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Viewers are cordially invited to take a trip back to Hong Kong’s heaving, bump and grind nightlife centre in “Lan Kwai Fong 2”, the sequel to one of the surprise hits of summer 2011. Wilson Chin again takes the directorial reins for another tale of attractive young people falling in and out of love and each other’s beds, pulling together a glamorous ensemble cast including a returning Shiga Lin (who actually won a Best New Performer nomination at the Hong Kong Film Awards for her role in the original), plus singer Kelvin Kwan (“Nobody’s Perfect”), TVB actor Sammy Sum, male model Avis Chan, boy band Bro5 member Dominic Ho, and sultry models Liu Yuqi, Mia Chan and Linah Matsuoka, with Alex Fong (“Summer Love”) and other stars making cameo appearances.
As with the first film, the plot follows a variety of different characters whose lives and love lives seem to revolve around the nightlife of Hong Kong’s famous Lan Kwai Fong. At the centre of the many intertwining tales are lowly photography assistant Rain (Kelvin Kwan) and rich girl Summer (Shiga Lin), who hook up at a nightclub, though find their ensuing relationship troubled by the gap between their finances. Meanwhile, after finding a phone in the club, Rain’s boisterous friend Don (Sammy Sum) spends his time desperately trying to track down a mysterious woman who keeps sending him alluring pictures. Several other characters experience similar relationship intrigues, including a quiet young police officer (Dominic Ho) shyly pursuing aggressive Japanese DJ Maxim (Linah Matsuoka) and downtrodden bosses’ man Avis (Avis Chan) falling for the usual kind of sweet natured prostitute (Mia Chan).
“Lan Kwai Fong 2” certainly knows what its audience is after, serving up scene after scene of its ridiculously good looking cast getting involved in all kind of naughty shenanigans. As with the original, this doesn’t translate into any actual nudity, though the film certainly scores high on the tease scale, with a mind boggling number of shots of cleavage, side breast and shirtless males, combined with some hilariously daft sex scenes involving tactically placed limbs or characters wearing clothes in the shower. There’s plenty implied if not shown, and the film is a fun, racy affair throughout, enough so to please fans of soft-core and mild, eye candy sleaze.
Thankfully, Wilson Chin never seems to be taking things too seriously, and the film only makes half-hearted efforts at engaging with contemporary Hong Kong issues or urban youth culture. This is probably just as well, as realism goes out the window from very early on, with even the most supposedly poor of characters being comfortably able to afford bottles of champagne in the area’s notoriously pricy bars and clubs. The few stabs at social commentary are basic and never too heavy handed, and the film is amusingly hypocritical, dabbling occasionally in morality while happily glorifying the joys of a hedonistic, responsibility free lifestyle.
This does result in some very entertaining unintentional comedy, with daft plots and sub plots revolving around characters that it’s hard to imagine any viewers remembering after the first ten minutes, let alone caring about what happens to them – not that this is much of an issue anyway, since the predictable plot is a brazen mixture of common clichés thrown together without thought or care, in particular during the entirety of the wonderfully absurd melodrama of the final act.
Still, it’s hard to hold this against “Lan Kwai Fong 2”, a film which, very much like its predecessor, delivers exactly as expected, without any fuss or pretentions, and should be enjoyed by any viewers who find its slight premise and charms appealing. Though the very definition of lightweight, it’s a cheerfully seedy piece of glossy, essentially harmless exploitation, and wins a few extra points for being one of the increasingly rare Hong Kong rather than Mainland Chinese focused productions.
Wilson Chin (director)
CAST: Lik-Sun Fong
Leo Ku Leo Ku
William So Wing Hong