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Wilson Chin takes another trip back to Hong Kong’s hottest nightlife district (apparently) with “Lan Kwai Fong 3”, completing an unlikely but extremely popular trilogy about the lives and lusts of good looking young party goers. As usual, the third instalment features another cast of unfeasibly attractive stars, with series regulars Jeana Ho and Jason Chan joined by the likes of Ava, Whitney Hui, Celia K and Alex Lam for more bumping and grinding on the dance floor.
The film’s narrative basically revolves around Ava as Sara and Alex Lam as her fiancé Sean, a couple going through a rough patch due to his refusal to stop hanging around with his ex-girlfriend. Naturally, her friends Jeana (Jeana Ho), Jolie (Whitney Hui) and Papa (Celia K) advise her to party even harder and forget about him. Things get more complicated after she hooks up with Korean hunk Kim (Lee Shi-Min) and Jeana makes a sneaky play for Sean, causing trouble all round. Meanwhile, nightclub manager Jacky (Jason Chan) tries to get over his ex by taking care of the wild Jolie, and the supposedly ugly Papa attempts to find herself a man, catching the eye of oddball academic Parker (Charles Ying).
“Lan Kwai Fong 3” doesn’t so much put its cards on the table from the start as throw them in the viewer’s face, opening with Jeana Ho walking away from the camera dressed only in suspenders, followed by a montage of night clubbing and loving shots of designer goods. By now, Wilson Chin knows exactly what fans of the series expects, and on those grounds he certainly delivers, packing in an amazing amount of partying, drinking, pounding dance music and long, lingering close-ups of choice parts of the anatomies of the male and female cast. Of course, there’s no actual sex or graphic nudity, and the film is all tease, Chin by now being a master at strategically covering up his performers during their countless softcore couplings. Despite its utter devotion to hedonism, it feels oddly harmless and innocent as a result, and there are plenty of moments of unintentional humour scattered throughout, the film being not much more explicit than most of the music videos it frequently resembles. Needless to say, the cast all look fantastic throughout, whether clad or unclad, and anyone mainly on the search for eye candy will find much to enjoy or marvel at.
In terms of plot, it’s very much business as usual, Chin sticking to his formula of following a variety of couples and their never even remotely life threatening problems as they fall in and out of love and each other’s beds. Though the characters are vacuous, it’s fun to watch them going through their soap opera shenanigans, and the film does at least flirt with a few darker and more serious issues, including date rape and drug abuse. For the most part though it’s an unashamed and unpretentious celebration of partying, drinking, sex and consequence-free living, Chin never straying far from what made the franchise popular in the first place. The script does manage a few moments of reasonable humour, including some funny cameos and a brief dig at actress Dada Chen (“Vulgaria”), who controversially abandoned the film on the eve of its production start, and this also helps to give it a suitably light and carefree feel.
While there’s no claiming it as high art or good cinema, the appeal of the “Lan Kwai Fong” series is obvious, and Wilson Chin’s third outing sits comfortably alongside its predecessors. Fans looking for more of the same are pretty much guaranteed a good time, as are any viewers who enjoy watching young pseudo-models and starlets bouncing around and never quite getting naked.
Wilson Chin (director)
CAST: Pak-yu Chan