is a dominant theme in his latest film Lost in Hong Kong.

Xu Lai (played by Xu Zheng/徐峥) is a 30-something bra designer. A decade after graduating from university Xu Lai still can’t let go of the memory that he didn’t get the chance to kiss his first love Yang Yi (played by Dun Juan/杜鹃). On a trip with his wife (played by Zhao Wei/赵薇) to Hong Kong, in present time, the realization of his kiss with Yang Yi can finally be achieved but not before getting rid of the hardest obstacles of them all, family.

If career and friendship was the focus of Lost in Thailand, Lost in Hong Kong is about the unity of a family and the die-hard reluctance to sever those ties. In this film Xu Lais patience is tested by his cousin Lala (played by Bao Beier/包贝尔) whose nuisance might be the worst one has ever experienced on the movie screen. If Wang Baoqiang embodied the kindness and naiveness of a country boy in Lost in Thailand Bao Beier character is a manifestation of the stuborness and stupidity of an urban man. Mix this with a mise-en-scène of all things “typical” of Hong Kong: police officers speaking poor Chinese (汉语), people smuggling milk powder, weird sexual preference and Hong Kong film persona Wong Jing (王晶) acting out as a hysteric director, and you get a pretaste of what the film has to offer.

The biggest problem with Xu Zheng usage of a stereotypical Hong Kong as a engine for driving the comedy forward is the fast paced narrative and the unelaborated jokes which are mostly about language barriers. And as if the hysteric and physical comedy isn’t enough to make you stay in touch with the film the main characters gets even harder to sympathize with because of the lack of introduction to the relationship between Xu Lai and his wife, Cai Bo, and also between Xu and his wifes cousin Lala.

The biggest mistake with the story might be the forced side story of a crime taking place in a close proxy to Xu and Lala while staying in a hotel in Hong Kong. This side story is lacking everything to make the story more suspenseful and it more or less works as a narrative tool for creating an allegoric scene in the ending where a platform hanging in the sky not only tests Xus physical balancing skills but also his skills in balancing his dreams contra his duties as a husband and the families main patriarch. The scene hardly evokes any stronger emotions for the family reunion and at most the ending only works as a ridiculous attempt to make a comment on the Hong Kong and Mainland China situation: Longing for the past is all fine but let bygones be bygones.

The end of the film is as bad as it could be and the superfluous use of closure and happy ending takes away the small amount of positive feelings one had for it.

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