Movie Details

Horseplay

While interviewing for a relics smuggling case in London, television hostess Ha Mui (Kelly Chen) meets multi-faced thief Nine-Tailed Fox (Tony Leung) and washed out police detective Cheung Ho (Ekin Cheng). One wants to reveal the truth, one wants to steal the "Tang Dynasty Pottery Horse" and one wants to take criminals to justice. The three of them have different goals, but they must work together to gain the pottery.

Language: Mandarin
Subtitle: English / Chinese
Classification: PG
Release Date: 21 Mar 2014
Genre: Action / Adventure
Running Time: 1 Hour 36 Minutes
Distributor: CATHAY-KERIS FILMS
Cast: Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Ekin Cheng, Kelly Chen, Eric Tsang, Wong Cho-lam
Director: Lee Chi Ngai
Format: 2D

[More]

Review
Writer: Casey Chong

Writer Ratings:
Overall:
Cast:
Plot:
Effects:
Cinematography:

Watch this if you liked: "The Thirty Million Dollar Rush", "Yesterday Once More" and "Sparrow"

At the first glance, the idea of assembling some of Hong Kong's most recognizable stars (Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Ekin Cheng, Kelly Chen, Eric Tsang and Wong Cho-Lam) in a heist comedy sounds like a guaranteed fun. After all, what can go wrong since this high-profile Hong Kong movie blockbuster is directed by veteran filmmaker Lee Chi-Ngai, who responsible for some of the well-known comedies in the '90s including "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Father", "Tom, Dick and Hairy" and "Dr. Mack". Not surprisingly, this reviewer is hoping the director can pull this off easily, but unfortunately "Horseplay" is surprisingly a huge letdown.

When a priceless statue known as "Tang Dynasty Pottery Horse" goes missing from the Hong Kong police headquarters after being retrieved earlier from the scene of an accident, Inspector Cheung Ho (Ekin Cheng) embarks on a solo mission that brings him to London to uncover the truth. From there, he crosses path with Mui (Kelly Chen), a popular TV host-cum-journalist who also investigate the missing statue as well. Soon it doesn't take long that the missing statue has something to do with the legendary thief nicknamed as Nine-Tailed Fox (Tony Leung Ka-Fai).

As a heist comedy that goes global from Hong Kong, London and Prague, writer-director Lee Chi-Ngai certainly knows how to stage a visually appealing motion picture. The particular location settings in London and Prague are beautifully captured by cinematographer Wade Muller, while the art direction is lavishly elegant. Yuki Yamamoto's dashing score, in the meantime, successfully captured the jovial mood of this heist comedy. Last but not least is the movie's jazzy theme song "Why Not Tonight", a Cantonese remake from Henry Mancini's classic song, "It Had Better Be Tonight", which is wonderfully performed by Kelly Chen, Tony Leung Ka-Fai and Ekin Cheng towards the end credit of the movie.

However, sumptuous technical credits alone does not equal as a good movie. Despite the potentially fun premise, Lee Chi-Ngai botches his own screenplay with a series of painfully mediocre moments. First, he fails to generate much worthy laughs throughout the movie. Second, he underplays the heist-comedy formula with seriously lack of wits. And lastly, he neglects to make good use of his actors as well.

Speaking of actors, Tony Leung Ka-Fai has that typical debonair persona to pull off a smooth-operator role. But as a versatile actor who is also adept for doing comedies as well, Tony's overall acting in "Horseplay" is surprisingly lacklustre. Ekin Cheng is equally wasted in his lightweight cop role as Inspector Cheung Ho, while Eric Tsang's and Wong Cho-Lam's comedic talents are also undermined with their mostly unfunny comic performances. Of all the actors here, only Kelly Chen stands out with a least satisfying performance as Mui.

"Horseplay" is hardly witty for a heist comedy. Even this movie is treated as a breezy, "sit-back-and-enjoy"-kind of lightweight comedy, "Horseplay" doesn't really click much as a guilty-pleasure entertainment. As a matter of fact, for all the talents involved here, they certainly can do better than this forgettable effort.

Cinema Online, 18 March 2014
   
Showtimes
 
Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only