f you've seen enough Hong Kong movies you may start to
notice that a lot of the same people keep showing up in the same movies. It's
because the present Hong Kong film industry has a system in place that mirrors
the Studio System of Hollywood's "Golden Age". Many actors are
contracted to work for a specific company, and that's why you'll usually see
Ruby Wong in the same movie as Suet Lam and Shiu Hung Hui. The company they all
work for is Milky Way, which is also the producer of "Looking for Mr.
In "Perfect", Qi Shu ("So
Close") stars as Grace, a Hong Kong cop unlucky on the job as well as
in her love life. Pining for the mysterious man of her dreams, Grace takes a
vacation to Malaysia with best friend Joey (Isabel Chan), a model doing a
fashion shoot at said vacation spot. As it's required to happen in silly
slapstick comedy built around mistaken identity, Grace meets mysterious man Andy
On, who happens to be tracking down a stolen super duper doohickey. The
undercover On believes Grace and Joey may be involved since Joey's boss is also
the middleman for the sell of said doohickey. In an attempt to worm information
from Grace, On romances Grace -- and hilarity ensues.
"Hilarity ensues" is the perfect clichéd line
for "Perfect", a film directed by Ringo Lam, a man known more for
gritty crime dramas like "Full
Contact" and "Prison on Fire" than silly lowbrow comedies.
Then again, Lam isn't required to do much here, and the finished product is
certainly not "Lam"-ish, if you will. Like the screenplay by Mike
Cassey, "Perfect" is perfectly happy to be as over-the-top as possible
from beginning to end. Even when a man plunges to his death via a long fall, the
movie is able to use it as comedy fodder. Talk about not taking anything
As the movie's straight man, Andy On ("Black
Mask 2") fairs the worst of the bunch. He's given little to do except
look serious and, well, handsome. Qi Shu comes dangerously close to being just
as irrelevant as leading man On, but she's saved by her naturally likeable
personality. (Also, Qi Shu is a pretty darn good jet skier!) Not surprisingly,
the movie is a blast whenever Simon Yam is onscreen, which is shamefully
infrequent (not counting a ridiculously long ending, that is). As a black market
arms dealer, Simon Yam ("PTU")
is colorful and absurd, and he is, hands down, the best thing about
"Perfect". Needless to say, I wish the movie paid more attention to
him instead of following every second of Grace and Joey's search for love.
A movie like "Perfect" relies on its comedy to
save the day because there's nothing else to hang one's hat on. This film is
full-blown silliness, although it never quite approaches the offensive stupidity
of Jing Wong's Absurdist Hong Kong Cinema. This salvation is mostly due to the
screenplay by Mike Cassey, who fills the film with enough verbal jokes and
physical gags to keep the movie humorous. Of particular note are characters Ken
and Vincent, Grace's Hong Kong suitors who follow her to Malaysia. The two men's
constant bickering, challenges, and put-downs are a riot to behold.
Also making things interesting are professional screen
victims Suet Lam ("Fulltime
Killer") and Shiu Hung Hui ("Running
out of Time"). It's been proven countless times that you can't go wrong
with Suet Lam, who plays a pervert with the mannerisms of a gay man (?). As for
Hui, his character insists on junior partner Alex (On) calling him "No.
1". Alex complains that he doesn't like being called "No. 2"
(because of obvious implications, ahem), but Hui seems incapable of grasping his
young partner's objection. "Perfect" is filled with verbal gags like
"Looking for Mr. Perfect" is a funny and harmless
movie, with good performances by nearly everyone involved. Even Ruby Wong,
usually victimized in Milky Way productions as an irrelevant background
character, gets to sink her teeth into a juicy role as the high-kicking
girlfriend of the flamboyant Yam (who thinks he's the Lord of the Dance,
incidentally). The movie's best sequence involves Wong and Yam as they make
their getaway in a car, with Alex in hot pursuit on a motorbike. The chase lasts
for what seems like forever, with Alex doing one incredible bike stunt after
another. In the film's best moment, Wong and Yam gives each other an incredulous
look as Alex performs yet another stunt, as if to say, "Can you believe
this guy?" Hilarious.
Fans of Hong Kong movies know that "the Hong Kong way
of filmmaking" doesn't require filmmakers to close down locations in order
to shoot. Directors think nothing of throwing their actors into the middle of a
busy Downtown street with cameras rolling. While Lam and company may have gotten
permission to shoot in the movie's central location -- the hotel and surrounding
areas -- they apparently haven't bothered to seal off locations. As a result,
you can usually spot a dozen or so looky-loos watching the production in the
background, oblivious to the fact that they're ruining the movie's scene with
their slack-jawed gawking.